Global warming and climate change are occupying the minds of people worldwide. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Due to the heat trapping nature of carbon dioxide and its ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy, there is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases cause the Earth to warm as a response. Much of this increase is induced by humans and our growing carbon footprint.
Around the world, people are recognizing the need to reduce their carbon footprint. Building design professionals have acknowledged their impact in this cycle and are adopting new standards for designing more sustainable buildings. Engineers understand that green building is no longer a passing trend. The term “sensible sustainability” is being adopted by building design professionals and considered a benchmark for new building design.
Healthy Construction Projects
“Healthy” buildings no longer mean lower amounts of asbestos in a building’s insulation. Instead, commercial buildings are being built with elements meant to aid people in breaking out of unhealthy (and often sedentary) lifestyles. Efforts include gardens on the same property as commercial buildings, and desks that either additionally function as treadmills or require its occupants to stand during use. Engineers are also including more stairs in their designs to encourage more walking.
If your home state is prone to drought, water conservation is definitely of more importance to you than ever. Engineers are responding to this by crafting yards that are less vulnerable to water shortages, plumbing that saves water automatically, irrigation systems, and mechanisms for collecting rain. This is becoming especially prominent with attempts to make pre-existing buildings more ecologically friendly.
In today’s era, steel is more commonly used in structural design as the frame of a building. However, engineers are beginning to recognize its potential as a construction material once again. The significance of steel to the environment is its reusability. Steel research sources have stated that six cars’ worth of steel can be used to construct the frame of the average two-story home. We may soon see steel being used more often for commercial and industrial buildings as well.
Just as engineers are initiating structural design projects with new building components, flooring is receiving the same treatment. Builders are opting for rubber, bamboo, stone, cork, and similar materials for the flooring of buildings instead of tile and other common elements that may be more wasteful. In addition, the type of sealants that keep flooring waterproof is changing. Brands that limit the amount of voc in their sealant ingredients are on the rise and being acknowledged as the more ecological alternative.
The Role of LEED
The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is becoming a stronger determinant of how engineers decide what projects are the most ecologically safe and worthwhile. As far back as the year 2008, LEED-ordained projects boosted to 80% in terms of expansion. Engineers are designing specifically with LEED’s standards for ecological consciousness in mind, striving toward their “platinum” level blueprints. They are the main reason that many existing buildings are now making the switch to “greener” renovations.
B.E. Structural is a leading structural engineering company. We pave the way in environmental structural design, and make it our main focus. If a “green” commercial building project appeals to you, contact us. We can turn your engineering goals into a reality.