Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM
Popular in Europe, vegetated roofs, also know as green roofs, typically include layers of drainage material and planting media on a high-quality waterproof membrane to control runoff volume, improve air and water quality, and promote energy conservation.
Further, he suggested using natural landscape to reduce irrigation requirements and reclaiming roof drainage and storm water runoff for irrigation use.
Retrofitting refrigeration systems should be done to reduce or eliminate chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) or hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), said Innovative Construction & Process Design's Eric Rantanen. Using natural systems, such as ammonia or carbon dioxide, have no ozone depletion or global warming components.
Central refrigeration systems ought to be designed for efficient future disassembly. He explained that means using individual components that can be replaced when necessary, instead of having to replace an entire piece of equipment.
When it comes to lighting, Jeff Baxter advocated replacing all light fixtures with high-efficiency lighting, or installing high-efficiency bulbs. Exterior lighting should be minimized, lighting only the ground for safety purposes.
He said occupancy sensors or daylight sensors should be used to reduce interior light loads. Occupancy sensors are automatic switching devices that sense movement and turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Daylight sensors sense natural light in a space and automatically dim or brighten lights according to available daylight.
Reducing lighting electricity usage reduces energy costs and reduces the environmental impacts associated with electricity generation.
Low-flow fixtures on sinks and showers can conserve many thousands of gallons of water, Baxter noted. Water use can be decreased further with the use of dual-flush valves on toilets or by using waterless urinals. These drain without flush water and use a sealant liquid that prevents odors from being released into the air. Waterless urinals also help reduce sewage and maintenance costs.
Water use also can be reduced by finding ways to capture and reuse water. For example, store roof water and use it to flush toilets or irrigate landscaping.
Other recommendations presented by the Innovative Construction & Process Design officials:
During construction and demolition, recycle construction and earthwork waste.
Provide designated areas within the facility for recycling.
Specify regional materials to reduce transportation energy consumed.
Use Green Seal products or cleaning products with minimal volatile organic compound (VOC) levels to clean facilities to improve indoor air quality and occupants' comfort. (The Green Seal is awarded to products that have less impact on the environment and work well.)
Designate a no-smoking policy or locate all exterior smoking locations away from building entrances, and confine all interior smoking areas with dedicated exhaust and negative air pressure.
Green or sustainable buildings use such key resources as energy, water, materials, and land much more efficiently, reducing operations and maintenance costs, Kelly said. What's more, they also create healthier work environments, which contributes to improved employee health, comfort, and productivity.
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