How do sustainable technologies work?
Solar power is an increasingly exploited sustainable construction technology. The sun offers an unlimited resource and harnessing the power of sunlight via photovoltaic techniques produces direct current electricity and heats water supplies.
Passive solar power can also be incorporated into a sustainable building design. Passive solar design uses the sun’s rays to warm buildings through the strategic placement of windows and heat-absorbing surfaces. In this way, the need for heating can be reduced.
The burning of biofuels in wood pellet stoves or biomass boilers offers an alternative heating system to burning traditional fossil fuels. Burning wood is sustainable if new trees are planted to replace those that are used for fuel. While some carbon emissions are caused by the fuel’s production, if the wood is sourced locally, these are much lower than the emissions from fossil fuels.
A ground-breaking alternative heating system is a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP). This system utilises the natural solar heat that is stored within the ground. A ground loop and heat pump system collects the heat, converts it to energy, then stores or utilises it.
From draught-proofing doors to installing high-quality insulation, there are several ways to help retain heat and reduce the need for central heating. Smart heating controls can be installed to ensure heat is only being generated at the appropriate time of day and in the ideal areas. At CES, we aim to unite a combination of active systems and passive technologies to create low or zero carbon emission buildings.
Thermal comfort is a year-round consideration. In high temperatures, it’s equally important to ensure a building is well-ventilated. Several passive measures can be considered to effectively provide fresh air to living spaces. A Passive Stack Ventilation (PSV) system can be implemented to draw fresh air in through vents in the walls without the need for electricity. Mechanically driven ventilation offers an alternative to passive solutions. Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) is an advanced, low energy system which ensures constant internal temperatures.
Designers can also strategically position windows and walls to provide shade during the summer. Furthermore, effective window placement provides enhanced natural light which lessens the need for electric lighting during the day. Sustainable lighting solutions have evolved rapidly with the use of LED lights. Many modern systems offer greater user control and create brighter and warmer environments while using far less energy than conventional methods.
Sustainable building design should aim to reduce water consumption. Reducing usage is far better for the environment than treating after use. From dual plumbing designs that recycle water to ultra-low-flush toilets, several innovations enable the protection and conservation of water throughout the life of a building. Treating and heating water at the point of use improves its quality, enhances energy efficiency and reduces the amount of water in circulation.
It is essential to operate and maintain buildings responsibly to ensure they remain sustainable. From responsible procurement to sustainable recycling policies, it’s during the operation phase that green practices should continue to be applied.
How can we help?
At CES, the functionality of a building is as important as its sustainability. It’s crucial to ensure any building will be suitable for its intended occupants. The size and functionality of spaces need to be carefully considered to allow for the activities taking place within them. While green buildings are sustainable, they should also be ones in which occupants can lead healthy and productive lives.
To know more about how we can provide sustainable building services for your project, please contact our experts today.