SUSTAINABLE BUILDING PRACTICES
The way we live and the structures we build have a serious impact on the world around us. As a result, green building practices have become both a desirable choice and a necessity for businesses focused on creating healthier environments and improving sustainability.
Whether building a school, commercial complex or medical facility, it’s critical to work with a company that’s capable in all areas of green construction.
What Are Green Building Practices?
As a general principle, green building focuses on minimizing or offsetting a facility’s impact on the environment — keeping energy use to a minimum, using renewable power sources, and implementing waste and water management systems.
Some things that may be involved in green building construction include:
- Using energy-efficient HVAC appliances, windows, lighting and other systems
- Using “green” materials such as low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, responsibly-sourced woods or recycled metal
- Offsetting or eliminating your reliance on the grid with solar power, geothermal heat pumps or other renewable energy sources
- Minimizing your carbon footprint with green roofs or walls
- Designing a building to take advantage of natural light and irrigation
- Wherever possible, preserving existing building structures through adaptive reuse
Every project is different and not every upgrade or system will offer the most benefit for every facility. More critical to the overall practice of green building construction is to make environmental stewardship and energy management priorities from the design stage onward. This can be done by conducting energy audits, setting performance benchmarks, consulting with outside experts on best practices for green building and pursuing LEED and other certifications.
Benefits of Sustainable Construction
We all know that minimizing our impact on the environment is important, but what are the benefits for organizations that make sustainable construction a priority? A few are:
- Cost Savings: Greener buildings are more cost-effective to operate. While the initial investment in renewable power or other upgrades can be expensive, over time, organizations see a return through lower energy use. At Reynolds, we work with clients to identify funding sources and offer performance contracting and other financing models that can defer or offset the initial costs in a green building construction project.
- Regulatory Compliance: Keeping energy use to a minimum through sustainable construction is a way of future-proofing facilities against regulatory changes. Committing to green building now can potentially help organizations avoid costly and time-consuming audits, retrofits and upgrades in the years to come.
- Stakeholder Goodwill: Committing to sustainability establishes an organization as a forward-thinking environmental leader. Big, visible projects like a solar array or green wall make a statement that can set companies apart from their competition and generate goodwill among customers, partners and other stakeholders.
Some of the benefits of green construction are tangible, and some aren’t. Working with a company like Reynolds that can provide a clear picture of the pros and cons of a project — and a detailed explanation of your path and timeline to seeing an ROI — is critical.
How Reynolds Can Help
Reynolds has an experienced team that understands sustainable building practices, including water and energy efficiency, renewable energy and choosing preferable building materials and methods. We provide expertise in applying for sustainable programs such as LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Green Globes or other similar ratings and certifications programs.
LEED Green Construction Credentials
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a third-party verification tool that allows us to confirm buildings and facilities are resources efficient. LEED can be applied to any building and at every project stage to provide a score based on how effectively key areas of sustainability are addressed. Buildings that achieve one of four levels of certification (Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum) operate more efficiently and benefit from lower fuel and water consumption.
Reynolds is proud to have 12 LEED-certified professionals on staff ready to provide their expertise to sustainable construction projects.
Green Globes Sustainable Construction
Reynolds focuses on staying on the cutting edge of green building design, management systems and operations. Developed by ECD Energy and Environment Canada, Green Globes provides an online assessment and certifications tool and rating system that helps builders achieve the highest standards in green construction.
From new construction and renovations to interior and exterior upgrades and replacements, Green Globes ensures we’re up-to-date with the latest innovations in sustainable building.
Taking the Next Steps
If you’re interested in learning more about sustainability in construction or green building certification, contact Reynolds. Based in Harrisburg with offices in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia metro areas, we are well-positioned to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.