2020 Long Beach Blvd, Unit B, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008 | 609.607.7230

How Smart, Interior Shading Solutions Fit into Sustainable Building Strategies

Sustainability can no longer remain just a trendy buzzword in the world of environmentalism; it is now a vital necessity in shaping our future. There is now a 50% chance that the global average surface warming level will reach the 1.5°C threshold, which could have a devastating impact on people and the entire planet. The US Federal government and the European Union have set targets of net-zero emissions by no later than 2050, citing how sustainable building strategies that drive down greenhouse gasses not only benefit future generations but improve quality of life in the present.

An effective way to achieve these net-zero goals is by creating sustainable commercial real estate. In a recent study by CBRE, 79% of respondents agreed that green building certifications influenced their real estate decisions. While demand for sustainable buildings surpasses supply by 75%, the US government is stepping in to meet this gap. In 2021 alone, the government allocated a substantial $86 billion towards green building projects.

North of the border, Canada has implemented the Smart Buildings Initiative which recognizes the advantages of collecting and processing building data in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, diagnose and solve problems, and improve energy efficiency. Smart buildings are setting the standard for sustainable construction in North America at a crucial juncture in the fight against climate change.

Below are some of the ways that smart commercial buildings can improve sustainability, and key considerations for construction firms adopting green building approaches.

Sustainability Means Considering the Entire Life Cycle of Building

Embracing sustainability entails a commitment far beyond singular actions.  The goal for architects, builders, and commercial developers should be to ensure sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of buildings, not only for environmental preservation but also for property value preservation. LEED-certified projects have been on the rise in the US, paving the way towards energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly designs.

2024 Lighting Controls and Fixtures Report

Lightapalooza took place in late February, and the growth of the event has mirrored the rapid ascension lighting fixtures and controls.

Download your copy now!

The environmental impact that construction has on the surrounding ecosystem and environment cannot be discounted. To mitigate this effect, numerous companies are creating voluntary initiatives aimed at reducing emissions, from the creation and use of products throughout their life cycles to the extraction of raw materials and end of life disassembly. The Works with WELL database serves as a reliable resource for builders, contractors and developers to find sustainable products that may enhance their projects by creating healthier and safer spaces for inhabitants.

There are several dynamics and project conditions that must be considered when designing for optimal building performance, such as window glazing type and owner requirements, that enable sustainability. Industry professionals should be sourcing materials from environmentally-conscious suppliers, and partnering with manufacturers who already take a sustainable approach to design by using WELL and LEED-accredited professionals and products.

Green Building Certifications Add More Value to Properties

Achieving certifications may require investment in time and paperwork, but the process offers significant benefits worth considering. According to the Dodge Construction Network, green-certified buildings have an approximate 7–17% higher sales price than those of conventional buildings.

Adopting energy-efficient solutions and eco-friendly designs improve a company’s chances of becoming eligible for green building certifications, which in turn, enhance the building’s market value and could even help with qualification for tax incentives or rebates.

Daylight Harvesting is One of the Most Crucial Building Practices Today

As environmental concerns and regulations evolve, commercial spaces must become adaptable to remain relevant. Sustainable designs for interiors are as much a consideration as the raw materials used in building construction. For example, having the right window shading solutions for peak points of the day can reduce or increase temperatures naturally, resulting in energy savings.

In today’s building design, daylight harvesting has become an integral part of healthy and sustainable strategies since it helps offset the need for electric lighting during the day. While many buildings are incorporating electric lighting systems with sensors, this alone proves to be a reactive approach to natural light entering spaces.

Both brand new construction projects and renovations should instead consider automated shades or motorized window coverings that proactively manage how much natural light enters a space to enable an efficient daylight harvesting system. These automations can also reduce solar heat gain and minimize reliance on artificial lighting.

In smart buildings with single pane glass windows, minimizing solar heat gain can be achieved with appropriate fabric designs that reflect solar heat gain. Alternatively, new constructions, or buildings with high-performance glass, can prioritize daylighting strategies over solar heat gain considerations.

Adaptations such as automated window coverings not only provide adequate natural light within the space, but also control glare. The electric lighting system can then automatically adjust lighting intensity based on the amount of natural light available.

Sustainability Practices Feed into Health, Wellness, and Productivity Goals

Sustainability isn’t just beneficial for the environment; studies have shown that it can also increase employee productivity. Businesses that implement eco-friendly green practices have seen a 16% increase in productivity over those in less ecocentric office buildings. These green initiatives include providing improved air quality, better lighting, and having greater overall green credentials, all of which can boost employee morale, cognition, and help employees maintain their concentration.

As the market demands more people-centric work environments, commercial developers are embracing the importance of healthy and sustainable building design. As companies strive to bring remote workers back into the office, the goal should be to provide spaces that are healthy and comfortable, and designed to promote productivity.

A sustainable approach to building construction is a long-term commitment that is best facilitated through partnerships with WELL and LEED-approved businesses. Construction companies can work with interior manufacturers and suppliers to implement better energy efficiency products and to improve office spaces that boost productivity and employee well-being. Although the green certification process requires investment, the denotations add value by making buildings more attractive to tenants and increasing sales prices. Smart building technologies enable sustainable practices and help ensure a better future for all.

Andy is currently a Specifications Manager with Somfy Systems, a world-leading supplier of motorization and control solutions. Andy’s focus is on commercial business solutions and smart home technology relating to window coverings and natural daylight management. With a passion for Healthy and sustainable building design Andy has achieved both LEED AP BD+C, and WELL AP. Andy served on the NFRC 100A and 200A 2010 window attachment subcommittees. He has been conducting seminars and training nationally for the recognition of dynamic and automated solar shading for over 25 years.

Page 1

The post 2024 Lighting Controls and Fixtures Report appeared first on CEPRO.