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7 Benefits Of Going Green with your New Building

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Nick Ferengi's picture
Founder and Editor CAGR Value

Nick is the editor of CAGRValue, a finance blog focused on growth investing, At CAGRValue, we explore the most exciting markets, industries and economies in terms of growth and try to pick out...

  • Member since 2017
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  • Apr 29, 2022
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Signed in 2015, the UN Paris Agreement is aimed at curbing global warming. The aim of this agreement is to limit the increase in planetary temperatures to 2°C as compared to the preindustrial levels while taking steps to limit the increase to 1.5°C. Climate change has now emerged as an important issue for the nation states and the businesses in these countries.

The UK has enacted laws in 2019 to cut down net emissions to zero by 2050. The issue of carbon footprint is everywhere. It also presents an opportunity for facilities manager to reduce the carbon footprint and take advantage of these new climate change regulations. These regulations also have certain penalties and taxes, and facilities managers need to find ways to avoid these penalties.

Embracing Change for Climate and COVID 19

When it comes to CO2 emissions, common households top the list but the commercial sector is at the second spot with an 18% share in 2018. The UK committee on climate change has declared that businesses are responsible for achieving net-zero targets by making the necessary investments. The advent of coronavirus pandemic has also brought about an increase in the pace of change in the manner in which people look at workspaces, offices and public places.

In order to keep Covid 19 in check, facilities managers are looking for solutions including use of more sustainable materials, enhancing air ventilation in the office space and redesigning workspace to provide more space. Some facilities managers are taking this opportunity to build more sustainable and greener work environments using smart buildings. Biophilic design is being increasingly embraced by the buildings. This design concept refers to providing the outdoor health benefits indoors while reducing costs and energy consumptions and at the same time, providing a boost to employee productivity and health.

Embracing Change for Cash

If a facility does not take steps to meet the low carbon emission targets, there are regulations that will force them. There are environmental taxes as well as tax relief to encourage business owners to find ways to make their business more environmentally friendly. There are government incentives in the form of tax relief for certain schemes where businesses need to demonstrate better efficiency and production of less damaging waste to take advantage of these benefits.

The Time Is Now

Building a more sustainable environment should be at the top of the priority list of every facility manager considering the impact of carbon obligations of businesses, associated regulations as well as the impact of coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully, technology has made it easier for facility managers to demonstratably commit to greener measures. Here are a few examples:

Air Quality

Several studies have shown that coronavirus spreads through droplet transmission which happens through the air. Investment in air monitoring solutions combined with provisions for good ventilation allows you to carefully monitor the quality of air in the building in real-time which should help in reducing infection spread. There are internet connected air quality monitoring sensors that can provide you with real-time reports of the air quality in various parts of the property. You can get notifications in real time if the air quality gets worse in any part of the building.

Better control over HVAC units and air conditioning also helps in reducing energy consumption. There are also occupancy sensors that can help in managing circulation and room temperatures automatically, thereby preventing unnecessary running of HVAC systems. Also, ventilation is a huge issue right now which means more windows are open. It also necessitates automatic adjustment of room controls for wastage reduction.

Quality of Water

Biophilic design often includes various indoor water features such as waterfalls and ponds. Facilities managers should also make it a priority to ensure safety of water along with preventing the spread of Covid 19. All businesses are legally obligated to demonstratably ensure that they have taken steps to mitigate the risks associated with Legionella bacteria. The measures include regular testing of water temperature and maintaining those records for five years. Needless to say, manual maintenance of records for such a long period of time is tedious. This is the reason many facility managers are considering automated temperature testing and flushing systems that are remotely managed and controlled.

Automated temperature testing and flushing systems not only help in saving time and improving accuracy but it also saves water,  making facilities more energy efficient. Manual testing requires each outlet to be run for a period of at least two minutes for taking temperature which leads to wastage of energy and water. On the other hand, automated testing systems have the ability to get reliable temperature readings with the help of a wireless tank temperature sensors and pipe sensors.

Smart Lighting

There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that human beings exposed to natural light sleep better. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has published a research report that confirms this. As per the report, employees who get natural light in offices enjoy better sleep due to improvement in circadian rhythms. A room that has natural light also enhances mental health and productivity.

Allowing natural light to come in through windows and sunroofs also cuts down on the need for electric lighting which, in turn, helps in cutting down energy consumption. Smart lighting controls allow you to adjust the light as per the natural light present in the room at any time which provides a proper working environment without any waste of energy. 

Smart lighting also ensures automated control over the colours of the lighting ensuring different colour temperatures as per the internal clock in the body.

Smart lighting not only helps in reducing energy consumption but also ensures a more comfortable environment and enhanced productivity. Needless to say, it also allows buildings to meet those net zero-emission targets.

Right Time to Act and Adapt

Businesses that fail to adapt to the changing requirements put themselves at greater risk but there are greater possibilities for businesses that believe in embracing change. Internet-connected devices have made it simpler and smarter to create a healthier working environment and to lower the carbon footprint of buildings.

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 29, 2022

If a facility does not take steps to meet the low carbon emission targets, there are regulations that will force them. There are environmental taxes as well as tax relief to encourage business owners to find ways to make their business more environmentally friendly. There are government incentives in the form of tax relief for certain schemes where businesses need to demonstrate better efficiency and production of less damaging waste to take advantage of these benefits.

Do you have a sense whether the carrots or the sticks are ultimately more successful?

Frank Carnevale's picture
Frank Carnevale on Apr 29, 2022

Great post. There are a number of technologies to deliver power and heat, behind-the-meter, cost effectively compared to regulated utilities, and that drives greater adoption, quicker. 

Nick Ferengi's picture
Nick Ferengi on May 6, 2022

Thank you for your comment, Frank. 

And yes, I think, for example, heat pumps can have a great impact on reducing energy costs. 

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