26 Sep How to turn your property green.
How to turn your property green.
So your property is in stellar condition and looks great – but is it environmentally friendly?
Environmental sustainability is at the forefront ‘to’ or ‘of’ modern life. Natural resources are depleting, and everyone needs to do what they can to reduce emissions.
You and your fellow owner’s committee members should invest time and effort into having an eco-friendly building that is energy efficient and better for the environment.
According to Green Star, Australia and New Zealand’s trusted mark of quality for the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings, there are five key qualifiers for green buildings: energy efficiency, water conservation, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, pollution prevention and reduced natural resource consumption.
These pillars of sustainability sound like textbook definitions everyone’s aware of, but few do anything about.
Don’t panic – you don’t need to sell up your property and start from scratch. At your next owner’s committee meeting have a chat about the following items to assess. With a few minor upgrades, your property can be safer for the environment.
Buildings powered by the electricity grid increase greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, invest in solar energy or wind power technologies.
Even if you can’t go entirely off the grid, investigate where you can use alternative energy. For example, you can heat water with a solar powered system.
Plant Green Roofs
Rooftop planting is noninvasive, efficient and capitalises on underutilised building space.
Roof flora lowers greenhouse emissions by absorbing carbon dioxide, reduces and treats stormwater runoff, and aesthetically enhances buildings.
Water has become increasingly scarce. Use collected rainwater to flush toilets and water landscaped areas.
This minimises water wastage, reduces flood risks and lowers utility bills, as you won’t be spending money pumping additional water into your building.
How is the natural lighting in your building utilised? It might be worth investigating the use of skylights where windows don’t bring in sufficient light.
Another quick fix is to only use energy-efficient light bulbs and sensors to minimise your electricity intake.
Install Electronic Interfaces
Heating and cooling controls are significant energy savers because you can regulate energy consumption.
We also advise installing interfaces that monitor the building’s energy levels to raise awareness and foster energy saving habits.
Implement Passive Heating and Cooling
This approach focuses on heat gain control and dissipation in a building in order to improve indoor thermal comfort with low energy consumption.
Cooling and heating systems, like aircon units or ducted air, produce large amounts of gas emissions and strain on the electricity grid.
Try natural ventilation and shade windows, and use building materials with a high thermal mass.
A leaking tap or broken water pipe wastes water and energy. Left unattended, a dripping tap can waste up to one litre of water per hour.
Ask your maintenance team to check that all systems are running as efficiently as possible.
Monitor Construction Waste
If your building is undergoing a renovation, investigate the use of an environmental waste management system to reduce, reuse and recycle water, and to control stormwater and sediment run-off.
For large-scale developments, address sustainability from the design process. The contractors you work with should follow a number of eco-friendly practices from sustainable design, to low energy and efficient water usage. Because green buildings are more efficient and produce on-site renewable energy, they typically increase monetary savings over their life cycle.
At Higgins we follow the ISO 14001: Environmental Management System – a framework that complies with sound environmental practices. It’s a globally recognised management system with high-quality standards to maintain and build a sustainable world.
Or to get more tips on property maintenance, download our guide to maintaining your painted property.
This article is by Higgins Coastings
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