Now that the environment has become a leading social and business issue of deep concern, green development is on the rise. The growing awareness of climate change is driving green initiatives to the forefront in the construction industry and beyond. Here’s a look at how green buildings are contributing to the broader goal of sustainability.
Understanding Green vs Sustainability Concepts
Going green is a major piece of the sustainability puzzle, particularly when it comes to reducing production waste and greenhouse gases. Sustainability is an umbrella concept encompassing modern solutions for an improved society, which includes issues like financial efficiency, energy conservation and ensuring a healthy workplace.
The three main components of sustainability are planet, people, and profit. It means organizations must take proactive steps toward protecting the environment, public health and investment capital to build a successful long-term business. Sustainability moves in the direction of less waste and more productivity without reducing quality of life for humans or animals.
Both green and sustainability concepts can be thought of as dimensions of social responsibility for individuals and the business world. Green buildings are a subset of sustainable buildings, which emphasize comfort, safety and efficiency. When contractors use the term “green building,” they are referring to a building designed to reduce or eliminate materials and processes that cause a negative impact on the environment.
Green certifications are issued for buildings that run on clean renewable energy such as solar. The costs of solar panels have declined significantly the past decade, encouraging steady adoption among stadiums, big box stores and data centers.
A building becomes more sustainable when you add various forms of electronic monitoring with digital devices. IoT sensors placed throughout a building collect data for analysts to study for improved cost efficiency. They can monitor the temperature of any room from a central location and use remote tools to make adjustments when necessary.
Cybersecurity is another important aspect of sustainability since it pertains to privacy protection and avoiding breaches. The more buildings become populated with interactive sensors, the more opportunities hackers have to compromise systems. The solution is to build several layers of cybersecurity that include firewalls, encryption, virtualization and 24/7 monitoring.
In order for a facility to maintain an infrastructure comprising plenty of IoT devices, it’s advantageous to work with an experienced IT team. Working with the same consistent help desk gives its IT technicians a chance to learn the infrastructure so that diagnostic time is reduced.
Aiming for Clean Indoor Air
One way to go more green and sustainable is to prioritize and maintain a healthy work environment by reducing indoor air pollutants. Achieving proper airflow and routinely cleaning filters are important steps in building management to prevent unhealthy conditions. Breathing pollutants can lead to serious health problems affecting the eyes, nose, and the respiratory system. Air quality can be monitored by IoT sensors that deliver data to a mobile app.
Setting Sustainability Goals
The goal of becoming a more sustainable organization now directly correlates with public image and reputation. Even more important, sustainability has become the roadmap for business survival that investors expect. Reducing energy waste is now a top concern across many industries, as it also relates to cost-cutting. Monitoring temperature, humidity and CO2 levels helps cut waste.
LED lighting is an effective solution for cutting energy waste because it uses less energy to generate brighter lighting sources. Many city governments have adopted LED lights for parking and traffic signals because they last much longer and don’t require as much maintenance.
IT experts can help make sense out of the vast amount of data collected by IoT sensors in green buildings to improve environmental conditions. Access to a wealth of data from IoT devices allows analysts to make decisions that enhance a building’s sustainability. Today, achieving sustainable solutions through digital technology is a necessary imperative from a social and economical standpoint.