By Kara Brooks, Sustainability Program Manager, ASHE
In anticipation of the upcoming ASHE PDC Summit, this month is a great time to review some tips for implementing sustainability concepts in building and construction projects.
For most construction projects, preparing sustainability initiatives before and during the project is ideal. A project designed with sustainability in mind will naturally produce better results than one that requires integrating sustainability elements later on. To ensure that sustainability is considered before and during construction:
- Plan for Energy Savings A new structure can be made more energy efficient in countless ways from the outset. A review of the LEED for Healthcare website can provide scores of ideas, including:
- Consider location. Is the location easily accessible to public transportation? Will sensitive natural areas be disturbed?
- Consider environmental issues. How will rainwater runoff be managed? Will the building be a heat sink?z
- Consider energy consumption. Can the building orientation affect the HVAC and lighting requirements? How can the building envelope enhance energy conservation?
- Consider the interior design. Will the design be flexible enough to accommodate future uses with minimal reconstruction? Is an advanced building automation system included in the plan?
- Consider energy elements. Is the site appropriate for ground source heating/cooling? Is solar or wind power suitable?
- These suggestions are just “tips” of the iceberg; a newly built or renovated health care facility offers a wealth of sustainability opportunities.
- Have the Whole Team On Board Early
- A successful building project of any type, but especially one that includes unconventional energy-saving elements, requires a diverse, talented team that includes equal representation from ownership, designers, construction and facility personnel. Engage these individuals early in the design process to create an optimum high-efficiency project.
- Show the Big Picture
- During design and construction, sustainability concepts can add initial cost to a project. Show budget-concerned leaders the return on investment for prioritizing sustainability. This will capture both the design’s energy considerations and its practicality.
Excerpt modified from ASHE published monograph titled “Reducing Operational Costs Through Energy Efficiency".