Increasingly, there is more concern over the effects of climate change. This results in legislation of a more demanding nature which commercial property developers need to know about. Additionally, the recent surge in energy prices means that everyone wants to reduce costs and subsequently reduce their environmental impact.
There is an increasing belief that if a property developer is more environmentally aware their income growth will be higher and they will be viewed as a lower risk and subsequently produce a higher return. If these environmental concerns are so fundamental and are set to become increasingly more so, what can be done to reduce the environmental impact of commercial property development?
New technologies allow the energy that a building uses to operate environmentally efficiently by using high efficiency windows and insulation not just in walls, but in ceilings and floors too. Another method is to use passive solar building design, which involves orienting windows and walls so that shade is maximized during the summer and conversely gains the most sun during the winter months.
Waste reduction can be used to reduce the waste during construction. A building that is well designed can reduce the amount of waste that it sends to landfill by allowing solutions on site, such as bins for compost. In new buildings, grey water, the waste water which is generated by washing machines and dishwashers, can be used for underground irrigation saving substantially on water waste and ultimately saving on cost.
Building materials are another consideration. There are numerous building materials that are considered to be green, such as renewable plant materials like bamboo, as it grows rapidly. Recycled stone and metal can also be used, in an environmentally age such as this virtually all materials can be recycled, and the use of recycled materials clearly reduces environmental impact. Materials that need to be manufactured should be done so off site, in one location. This ensures minimum waste and maximum recycling.
During construction a dust management plan is vital to reduce the impact on air quality in the local area. Some strategies to assist with this can include cleaning road and work surfaces. Construction also means that there will be a significant amount of traffic to and from the site; if the development company is using its own vehicles they should ensure they reduce exhaust emissions to as greater degree as possible. Clearly commercial property development can generate a large amount of environmental noise; the reduction of noise can be achieved through the use of scheduling non intensive work to the appropriate times of the day and the installation of noise barriers.
Ultimately, every business should ideally have a plan in place to outlay their strategy for reducing their environmental impact, outlining the ways in which they do so and the plans that they have for future strategies in this area. Reducing environmental impact ensures property development is kept green, whilst also having the additional benefit of reducing costs.
Article by Marc Adam.