To be able to work effectively, it’s good to have a plan from the start. Take time to set some goals to guide you in your energy-saving.

By Louann Moss

In commercial construction, there are many opportunities for impressive savings by constructing responsibly and using resources efficiently. Sustainability is a trending value for many businesses and consumers, but it does have long-term benefits. Read on to see some opportunities in which you can practice resource efficiency in commercial construction and put them to use for a sustainable result.

Consider Your Materials

While it may be faster and easier to source a certain material while constructing than it would be to get a different one, you should look at the bigger picture and use the most energy-efficient materials. For instance, steel frames, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, generally cost 5% to 7% less than wood and concrete frames which have been used traditionally. This has become the biggest benefit of putting up a steel building, so if you’re thinking of making your project cost-effective, look for steel. It won’t be heavy and bulky to move either, so even if you have to transport it from some distance away, it may not end up making a big difference in your expenditures and final cost.

In addition, steel is a much more sustainable resource than its wood counterpart. Steel is impervious to many elements that wood and other materials are not. For example, wood is susceptible to rot and termites. Knowing that the structural integrity of your construction will remain intact for many years will give the property owner peace of mind. According to ScienceDirect, a whopping 30% of all building materials delivered to a construction site can end up as waste. This is a statistic that can be improved by ensuring that you plan thoroughly how much of each material you need. You may also want to consider impromptu projects to utilize leftovers to eliminate this waste.

Set Energy-Saving Goals

To be able to work effectively, it’s good to have a plan from the start. Borrow from standard energy-saving practices like installing modern double-pane windows. This will help the occupants bring down the 25% to 30% of heat gained and lost through windows in residential heating and cooling. Such practices will set you apart from your competition because energy-efficient spaces offer long-term benefits for property owners. Before starting construction, set goals for the energy savings of your finished project — this will guide your choice of materials and techniques.

If you are under contract, setting goals with the property owner can be beneficial. This collaboration can inspire you and your team to innovate architectural and structural solutions. Furthermore, knowing your goals will help to source materials and give you an accurate timeline for completion. If you intend for the building to be made of a specific amount of recycled material, for instance, shipping the building supplies may take longer. Another example would be that you intend for the building to be entirely self-reliant for energy — this may require you to seek out the services of experts in the field, but will make for a great point of interest to the public and offer significant energy savings in the long-term.

Follow Current Energy Codes

When you make sure to follow the current energy-saving building codes, you’re also sure to train your team on these practices. This in turn leads to better skills and improved workers, including building operators, commissioning agents, energy managers, and engineers who can transfer the knowledge gained to future projects. In the long term, this avails more people with these skills in the market and makes it easier and more affordable to get quality work done.

It is also important to note that as the industry learns more about energy efficiency and sustainability, energy codes are likely to change. Consulting with experts can help you anticipate any new changes to these codes to keep your construction compliant down the line. This is also essential to making sure that your compliance is not at risk mid-build.

When fewer resources are wasted during construction, more is saved and will improve the overall profit margin. This is why it’s crucial to do your best to ensure that resources are used efficiently and the final product is also energy-friendly, as this helps create better business for the future. Teaching sustainable practices ensures that the people handling materials and working at all points of the project are well-trained. Maintaining communication between all levels of your team, as well as any property owners or clients, guarantees that the end result will be successful.