The most significant component of sustainable building design is having a renewable energy source. Simply being able to create electricity from a renewable source is not only more energy efficient, but can save money over time. Plus, renewable energy sources are environmentally friendly and do not leave a big carbon footprint, if any at all. Below we will examine some of the more popular renewable energy sources.
Probably the most well known renewable energy source, solar energy is a frontrunner for a reason. The ability for solar to span across both domestic and commercial structures, combined with its minimally intrusive and easy-to-maintain panels, makes it a desirable source.
Solar energy is able to convert a large portion of the sun's rays into usable energy. The sun's rays can be converted into energy to produce light, heat, hot water, and electricity.
Solar is a great option for commercial or industrial buildings because on a larger scale, solar energy can be converted to power ventilation systems used for heating and cooling. Further, aside from using photovoltaic systems to convert sunlight to energy, sunlight alone is a valuable lighting source that should be taken advantage of in design.
With the use of wind turbines, wind flow can be captured and transformed into usable energy. Applicable to both small- and large-scale construction, wind energy is easily converted to create electricity.
On a larger scale wind farms can be created with several wind turbines. These wind farms can generate enough electricity to power an entire market or building compound.
However, Gausman & Moore’s electrical engineers can utilize single wind turbines for commercial buildings because they can create enough energy for one or more buildings.
What typically comes to mind when thinking of hydroelectric power is what is called pumped-storage hydropower. This is the type of power that is generated when a dam stores water in a reservoir. When the water is released it tumbles over turbines, which then generate electricity.
A lesser known form of hydroelectric power is called run-of-river hydropower. These take portions of an already existing river, then redirect part of the water to flow through a channel. This channel contains turbines that create electricity. Unfortunately, this type of renewable energy source really depends on the geographic location of the building; however, if you are lucky enough to have a natural water source nearby, it is an easy and cost-effective way to harness the natural power of moving water.
Having a sustainable design starts and ends with renewable energy. Being able to produce enough energy to power your building, or at least portions of it, is the first step in creating sustainable building.
At Gausman & Moore, our team of engineers prides itself on being able to factor in renewable sources into their designs. To learn more about our sustainable design services in both Minnesota and California, contact us today.