At Gausman & Moore, we pride ourselves on being able to design and modify buildings to be more sustainable. A key part of being able to stay sustainable lies within the building site itself. Often, the very location, features, or orientation of a potential build site can help influence how sustainable a construction project will be. Below, we will dive a bit deeper into elements to consider to get the most out of your construction site.
Rehabilitation vs. New Construction
One option to stay sustainable is to weigh the benefits of rehabilitation versus new construction. If your build site already has an existing building on the property, there may be more potential to simply modify the existing structure. Many energy-efficient features can be added to a property to make the property more sustainable. Electric systems can be switched out for solar, heating and cooling units can be exchanged for geothermal heat pumps, and buildings can be retrofitted with better insulation to prevent costly heating and air conditioning from escaping. While it may not always be possible, the cost and benefits should always be weighed against constructing a brand new building on site.
If you have weighed the pros and cons of rehabilitating an existing site and constructing a new building, and the outcome is in favor of new construction, be sure to consider the orientation of the building.
During the design phase, we will work with the contractors and architects to monitor where the sun would hit the building throughout the day. In some colder climates, it makes sense to take advantage of the sun to heat the building and reduce heating costs. In hot climates, be sure to position the building away from direct sunlight that might cause the air conditioning unit to work harder than necessary.
If you plan to use solar panels to power some or all of the building, be sure to check the orientation of the building and panels to maximize sunlight exposure. Natural sunlight is also a great alternative to using costly electricity to provide lighting.
Choosing the landscaping used around the building can have a huge impact on its sustainability. Know the climate in the area. Be sure to select plants that can tolerate the weather and will come back year after year. Often, companies will select plants that are heavily reliant on water in an arid environment which can cause gallons upon gallons of water wasted just to keep the plants alive. Opt for hardscaping such as rocks and mulch in place of cultivated grass. Not only does grass take more water, it can be costly to maintain. Every time the grass is mowed excess fuel is wasted and carbon released into the atmosphere.
To learn more about how Gausman & Moore work with sustainable designs and buildings, check out our Sustainability page. Here, you will be able to explore our past projects, the specialties of our engineering team, and even schedule a consultation with one of our experts.