Friday, October 25, 2013

How To Make Your Building More Green With Lighting Solutions

Construction experts agree that natural daylight is not only environmentally efficient but also has a positive effect on the physiological and psychological well-being of the building’s occupants.  According to Tim Hogan of Kenilworth Media, in its recent study, enhancing a building’s lighting systems is one way to enhance the learning environment in a school, while keeping costs at a minimum. With a green and environmentally efficient building from Norsteel, you can enhance your building’s performance with the following lighting solutions, which we recommend.

1. Light-emitting diode (LED) Solutions
Compared to traditional lighting options, LED lighting not only consumes much less energy but also has a longer lifespan. LED options also have an expansive range of options—from remote monitoring to expansive connectivity. Innovations in the field have made it possible to integrate LED lighting with digital controls to enable its dimming, balancing, and switching on/off. 

2. Smart sensors and controls
Another effective lighting solution to minimize the costs and enhance the learning experience in classrooms is the installation of smart sensors and controls. For one, these sensors will extend the life of your luminaries and reduce maintenance costs. It can save as much as 50% in energy costs and even extend the light fixtures’ life by 20 years. 

Lighting controls also allow the conversion of rooms depending on the lighting that is most conducive for learning. For instance, if a classroom is used by elementary students, the lighting can be adjusted in the best way to enhance the kids’ learning. If the same room will be used by older occupants, the controls can easily shift the lighting for optimum learning of adult students.

3. Integrated Lighting Systems
How about integrating electric lighting, daylighting, and controls, ultimately to provide a learning environment that will not only reduce the operational expenses but also present the best learning environment in a classroom, be it the library, music room, or the science lab? A case in point is that of Towson University in Maryland. The university had an energy spending of as much as $10 million annually, with 25 to 40% attributed to energy costs. By replacing its old fixtures with 15,000 high-performance fluorescent luminaries, and installing photocell controls and occupancy sensors, the university demonstrated as much as $100,000 annual savings in the library alone.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Improving Your Green Building with Air Curtains

Does your green commercial building have any use of air curtains? Air curtains, which functions by discharging a stream of air below an open doorway in order to divide the indoor and outdoor conditions, are often placed inside the building, on top of the door way. One of its mains purposes is to help keep out the cold or heat and therefore lessen energy losses. Aside from this, it also prevents dust and flying insects from getting inside the building. With air curtains, occupants are assured comfort. 

Several models for air curtains have been released, with different applications depending on the industry. You might want to consider installing them if your Norsteel prefab building is used for any of the following purposes:

1. Commercial Farming
The application of air curtains has found significance even in commercial farming. For instance, the Family Dairy farm located in Prairie du Sac, Wis. Installed air curtains for its 680-cow farm, which suffered production details during winter because of freezing in its automatic milking equipment that are located near milking parlour entrances and poses a potential threat to its occupants due to the slippery floors. 

These are problems that the heating system cannot address. Thus, the air curtains were not only able to separate the harsh environments outside from the interior, and minimize vapour air pockets from forming inside.

2. Hotels, Theaters, and Lobbies
If your building thrives in luxury and aesthetics, you shouldn’t be deterred by how air curtains look and its possible negative effect on the aesthetics of your interior. Newer versions have in-ceiling mount air curtains that are indented into the ceiling and have a powder coating to blend with the surrounding. 

3. Food Service Industry
The same benefits of air curtains are apparent in foodservice and restaurant operations, where air curtains are able to improve the sanitation of the kitchen and shipping areas by warding off flying insects. They also help in saving maintenance and operational costs of a restaurant for hinged doors. There’s also a reduction in the usage and wear-and-tear of the compressor by as much as 27%. Ultimately, installing air curtains will pay back in as fast as 1.6 years.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Recent McGraw Hill study shows the exponential growth of green construction

A recent study by McGraw Hill confirms an exciting trend that’s sweeping the globe: green building. As many as 28% of professionals in the construction industry, including architects, contractors, consultants, engineers, and building owners are focusing on sustainable design and construction—that’s more than twice as much as 13% in 2009. More than half of firms, 51%, are focusing on green activity. By 2015, professional estimate that around 60% of the work will be about green construction. 

More than one particular category in green construction is experiencing growth, with new construction and renovation projects as the most popular types. Today until 2015, 63% of the firms surveyed have new green commercial projects upcoming, with 50% having green renovation work in the pipeline and 45% with contracts for green institutional projects (e.g., hospitals, schools). 

Interestingly, the motive for green building is no longer just ‘doing the right thing’, which was the primary reason that pushed green building growth in 2008. Now, the triggers are primarily market demand and client demand.  Health and productivity benefits factor in the equation as well, with 55% of firms citing health and well-being as the top reasons for green building. 

With the exponential growth of green building, how is Canada doing so far?
According to Thomas Mueller, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), the green building market has grown exponentially, thanks to the development of the LEED Canada. As of October 2012, around 610 million sq.ft. of projects have been registered under LEED Canada. 

The main motivation behind the growth is the support of the government, as many provinces have set mandates for green construction. By 2008 and 2009, though, the private sector has started turning to green building for commercial office and high-rise residential development. The demand went on in 2010, when some of the largest commercial buildings began retrofitting to fit standards of green construction. 

The Canadian construction industry is taking a closer look at green building, on account of climate change. It’s only a matter of time before a united consciousness of the positive impact of green building becomes felt across all firms in the nation.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Corporate tenants are looking for green corporate spaces—here’s why

If you’re a building owner, it’s about time to remove any cloud of doubt in your mind that corporate tenants are specifically looking for a green building. Companies now realize the value of green building and what they offer. Not only does a green building provide a healthier work environment, it also decreases the energy and operational costs of the company. Not to mention that it lures and retains talent.

Among the top reasons why corporate tenants are looking for a green office spaces to lease are the following.

1.    Reduction of utility consumption. There’s no question about the benefits that a company stands to gain by choosing a green building, one of which is to drastically lower the operational costs.

2.    Enhancement of corporate image. One of the most effective marketing strategies is to advertise your green building. As a growing number of consumers become environmentally aware, they consciously go for green options. When considering products or availing services, they actively search for products or services from companies that make green choices.  If you want to enhance your branding, your company better make the right choices—and it all starts with choosing a corporate space in a green building.

3.    Improvement of Employee Productivity. Many companies know by now that the secret to employee productivity not only lies in the internal motivators but also in the external environment—beginning with their workspace. Several studies prove that green workplaces enhance employee productivity and retention. 

4.    Leadership in the Industry. Companies are scrambling to move into green corporate spaces because they do not want to get left behind. At a time when going green is considered innovative, companies can’t afford to jump into the green movement too late in the game. These years are the transition years, when companies can either move into green corporate spaces now or get left behind. 

These are just four of the major reasons why companies are on the lookout for green buildings—and these are precisely the reasons why you should renovate or build one before it’s too late. As a building owner, the question is: will you resist or embrace the green movement?