Just how important is it for real estate developers and property managers to incorporate sustainable design elements into their buildings?
According to renters, very. With rising energy costs and the world’s water quality quickly declining, reducing our carbon footprint has become an immensely important issue in today’s society. Renters are also becoming aware of the necessity of green design in construction and are progressively requiring more eco-friendly components in their housing. Here are 5 sustainable building design trends that impress residents and reduce energy usage.
1. Use of Natural Light
One of the most important steps in a low-energy design approach is reducing the use of artificial lighting. This can be done by increasing the amount and size of windows in each modern apartment home, allowing sufficient sunlight from outside to illuminate the inside space without the need for multiple energy-absorbing light bulbs. This subsequently lowers electric costs, which would typically be dominated by light bulb use.
2. Energy Efficient Appliances
One of the easiest ways to incorporate green features into your property is by adding energy efficient appliances. Adding energy efficient light bulbs as opposed to the typical fluorescent lighting can also decrease electric costs by more than $65 a year. Low-flow showerheads, another resourceful feature, can save up to $145 a year per showerhead on electricity. In multifamily properties with hundreds of residents, that can add up to thousands of dollars saved every year!
3. Reprocessed Building Materials
Instead of depleting more resources when looking for building materials, consider using salvaged material, such as wood or previously used bricks, to complete construction. Using reclaimed lumber gains points towards the LEED certification, prevents further environmental damage, is less costly for developers, and impresses potential residents with your property’s commitment to upcycling.
4. Low Volatile Organic Compound Paint and Carpets
In a study completed by the EPA, levels of certain organic pollutants were found to be two to five times higher inside the home than outside of it. This is due to volatile organic compounds found in many paints and carpets, which negatively impacts the air quality and the health of those surrounded by it. By using paints and carpets with low levels of VOCs, the condition of the air is enhanced, and the health of residents is ameliorated.
5. Reflective Roof
Consider adding a roof to your development with a high solar reflectivity index (or SRI). These roofs reflect more solar heat than roofs with a lower SRI, subsequently lowering the temperature inside the building and reducing the need for lower air conditioning temperatures, keeping energy costs low.
The most effective building designs are those done with sustainable features incorporated into every aspect of the construction process. For multifamily properties, which consume a large amount of energy each day, it is important to place eco-friendly and energy resourceful elements throughout to keep costs and energy usage down. The benefits of cheaper long-run costs, less environmental damage, and satisfied residents makes adding green elements to your property an obvious and smart choice.