Green Construction & Eco-Friendly Technologies
New green technology promises to make commercial buildings more cost effective, energy efficient, and environmentally conscious than before. LEED-certified buildings (the world’s most widely used green building rating system) have roughly 20% lower maintenance costs than regular commercial buildings, while green building retrofits lower operation costs by nearly 10% in just one year. Air filters, smart glass, and green insulation are some of the latest technologies improving sustainability for commercial buildings.
A botanical air filter called the Biowall has recently been designed by researchers at Purdue University. The Biowall is essentially made of plants. As contaminants in the indoor air pass through the plants, microbes in the root zone absorb and eliminate harmful VOCs linked to health issues like fatigue, headaches and coughing. They can reduce the need for HVAC energy use by as much as 25%. Air purifiers are also effective at ensuring clean indoor air. In particular, air purifiers for tobacco smoke trap both small and large particles and minimize the threat of smoke. A study in China found air purification reduces smoke particulate matter by almost 60% on average in just a few hours.
Smart glass is a new technology that allows commercial buildings to benefit from maximum sunlight without experiencing the harsh glare or heat from the sun. It’s typically made of an insulated glass unit and a laminated outer light. An electrochromic coating functions to control the level of tinting and redirect the sunlight and solar heat inside the building. It can take as little as three minutes for the windows to go from clear to fully tinted and back again. Smart glass is highly cost effective and energy efficient — it saves 15-20% more energy than double glazing building-wide.
Effective green insulation in commercial buildings is essential to minimize energy loss through windows, roofs and walls and drive down energy costs. For example, aerogel is a special modern gel, which has had most of its liquid removed and replaced by air. It’s R-value is 10.3 per inch, which is triple the amount of basic fiberglass. Extremely lightweight, aerogel can be used to effectively insulate windows, walls and skylights.
Eco-friendly technology has the power to improve the sustainability of commercial buildings. Air filters, smart glass, and green insulation are the latest innovations making buildings as energy-efficient as possible.
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