Green building care
A few tips for owners who wish to operate their buildings in an eco-friendly manner.
Wed, Apr 13 2011 at 4:19 PM
After you’ve received your green building certification, the work doesn’t end there.
Green building care is the ongoing maintenance of a structure whose owners wish to operate the structure in an eco-friendly manner. This type of care also helps ensure that the sustainable practices that helped the building receive its certification continue and other responsible processes are added as well.
Here is a sampling of areas where green building care can help with sustainability:
Pest management: LEED requirements call for an integrated approach to pest management. Outdoor pests should be targeted with the least toxic pesticides that can be used to target specific species and only used in specific locations with the minimum amount necessary.
Erosion control: A green building should have a plan to address erosion and sedimentation and prevent air pollution from dust.
Roof-top gardens: Adding a roof-top garden can help many urban structures earn LEED points. The plants must be native or adapted to qualify.
Stormwater management: If one was not built during construction, owners are always encouraged to develop a stormwater management system that collects and reuses runoff from at least 15 percent of the precipitation falling on the structure. The water can be reused for non-potable uses such as landscape irrigation, toilet and urinal flushing and custodian uses.
Water efficiency: Sustainability and water usage go hand in hand. In most green buildings, it’s recommended to use automatic water control systems to reduce the use of potable water. Sometimes, these items are installed in combination with high-efficiency or dry-fixture technologies.
Energy efficiency: Most of the time this issue has been tackled in green buildings but it’s always a good idea to monitor and attempt to identify pockets of inefficiency.
Renewable energy: If the building is not already using it, consider adding renewable energy to the mix of energy sources for the structure. LEED recommendations include solar, geothermal, wind, biomass and biogas technologies.
Solid waste: LEED recommendations call for the building owners to institute a policy to reduce the amount of waste and toxins that are disposed in landfills or incineration facilities.
Sustainable purchasing: The supplies in the building can be as important as the building itself. To that end, LEED guidelines call for introducing an environmentally-conscious purchasing policy whereby products certified as Green Seal or ENERGY STAR are used in place of similar, noncertified products.
Cleaning policy: Green cleaning would certainly be advised for green building care. To help achieve a healthy, environmental-friendly cleaning operation, LEED guidelines call for establishing a written green cleaning policy that encourages the use of sustainable products and equipment, creating safety guidelines for chemical handling and storage as well as training for staff.
Know of other ideas for green building care? Leave us a note in the comments below.