Reduce Your Commercial Building's Contribution To Emissions And The Urban Heat Island Effect

When planning a commercial building these days, there are plenty of resources available to you that can help you make the building more eco-friendly and reduce the overall impact that not just its construction but also its use will have on the environment. And if you make your building eco-friendly enough, you could get it LEED certified, which can add quite a bit of value. Here are two ways you can ensure that the building in question gives off less pollution and less heat.

1. Efficient HVAC systems

The more efficient your heating and cooling efforts are, the less energy you have to use to heat and cool your building. This doesn't just save you money; it also means you're consuming less fossil fuel. (Unless you're off-grid, your power probably comes from fossil fuel sources.) Instead of simply installing the air handlers that are conventional for a commercial building, consider using alternative systems of heating and cooling, such as geothermal heat pump systems. Not only is geothermal much more energy-efficient, but it puts less heat into the surrounding air, meaning that it's contributing less to the urban heat island effect.

2. Improve insulation

If you were wondering what the urban heat island effect is, it's an effect cause by humans living in the area. Cities and towns tend to be warmer overall than the surrounding environment (not only do buildings leak heat, but black roofs and asphalt roads tend to catch heat as well), which can mess up local ecosystems pretty badly. It can even have a negative effect on ecosystems that aren't in the immediate vicinity; warmer wastewater runoff can increase the temperature of the aquatic areas it reaches as well. So the urban heat island effect is a negative thing, and anything you can do to reduce your part of it (such as insulating your windows . . . and the rest of your building) is an improvement. In addition to increasing the amount of insulation used in your building's walls, you can also use triple-glazed windows with low-emissivity glass and even add an extra coating for improved insulation value. And for the roof, you can use a reflective material and use a reflective heat barrier to help any heat that does get in through the roof get back out again easily.

These two steps can help you reduce the amount of contribution your commercial building makes to the local urban heat island and reduce the emissions created by the building's use.