Building Sustainability: Here today, beyond tomorrow…

Although at times it can seem to be moving at a snails pace, here in 2016, the building industry has come a long way from where it was just ten years ago. Many states and townships now have energy codes which require thicker walls (2×6 or double wall) and greater insulation R-values. New HVAC products like mini-split and ground source heat pumps, have flooded the market. As heat pumps are able to produce heated and cooled air at a fraction of your old oil or gas furnace, buildings can now be designed and built to produce more energy than they consume, with the help of solar panels.

Climate Change has had a huge impact on how we view the world as well as our relationship and impact on the Earth. Spurred from the need to address climate change, LEED, Energy Star and many other factors have helped to try and address climate change in the construction industry and propel building code requirements forward and create more sustainable buildings. However, today’s approach to sustainability as many interpret it, isn’t going far enough beyond where we are today. To be sustainable is to allow for things to be “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level” or “to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The second definition from 1987’s report “Our Common Future” gets more at where we really need to go, which is far beyond just being “less bad” and to regenerate and repair the environment that has been damaged. Most “sustainable” or “green buildings” today are still having and overall negative impact on the environment, however their destructive impact is reduced from what buildings using traditional standards are.

As building codes have increased the efficiency of baseline buildings, Signature Sustainability continues to look ahead. We long to work with project teams that want to be on the cutting edge and set the stage for creating positive impact regenerative projects. We are excited to help projects to push the envelope on building sustainability, green building, and high performance design so that all projects can one day create a positive impact on the environment rather than a negative one.

This blog was created to share our knowledge and create a space for newbies to learn the basics of the industry, as well as seasoned professionals to check out the latest and greatest projects, rating systems, technologies, building techniques, and more.

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