DALLAS — According to Lennox, green is the word this year as the commercial building industry begins to see a significant move toward greater transparency, higher energy-efficiency standards, increased sustainability, and a more responsible use of building resources.
The company was citing Lux Research, an independent research firm specializing in emerging technology. Lux noted that the green building sector is expected to grow by $280 billion globally by 2020. It also pointed out that with the new LEEDv4 standards set to take effect later this year, “It’s time to help your customers start greening their business.”
According to Lux, the industry can expect the following in the coming months and years.
• Increased visibility — The recent release of publicly disclosed building use in New York City is likely to set a trend for other U.S. cities, making businesses more accountable for their utility use. Building product manufacturers are catching on, too, offering increased transparency with environmental product declarations.
• Net zero — While a net-zero building status once seemed impossible to obtain, it’s now becoming more common as the industry moves past LEED® and ENERGY STAR® certifications that no longer offer a competitive advantage for businesses. Now, commercial building developers and architects are starting to showcase zero net energy designs as a means of differentiation from competitors.
• Alternative energy sources — More businesses are turning to alternative energy sources in efforts to lower utility costs, meet green building standards, and generate their own electricity. One increasingly popular choice is solar power, which allows them to harvest the sun’s free, clean energy to power their building’s HVAC, lighting, and more. This is all while substantially lowering electric costs and impact to the environment. According to the company, Lennox’ SunSource® Commercial Energy System is the first and only commercial HVAC system that integrates directly with solar power.
• Day lighting — An increasing number of new building designs and retrofits rely on day lighting to reduce energy costs by up to one-third, positioning windows, skylights, or other openings and reflective surfaces to take advantage of the sun’s natural light. This method also relies on a daylight-responsive lighting control system that automatically adjusts brightness when day lighting is inadequate, helping to keep energy use and costs in control.
• High-efficiency HVAC — HVAC can account for 40–60 percent of a building’s energy use, making it an obvious first item to tackle in greening efforts. High-efficiency HVAC units, such as Lennox’ Energence® and Landmark® rooftop units, are not only equipped to meet current building efficiency standards, but also are built with features like MSAV® (multi-stage air volume) supply fan technology that can boost overall comfort while dramatically reducing electricity costs.
• Local sourcing of raw materials — Many companies are opting to purchase materials locally in efforts to support green commercial building trends while reducing impact to the environment. Local material sourcing reduces the amount of energy involved in transportation to the building site, resulting in lower
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