Effecting Change with Green Construction for a Better Future

The following is a guest post.

Green Construction - remodeling

Greening an existing structure can reduce energy consumption and create a healthier environment. Photo courtesy of Ecolution Renewables

While the new construction trend is to look for sustainable and renewable materials, a commonly overlooked problem is that of existing structures. These homes and commercial buildings from years past will continue to exist for decades to come. Failing to address the impact this has on the environment through increased energy consumption, as well as toxins in the buildings, reducing air quality and causing long-term health effects, is a huge mistake.

Utilizing natural insulation materials helps to reduce heat loss and energy consumption. This applies to far more than exterior wall insulation and roof and attic insulations. Windows and doors can be changed out for very significant long term savings.

Whether done as part of expansion of existing structures, remodeling or even as a cost and energy saving measure by itself in a stand-alone improvement, the benefit of making these changes not only helps the environment but  provides long term savings to the homeowner or companies using commercial structures.

Adding solar panels

Adding solar panels is becoming more affordable for both residential and commercial buildings. Photo Courtesy of Ecolution Renewables

Renewable energies have been available for domestic and commercial use for some time. It’s only in recent years that they have become truly cost effective. Companies such as British-based Ecolution Renewables specialize in installing solar paneling on new build projects and commercial buildings. This expertise is filtering down to become available, and affordable, to the average home owner. It is still important to ensure that your home has the right aspect to make solar power a viable energy source, and the type of roof you have is also important, but many companies offer a free consultation service.  Often you can ‘sell’ your extra energy back to the power company.

There are many methods in place for making these environment and money-saving improvements. Tax incentives are widely available to reduce the economic impact of the upfront costs. When combined with long term cost reductions, these incentives make it an easy choice for business and private individuals.

In some countries, some very progressive initiatives are making it more sensible to convert older structures into more environmentally friendly buildings. Green Deal in the UK is an excellent example. Under this initiative, upfront costs are fully funded by government and energy corporations.

Adding natural insulation will reduce heating and air conditioning costs

Adding natural insulation is an excellent energy-saving improvement. Photo courtesy of Ecolution Renewables

The Green deal initiative provides loans for the total cost of energy-saving improvements which are recommended by assessors for maximum effectiveness. Loan repayments are set up so that monthly payment will be less than the expected monthly savings. This will have a positive impact on monthly budgets as opposed to simple waiting for long term recovery of investment.

If more countries would follow suit with initiatives to increase considerations of energy and environment-saving measures, the short term effect on the environment would be stronger than that from improved new construction techniques. We’ve been burdened with poor choices in the past but many of the choices can be corrected and improved upon.

Recognizing both need and method to improve existing structures is a major step in the right direction. Discovering available measures to reduce cost is an excellent way for people to meet this need on an individual and corporate level.

This post was written by Nathaniel Schofield, a freelance writer, musician and environmental enthusiast. Based in the UK , he divides his time between writing, community conservation projects and walking.

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