As countries across the globe struggle with the effects of the pandemic, many commercial buildings sit empty. Business and school closures and shelter-in-place orders have kept huge numbers of people off the roads, and sidelined most of the world’s usual activities. There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has been devastating to people’s health and safety as well as the global economy. The environment, however, tells a different, positive story:
- Levels of two major air pollutants, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, have been dramatically reduced during the lockdown period.
- Greenhouse gas emissions fell to 2006 levels.
Good news, for sure, but most experts acknowledge that these changes are temporary.
Despite that, this data shows change is possible; it also underscores the importance of sustainability efforts, and sustainable design, for building owners going forward.
Interested in learning about the technology many companies are using to achieve their sustainability goals? Schedule a call with us to find out more.
Why is sustainable design important?
Buildings designed in an environmentally sound way, and which use resources efficiently, are important because they help secure a better future for everyone. Many people think sustainability is solely about saving the planet in an environmental sense, but there are actually three pillars of sustainability: people, planet, and profit. Sustainable design produces long-term benefits in all three of these areas:
- People—People spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, yet studies show that 33% to 50% of commercial buildings in the U.S. have poor indoor air quality. Particulate matter (particle pollution), specifically, is the cause of numerous respiratory ailments, and may also be a factor in COVID-19 deaths. Poor air quality not only negatively impacts the health of building occupants, it also affects their comfort and productivity. Part of being a responsible building owner is providing for the health and safety of your tenants; thus, indoor air quality measuring and monitoring is a key part of all building sustainability rating systems, including LEED.
- Planet—Of course, one of the most significant benefits of sustainable design is that it helps secure the future of the planet. Buildings and construction produce 39% of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions; there’s huge potential for progress in this area because so little has been done here to date. Energy efficiency and resource management are at the heart of the sustainability effort, and thanks to the technology and information available today, it’s possible for every business to improve.
- Profit—The future of any business relies on its ability to remain competitive and profitable (in sustainable design, that means without negatively impacting the other two pillars). Ensuring that your building operates efficiently and cleanly helps avoid wasted resources, strengthens your workforce, and reduces operating costs, bringing all three pillars together. The money you save can be reinvested into the business for future growth.
Another benefit of sustainable design: It enhances your building’s marketability. Research has shown that sustainable office buildings command higher rent, and generate greater demand among prospective buyers.
Commercial buildings will be back in business in the near future. Now’s the time to make a sustainability plan that will help your company thrive going forward.
Looking for a partner who can help your building become more sustainable?
Talk to us at Iota. We’re an Internet of Things company whose goal is to help businesses like yours leverage technology to reduce operating costs, increase efficiency, and advance sustainability. We’ve helped numerous companies make their buildings healthier and more energy-efficient in an effort to become greener, and even to achieve LEED and WELL certifications. Whether you have sustainability goals already in place or want to explore the possibilities for your facility, we can help you get started today.