In a recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced that trends such as the continued rise in sea level are irreversibly changing our climate over the next 100 to 1,000 years.
That said, the report also states that strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. This news is especially timely for general contractors, who can provide key sustainable construction solutions to help mitigate carbon emissions.
According to Greengage Environmental, the construction of buildings accounts for 40 percent of global greenhouse gas. While it may seem like a daunting task to lower this percentage, environmentally friendly construction techniques are increasingly being utilized.
Below are a few sustainable construction solutions to employ to limit the effects of climate change.
Implementing solar panels
Installing solar panels produces numerous benefits, such as lowering carbon emissions, increasing curb appeal and saving electricity bills for owners of multifamily buildings and residents.
What’s more, the call for solar panels in apartment communities is growing louder. According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, “the demand for solar access continues to grow among property owners and renters alike. Sustainable features are commonly sought qualifications renters look for in a new home. Buildings with solar are often associated with higher quality, and access to a green home can motivate new (residents) and reduce (resident) turnover.”
By implementing solar panels, multifamily owners/developers can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide. Going solar allows these owners and developers to significantly reduce the property’s carbon footprint. In fact, choosing a clean source of electricity like solar panels can eliminate the same amount of carbon emissions that would result from burning over 5,000 pounds of coal each year.
Installing electric vehicle charging stations
In August 2020, President Biden signed an executive order to encourage more sales of electric cars, aiming for half of new sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030. Alongside him, several automakers promised to increase manufacturing of battery electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
With this new promise, the adoption of electric vehicles will continue to increase, and more than half of vehicles on the road will be electric within the next 10 years. Accordingly, residents will be expecting electric vehicle charging stations at their apartment communities.
Improving local environmental factors
The surrounding area of multifamily apartments also needs to be considered in terms of sustainable amenities. These environmental features could include a locally sourced community garden, a recycling center and water-efficient landscaping.
According to the National Gardening Association, 35 percent of Americans are growing their own food, so there is an immense demand and need for already provided community gardens. These amenities reduce food waste, increase social relationships, and allow people the opportunity to connect with nature. Especially in urban areas, community gardens are essential.
Sustainable construction solutions are essential in mitigating the impact of climate change. These solutions are not only environmentally conscious but also cost-conscious for developers. By implementing solar panels, installing electric vehicle charging stations and improving local environmental factors, stakeholders can reduce their carbon footprint and heighten interest among potential residents.
Richard Lara is the founder & president of RAAM Construction Inc., a general building construction firm specializing in multifamily and historic preservation projects throughout California. RAAM builds projects that reflect local traditions and revitalize neighborhoods. More information is available at www.raamconstruction.com.