With global population levels at an all-time high, understanding – and when need be mitigating – the environmental impact of human action is more important than ever before. As green and environmentally conscious contractors with years of experience in both the selection and implementation of so-called green components and their implementation, we strive to do just that. Unsurprisingly, it pleases us to no end when we see others taking a similar path, especially when those “others” happen to belong to two very special groups: Homeowners / residential applicants and titans of commerce and industry. Both of these seemingly opposite groups affect the green movement in their own special way. In fact, read on to discover a few unique approaches by and from each to the issue of green construction.
Homes across the nation are beginning to utilize drip and/or grey-water irrigation systems in place of traditional (and more wasteful) mainstays. These innovations being underground systems by nature, this change allows homeowners to keep their lawns and gardens vital and beautiful in a more environmentally positive way. This is especially effective in drought-prone areas, with savings in monetary, energy, and related costs being most significant in water-hungry areas. On the commercial end of the spectrum, the Palazzo, that multi-billion dollar jewel of the Las Vegas strip, has designed its grounds and infrastructure to minimize adverse environmental impact by maximizing guest exposure to Las Vegas’ picture-perfect weather. Like its distant residential cousin, it uses drip irrigation to limit undue water usage. However, it also uses its own unique cooling system and a partial replacement of the natural landscape by synthetic turf to further minimize the Palazzo’s impact upon the surrounding environment. This collective effort saves nearly twenty million gallons of water per annum. Because of its green efforts, the hotel was recently the “Most Eco-Friendly Hotel in America”.
An emerging trend in the green movement is the turning of the traditional indoor/ outdoor paradigm on its head. Hotels, for instance, are beginning to incorporate solar/ skylight combos to provide light, airy, open pool complexes with natural heating. Of course, this is most often done in areas where sunshine is a prominent and long-lasting feature of the natural environment. Residential dwellings and complexes, on the other hand, are seeing the exact opposite, with owners bringing the inside outside. This almost always takes the form of a deck or patio extension. These can range from simple, Spartan affairs to opulent home additions with sound systems and fireplaces. Even so, the barriers between nature and dwelling, which do exist, are designed to emphasize the integration of the two settings in an eco-friendly manner- energy efficient glass and simple screens are two popular options.
The eco-building market is growing by leaps and bounds. It is estimated that it will more than double in the next decade or so, with projected figures in excess of two hundred fifty billion USD by 2020. New trends will continue to pop up and businesses will continue to innovate the industry, much like the new Las Vegas hotels are now currently doing. As contractors in this industry, we can but heartily and happily applaud such a trend.