How Do Buildings Become Carbon Neutral?
Buildings are responsible for 30% of US greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The need for heating, cooking, and electricity contributes to emissions; and is a great place to start when working to eliminate carbon emissions. While we’ve made significant progress towards our 2050 net-zero emissions, we need to take steps toward carbon reduction to enjoy future carbon neutrality.
Thankfully there are ways to make your building carbon neutral — starting with energy use.
Reducing energy use
Modern society relies on electricity to keep it going. Unfortunately, much of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels and coal, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Saving electricity isn’t as simple as switching off all electrical components and calling it a day. We need all our utilities to keep our daily life moving.
First, you’ll need to evaluate your establishment’s current equipment. Knowing what needs to be changed, maintained, or repaired is essential to identifying which equipment gives you the most trouble.
You may find that some older systems, such as natural gas heating, are your most notorious greenhouse offenders. While switching to an all-electric system may seem clear-cut in this case, know that some modern electrical systems have higher total emissions than your current system when factoring in the electricity needed to run the new equipment.
The age-old quote “measure twice and cut once” rings true here, so be sure you’ve mapped out all your options. You want your investment to have the most significant impact, especially when it comes to the goal of carbon neutrality.
We give the best output when our environment allows us to focus on our work. HVAC systems enable us to work without being irritated by the cold or heat. While adjusting the thermostat seems like the obvious solution to this problem, it doesn’t do you any favors on your energy costs. Getting you towards carbon neutrality means you’ll have to find a way to reduce energy costs on ventilation. Thankfully, insulation solves this problem for us.
“But I already have insulation installed.” You may ask yourself. However, insulation deteriorates over time and develops air leaks. These air leaks might cost you hundreds, if not thousands more in heating and cooling costs. You’ll find that even the most minor change, such as using insulated fire-rated access doors, significantly impacts your overall energy usage.
Most insulation relies on physically blocking heat from entering. However, this insulation method can only delay heat entry for so long, and some locations benefit more from reflecting heat away. Reflective insulation would be your go-to for this situation. This “radiant barrier,” as it’s also called, will prevent heat from entering a living or working space. You’ll be glad to enjoy a working space and energy savings simultaneously!
So, it’s time to have a look over your current insulation, seal off those air leaks, and get yourself closer to carbon neutrality.
Reducing energy costs can only get you so far on your path to a better tomorrow. We all have to take a leap and source greener and renewable energy someday, so why not start now?
Please take advantage of the bountiful source of heat we have, that is our sun! If your building relies on heating, you can take advantage of the sun by installing a solar water/air heater. You get to benefit from the significant energy savings in the short term, and you’ll be glad to know that it’s a system that’ll pay for itself in the long run.
You can take this concept further and install solar panels on your building. With solar panels, you reduce dependence on the electrical grid and take the essential measure of stepping away from conventional sources of electricity.
The benefits don’t stop there. Since you already have the infrastructure for a solar-dependent setup, future upgrade plans will also become cheaper than installing it from scratch.
Regardless of the carbon neutrality approach, the key is finding a method that works for you and our environment. Hopefully, you get ideas on where you can start your sustainable future.
Sustainability doesn’t only mean sourcing cleaner energy or reducing your carbon footprint. It’s enacting measures to ensure the system can survive for an extended time. With how much we pollute and destroy our environment, you can see that it cannot last long.
By taking steps toward carbon neutrality, we give ourselves the best chance at a future we are free to shape. It all starts with you making a conscious choice towards being carbon neutral.