In construction, the acronym MEP stands for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering. These three fields cover the central systems that make buildings habitable for humans. But, working with an experienced MEP engineering firm can reduce installation costs, meet building codes, and optimize material requirements. All of these benefits make sustainable MEP design ideas so coveted in the construction world.
1. Lower Energy Consumption
In a commercial building, lighting accounts for 25% of the energy used, and HVAC symptoms account for another 32% of energy use. Keeping sustainable MEP design in mind, it’s possible to optimize the efficiency of these systems to lower costs and reduce environmental impact.
Solutions include using natural ventilation and natural sources, integrating new energy technologies, and designing buildings that prioritize natural lighting. Passive sustainable design ideas can make a huge difference. When the building design protects itself from extreme heat or cold, the pressure on energy and HVAC systems is significantly lower.
2. Better Water Management
Water preservation is another strategy that helps control the environmental impact of a new building. Installing low-flow fixtures can bring down water consumption by 40%. Some buildings include greywater systems to be used for irrigation or toilet flushing.
Some buildings use stormwater management to retain water and reuse it back into the ground to water the landscape. This choice can significantly reduce the environmental impact of new buildings while using what’s already available in nature.
3. Reduce Co2 Emissions
Most Co2 emissions come from the fossil fuels used to provide heating, cooling, lighting, and water to the building. Using locally sourced materials, reducing water usage, and using recycled materials can help bring down carbon emissions. Some buildings are also looking at MEP designs using renewable power like solar panels or windmills.
4. Use Sustainable Building Materials
The best way to achieve sustainability is by choosing sustainable building materials in the first place. For example, using double-glazed windows can help improve insulation. Light-colored roofs reflect heat, thus reducing the load on air conditioners. Even building orientation can help minimize the effect of heat sources.
5. Pick Native Landscaping
While landscaping is not part of MEP design, it still has a significant role in the overall result. Landscaping choices interfere with water consumption. Using trees and plants native to the area will reduce irrigation needs as they should thrive in the local environment regardless. Landscaping can also be used to help with energy management. Trees that shade the roof and main windows during the hottest time of the day can reduce heat inside the building and alleviate the pressure on the HVAC systems.
Designing a sustainable building using MEP design ideas can be possible. When designing with sustainability in mind, buildings will be set for success in the future.
Geraldine Orentas is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with steel distributor FedSteel.