These trends are boosting sustainable buildings

Sustainability has been shaping the way we build for over two decades. But today’s facilities managers need to be looking beyond the green building to other trends that are enhancing the sustainability of our buildings.

The business case for sustainable change

Ultimately, what drives sustainable building design is profitability. Energy-efficient solutions and recyclability lead to operational savings, while robust solutions for high-quality construction are reflected in higher rents.

Facilities management lies at the heart of sustainable development. By reporting back on both the social value and economic performance of a building, FM contributes to better performance and sustainability while adding value to any project. Regulatory incentives are also driving the case for sustainable change and enabling FM to oversee new levels of environmentally friendly development.

Health and wellness

A focus on health and wellness in sustainable design is nothing new. But for businesses that want to attract the best millennial talent, it’s a very contemporary concern. For example, Indoor Air Quality monitoring seeks to control high concentrations of CO2 in the workplace and improve cognitive function throughout the day.

For facilities management, the integration of health and wellbeing into a development opens the door to conversations about other aspects of sustainable construction. The use of IoT technology to monitor air quality and improve productivity, for example, is expected to become integral to smart facilities management.

Circular and modular construction

With American construction companies sending an estimated 160 million tons of waste to landfill, there’s a growing interest in methods of circular construction. In Europe, buildings are increasingly designed as resource banks of materials that can be reused in future constructions.

Prefabricated or modular construction is another older construction method that has been revived to cut costs and waste, delivering construction projects on time and to budget.

Smart building technology

In terms of sustainable performance, tools such as computational fluid dynamics and energy modelling allow designers to move beyond conventional design. By focusing on the integration of smart technology and Distributed Energy Systems at the heart of design, these projects enable FM to gather and analyse information on how a building behaves in use and make adjustments accordingly.

Smart energy generation and control overheating and cooling in a building’s DES offers facility management ways to improve the security and reliability of a building’s energy while reducing costs.

Facilities management is at the heart of sustainable construction

To transition to sustainable construction, more companies need to look to waste reduction, including effective recycling and reuse of materials, life cycle policies and sustainability baked in at design level. Critical to tying sustainable policies and practices together is the implementation of facilities management.

The trend for smart high-performance buildings may safeguard the health and wellbeing of occupants but only FM can deliver the economic and efficient operation of that building over the long term. The combination of sustainable high-performance buildings with facilities management is set to add economic value while delivering on commitments to the sustainability and social responsibility of any business.