In recent years there have been new mandates and regulations enacted around the world and in the United States to drive the built world towards a more sustainable, and ultimately net-zero future. This is all the more vital as the built world accounts for nearly 40 percent of total carbon emissions worldwide, and modern design and construction practices will need to adapt to new emissions goals by using technologies that can support new efficiencies across all types of properties and assets.
International organizations, such as the World Green Building Council, have set forth requirements for all buildings to reduce their energy consumption and eliminate emissions as quickly as practicable, and that new developments and major renovations are built to be highly efficient and designed for maximum reduction of carbon output. These requirements give property owners until 2030 to meet the new benchmarks, though major cities around the world as well have instituted their own building emissions policies and standards. For example, New York City in 2019 passed the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), which includes Local 97, requiring that buildings over 25,000 square feet meet greenhouse gas emission limits by 2024, with stricter limits going into effect in 2030. As property owners look to meet these new standards, one aspect that will be significantly important to improve upon and utilize in the effort to drive building efficiency and reduce energy usage are HVAC systems, air filtration and purification, and related infrastructure and technology.
Building Design Will Have to Adapt to New Requirements
Modern design of buildings and construction practices typically seal buildings for the intended purpose of lowering energy costs. However, the result of these practices can lead to poor indoor air quality (IAQ), which is vital for overall public health and in maintaining a safe and modern building. Without the necessary ventilation, buildings can have a buildup of mold spores, VOCs and other contaminants which can lead to serious problems for the building and the people inside of it.
Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency has called IAQ one of the nation’s top five health threats, and has developed guidelines for owners to adhere to regarding the amount of outdoor air which must be allowed into a building. By following these rules, owners can quickly and easily see a decrease in their total energy bill by five to seven percent. However, by letting in fresh air with no system in place, business owners will eventually see their indoor air systems wasting energy and costs, and will need to utilize new strategies and technologies to improve energy efficiency while still maintaining high IAQ.
Technology Can Support Overall Building Health
Technologies that are able to both improve that air that building tenants and occupants breathe while also reducing energy use and costs will be a significant asset for building owners moving forward. This opportunity will be driven by the installation of new HVAC and infrastructure, such as AtmosAir’s Bi-Polar Ionization System which allows a building to recycle cleaner, conditioned air. Technology such as this can support owners in their efforts to meet city, federal and even international requirements for built world carbon emissions, by minimizing mold spores and unwanted particles. This technology negates the need for diluting and replacing a space with additional amounts of indoor air and using airflow-restrictive filters to clean the air. Instead, owners are able to see air purification accomplished without further costs due to a large amount of the air being recycled and reused. Effectively, this drives energy efficiency, savings and supports net-zero requirements and goals.
While owners may be just now adapting to the new normal of benchmarks and requirements for carbon emissions and sustainability, technologies have been developed and are available that can assist in this task. Zero energy builds and net zero requirements are becoming more common and gaining momentum around the world, and in turn city and federal governments have followed suit in enacting regulations. Owners who are able to use technology that best suits their needs, drives energy efficiencies, and creates a safer work environment for tenants and occupants will stay ahead of competition and be at the forefront of healthy building trends.