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LEED-ing the Pack in Sustainability

12 May 2016

 

Brian Brickhouse from Eaton, notes that innovative and eco-friendly infrastructure solutions must be deployed to help buildings achievehigh levels of energy efficiency which can bring about intangible benefits like productivity, health and wellness

Did you know that energy used in residential, commercial and public buildings accounts for 35 percent of total global final energy consumption? The International Energy Agency has found that buildings use up more energy than transportation and industrial sites. The world wide demand for energy in buildings is growing — the IEA expects demand to increase up to 60 percent by 2050.

Energy efficiency is one of the most promising ways to guaranteea secure energy future, and buildings are one of the best places to conserve.That is why the U.S. Green Building Council launched its internationally recognized LEED? certification program that provides leadership in energy and environmental design, which verifies that a building was designed to improve, among other metrics, energy savings.

LEED-certified buildings are fast becoming an attractive option to tenants, whether they are looking for office spaces, retail spaces or large tourist attraction spots. The key drivers that are pushing growth for the green buildings markets are twofold and include strong government efforts in establishing regulatory standards as well as the provision of grants and incentives to companies that are going the green way.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDs) certificationis a green building rating system that looks at the design, construction, operations and maintenance of a building and how it can significantly help companies to bring down their operational costs, with savings on time and resources to manage the building, and most of all, to benefit the environment in a sustainable manner. The rating system is applied across many infrastructures including office buildings, manufacturing plants, hotels, laboratories and many other building types.

The hot bed for LEED buildings in the Asia Pacific region are predominantly found in developed countries, such as in Singapore where there are about 700 of these buildings and counting. The Singapore government has also developed a third green building master plan to achieve 80% of green buildings in the building and construction market by 2030. Similarly, in Australia, the government has plans underway to transform all government buildings into green buildings, setting a great example for companies in the private sector to follow suit.

Some key aspects to design and build a LEED-certified building include heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) controls which provides thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality, lighting controls that respond to occupancy and daylight, access to sunlight and views, and better usage of office space to achieve an overall “high performance building”.

Another goalis to make buildings “smart” — able to monitor their own energy use and demands, adjust accordingly and to send alerts when inefficiencies occur. There are a lot of intelligent systems in a building, and leading energy management companies like Eaton is moving toward making a building a ‘system of systems’ and providing the dashboard and information customers need in order to operate their buildings more efficiently.

Even with a LEEDS-certified building people tend to overlook how much electricity is consumed as a result of lighting alone. This is especially true for buildings that need to be kept lit intensively, for up to 24 hours at a time.

Eaton worked with the Mumbai international airport, on their second terminal, which sees more than 40 million visitors annually and boasts unique features such as decorated carpets, an art museum, and bold designs. To create a cozier ambience, LED lighting was mounted on ceiling surfaces, coves and slots to provide indirect illumination to emphasize the terminal’s wall textures. This provided an ideal blend of energy efficient performance and enhanced aesthetic quality to the terminal’s already impressive architectural elements.