When constructing a commercial building, selecting energy-efficient materials offers several important benefits. First, it can help cut down on energy costs when heating and cooling the building. Additionally, using energy-efficient materials promotes sustainability by reducing energy resources used by the building.
Continue reading to learn more about several energy-efficient building materials that provide sustainable and economic benefits.
1. Flat Roof Insulation
Many commercial buildings have a flat roof design that makes roof access, stormwater control, and storage of HVAC equipment much easier. A flat roof is any roof that has a pitch or slope lower than 10 degrees.
Flat roof insulation is an important addition to any building with a flat roof. Just like your building’s walls, a flat roof will be exposed to sunlight and subject to extreme temperatures. This is a cost-effective way to regulate interior temperatures more easily and at a lower cost. Flat roof insulation contributes to more comfortable interior spaces, a more efficient and sustainable building design, and lower energy costs.
2. Low-E Windows
Low emissivity, or low-E, windows are an energy-efficient window option for your commercial building, and one of the best new construction window options on the market. These windows feature a coating that reduces the transmission of the sun’s infrared and ultraviolet rays into interior spaces. There are different coating options available, such as a pyrolytic coating or solar control coating, which are suited for different climates. When considering low-E windows for your building, research the different types to determine which one is most suitable.
These windows often typically feature a double or triple pane design with layers of inert gas (usually argon) between the panes. Argon is a low-conductivity medium which makes it more difficult for heat to pass through your windows.
The combination of the exterior coating and argon gas layer reduces your building’s energy costs by keeping the heat out in the summertime or keeping your heating inside the building in the winter. They may be a worthwhile investment to reduce your commercial building’s energy usage.
3. Smart Glass Windows
Large glass windows that allow for a large amount of natural light within commercial spaces are a trend that doesn’t seem to be going away. Smart glass windows improve the energy efficiency of this trend while also incorporating the design into your building’s heating system.
Smart glass windows feature technologies that transition your windows from transparent to translucent either automatically or via a manual switch. During hot weather, the windows can become translucent to block light and reduce the transmission of heat into the interior of your building. On winter days, the windows become transparent to allow sunlight into your interior spaces, which can aid in the heating of your interior spaces. Some other smart glass systems operate on the principle of adjusting the tint levels of the windows as needed to block light, allowing the window to remain transparent while still blocking light.
4. Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring is a great energy-efficient option for your commercial space. Whether you’re looking for retail flooring or floors to install in an office space, durability and energy efficiency are both important factors.
Engineered wood flooring is a type of hardwood flooring in which the top layer is made of real hardwood and the lower layers are made of wood-derived materials glued together such as timber and various plywoods.
This type of flooring comes at a lower price point compared to traditional hardwood flooring while still maintaining a stylish and authentic look. It is also a more sustainable option as the materials used to construct this type of flooring are more resistant to changes in moisture and temperature. Additionally, depending on the flooring materials chosen, the assembly can have better thermal properties than traditional flooring, leading to reduced HVAC costs year-round.
This type of flooring can also be combined with underfloor heating systems called radiant heat. These systems circulate hot water or air beneath the flooring to radiate heat in all directions within space and heat larger spaces with lower temperatures. So, engineered hardwood paired with a radiant underfloor heating system is an ideal choice for climate control and flooring within a large commercial space.
5. Tankless Water Heating
The traditional method for achieving hot water in a commercial building is to heat the water and store it in a tank. Energy will periodically be used to maintain a certain temperature. This is an inefficient system that uses unnecessary energy and risks breaking down, which could cause flooding and lead to costs related to water damage repairs.
These outdated water heating systems can be replaced with new tankless water heating technologies. Intellihot’s Tankless Water Heating Products feature an innovative design that produces hot water as it is needed to reduce water and energy waste. The equipment required is smaller, more reliable, and robust. Designed to last longer in demanding situations than the average water tank system, creating an overall higher value to businesses from installation to operation.
Todd Gillman is the content director for the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.