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Business model for sustainable construction

By Emmanuel Ramirez posted Jan 07, 2013 7:12 PM

Constantly the construction industry approaches the ecological theme as the strategy that will improve business. Present equipment that could reduce energy consumption, like photovoltaic plates, is interpreted as the added value that we must pursue. However, another setback appears when we apply consumerist’s rules who affect the performance of our buildings. We see these rules on a daily basis; for example, if we want to lose weight we buy the pills instead of keeping a diet or a healthy lifestyle.
The application of "green products" without having a business model consistent with ecological initiatives, may affect the cost-effectiveness of the work. Several typologies of buildings has been designed with methods to reduce the construction time but did not assess the efficiency of the use of materials and the adaptation of the design to the climatic conditions of the place. In our times, the building turns out to be more expensive, more if we add additional lighting and air conditioning to the design not previously optimized. Then the worst occurs when the industry tries to dampen the consumption with sustainable systems. The result is the increase of the cost up to 25% on a yet increased construction cost.
We must move away from the pre-conception of "ecology" as the acquisition of "green" products. Professionals in the industry should begin to work in an integrated manner. Unfortunately, whether by ownership or trying to emulate bureaucratic systems, confined the work to "do only what matters to me" and not to promote the discussion of ideas. The power to do an efficient project from its development until the construction, in order to obtain an ecological solution requires the evolution of the current business model. Each office project requires becoming a space of research based on the efficiency and social responsibility.
What would you think if the research can optimize the use of its materials, resulting in a more economic work? How about by expert integration, reducing the consumption of concrete we succeeded up to 15%? This reduction amounts to 20% savings in comparison with the total cost and would reduce the footprint of carbon monoxide up to 3 tons. Articulate the business in an integrated manner would add value to our services, improve performance and keeps the cost within the parameters of the market.
Let us take as an example the construction of a sport facility. After a strategic analysis, we conclude that the structure could be optimized to reduce the consumption of steel. Each facade was designed to optimize ventilation and filtering the direct sunlight. The research was able to reduce the cost and allowed integrate renewable energy systems. Thus the structure won't have energy consumption and will be economically feasible, achieving a saving of $40,000 compared to the current system. In conclusion, we have a great field to go where the efficiency and the inclusion of the appropriate expertise, can achieve the viability of projects with sustainable results. The ecological discourse sounds good, but if not built we will never enjoy the future that we seek.


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