Increasingly environmental matters are becoming a concern for companies both large and small who wish to reduce their impact on the earth – and on their finances. So how could paying attention (and making small changes) to your exterior structure enable your business to reduce costs – and most importantly help to save the planet?
Reclaim and reuse
Venture into a reclamation yard and you’ll find a treasure trove of iron gates, glass mirrors, stone arches and a whole host of miscellaneous materials. The array of objects up for grabs isn’t to be sniffed at – as by reusing these forgotten, long-lost items you’re eliminating the need to manufacture something afresh. Often the variety is unique and unusual – but there are conventional objects to be found, including lighting, signage, plant plots and furniture. This isn’t only for the quirky antique shop or vintage tea room. Even businesses with contemporary exterior design can incorporate reclaimed materials and objects – often without detection from passers-by.
Responsibly-sourced timbers, stone and slate
Fresh stone and slate needs to be mined and quarried. This, of course, has a significant impact in the environment – both in the immediate vicinity of a processing plant and in terms of the fuel and energy needed to power them. Sourcing reclaimed stone, slate, brick and marble is easy – and it’s also a more financially viable option, as pre-used materials often cost less than their newer counterparts. Whilst all timber is now legally required to be sourced from responsible farms, it’s still worth opting for reclaimed wood – especially if a rustic feel complements the nature of your business. Old railway sleepers, decorative beams and even pieces of broken up furniture can all be used instead of traditional fresh timbers, provided they’re large enough.
Preserving and generating clean energy
It’s entirely possible to design and install an exterior scheme with eco objectives in mind. This can be done in a number of ways – for example, using specialist glass which reflects UV rays can reduce the need for air conditioning in summer months, whilst sealing and fully insulating the property can keep heat in during winter. Using a lot of glass also allows natural light to pour into your premises, reducing the amount of artificial light (and electricity) needed, thus bringing down energy bills further. For a more significant impact, it’s worth considering a larger scale eco-friendly statement – think solar panels, intelligent ventilation systems and green roofs and walls. This doesn’t mean forgetting smaller details too – like energy-efficient LED lighting, non-toxic water-based paints and rainwater collection units.