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Four Great Things to Know About Low Impact Design

low impact designWhen you’re preparing to break ground on your next construction project, there are lots of things to consider. Prior to purchasing your land parcel, you should have a site feasibility study done. If you decide to proceed, you’ll need surveys, such as boundary or topographical, or you may even need an ALTA/NSPS land title survey if your civil engineering firm recommends it.

Once you get to the design stage, it’s important to consider what kind of impact your new building will have on the environment. Low impact design means considering the overall impact, or environmental footprint, of a new building project.  Reducing the overall environmental impact of a new building is an important goal for builders because it’s a desirable quality when it comes to resale value in today’s marketplace. By consulting with a qualified developer and creating a low impact design that is both environmentally and user friendly, sustainable, and resource-efficient, your building can become LEED certified. LEED is the only global green building certification, and it shows that you and your business are leaders in energy and water reduction as well as promoters of better indoor air quality and overall quality of life for your building’s occupants.

Low impact design planned and orchestrated by a trusted civil engineering firm can help both you and the environment in several ways:

  1. CO2 reduction and increased insulation. What do most building projects have in common? Concrete. When building a facility, it’s important to use materials that are strong, durable and will stand the test of time. Concrete is the perfect material for these things, but it also has some issues when it comes to low impact design. The production of traditional concrete is the third highest contributor to man-made CO2 emissions. However, a civil engineer that is conscientious about low impact design can offer a solution. Hempcrete is a bio-composite formed from hemp (considered to be Earth’s most eco-friendly crop), lime and water.  Not only does the production of hempcrete generate significantly less CO2, but hemp naturally absorbs CO2 currently in the environment. Hempcrete also benefits the building’s owner, because it acts as an incredible insulator making it unnecessary to use polyurethane foam insulation. With hempcrete, your building is more efficient at heating and cooling, and you avoid the cost of other expensive insulators.
  2. Sustainable materials and increased air quality. Green buildings don’t produce as many toxins as regular buildings. Many traditional, man-made building materials have been found to adversely impact people’s health. Asbestos, for example, has been a frequently used building material in the past, but is a carcinogen when disturbed. Natural and sustainable materials, on the other hand, can actually help make buildings healthier by increasing air quality. Natural wool carpeting and laminate flooring that use natural, non-toxic glues are great ways to have a low impact on the environment while making your building a healthier place.
  3. Water efficiency and reduced costs. Buildings that don’t efficiently manage water can have a negative impact on water quality and can even cause flooding. Low impact design aims to design buildings that don’t directly pollute a community’s water by properly filtering waste and recycling as much water as possible. Low impact design also helps prevent indirect water pollution and flooding by properly designing parking lots so that water does not pool up, collect pollutants on the ground and improperly run off.
  4. Local business support. Many of the providers of the sustainable materials found in low impact designs are small, locally owned businesses that use locally sourced materials. Low impact design is a great way to help the environment while also giving a significant boost to the local economy.

Talk to your local civil engineering firm today, and ask if they offer low impact design consultation along with their other services. By designing a building that has a low impact on your environment, you can help lead the charge into a more sustainable future. Going green doesn’t have to break the bank and with low impact design, going green and saving green go hand in hand.