Green Innovations Revolutionize Construction

A Bay Area company demonstrates the way the building industry could be a leader in sustainability.

A Green Economic Revolution is under way, led by entrepreneurs with green ideas for re-engineering the house construction industry. The pace of the revolution is exceeding all expectations as consumers seek out methods to reduce their costs while helping fight global warming.

We’re talking new means of designing buildings and locating them. These new buildings are employing services that place less pressure on the environment and that carry the sort of third-party certifications just emerging from institutions just like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit organization that delivers a consumer product label certifying the business enterprise supports responsible forest management.

These buildings are created to use little if any utility-supplied energy, an advantage that’s gaining tremendous traction among consumers with the seemingly daily price increases in coal, oil and gas.

Deva Rajan is an effective "green" builder and founder of Canyon Construction, a California-based contracting company in the Bay Area that builds and remodels homes and offices using green methods. Rajan was a leader in the "Going Green" revolution a long time before ordinary people "first got it."

"When you build beautiful things, people care for them. And durability is a cornerstone of sustainability," Rajan says.

Through the 1970s he quietly influenced the development of California’s Title 24–pioneering building codes that a lot of states have finally adopted. And he was instrumental in creating a new kind of concrete that recycled "fly ash"–waste created by coal-fired power plants that’s now a high-utility standard among building materials.

"I must say i admire Deva’s strength of purpose in assisting turn this Titanic-like building industry toward sustainability," Canyon Construction President Chris Avant says.

"In no small part because of Deva’s efforts, California pioneered legislation focusing upon building standards that increased energy efficiency in 1978. Since that time we have learned a whole lot and the codes have already been upgraded 3 x, but we remain quite a distance from truly having building codes and community planning which have sustainability as their cornerstone," Avant says.

Avant ought to know. He just moved right into a new corporate headquarters certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED provides third-party certification for buildings to meet up the best standards for energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. Canyon Construction’s building obtained a platinum rating, among 17 new construction projects in the usa to acquire such a rating during the building’s completion.

The LEED program is helping the industry "adopt where we design, locate, build and retrofit buildings to accomplish sustainability inside our work and lifestyles," Avant says.

Canyon Construction’s headquarters has an exemplory case of sustainability. First, it’s a reconstruction of a building that were vacant for a long time and fallen into great disrepair.

Reconstruction helps eliminate urban sprawl.

"Infill is a significant part of sustainability," Avant says, adding that clear-cutting land or claiming farms for new construction results in more commute time for more folks.

"And this means we’ve replaced forests and farm plants that consume CO2, the main gas causing climate change, with houses, strip malls and offices that emit greenhouse gases," Avant says.

It’s easier to utilize the "wonderful inventory of existing buildings and lots in city locations offering an excellent work and living environment" and in addition place less demand on the intake of fossil fuels linked with daily commuting, Avant adds.

As you’ll expect, Canyon Construction’s headquarters pioneers another generation of energy technology. The roof includes solar panels that appear to be high-quality roof shingles and produce nearly completely of the building’s electricity supply. Lowering the necessity for electricity and gas may be the building’s 3,000-foot horizontal thermal-loop cooling and heating system that uses the earth’s constant temperature to warm or cool the building.

Coupled with high degrees of insulation, the building’s design has eliminated the necessity for fossil-fueled energy. That isn’t only best for the environment–with gas prices at $12-plus per mmbtu (one million British Thermal Units, the machine of measurement utilized by utilities in calculating your gas bill) and ever-increasing electricity rates–this is a building that’s immunized to raised energy prices.

It had been also constructed with recycled materials whenever you can. Ninety percent of the decorative steel and 35 percent of the structural steel was sourced from recycled steel. The wood in its ceiling, trellis and balconies is completely salvaged redwood and Douglas fir, all certified by the FSC. The lobby floor is completely salvaged Sierra White granite. And completely of the water used for irrigation originates from a 15,000-gallon rainwater catch storage system. Furthermore, the building’s insulation originates from recycled newspapers.

Then there may be the issue of indoor quality of air. Highly insulated buildings that reduce energy consumption require special indoor quality of air attention. Which means carpets that don’t emit toxins and cabinets built using formaldehyde-free adhesives.

Just how soon can a construction entrepreneur be prepared to get yourself a strong customer base that really wants to buy green services and products?

Canyon Construction’s business keeps growing at this time from leads generated by sustainability projects it completed five years back, Avant says.

"It is not a question any more of whether you brand yourself as a ‘green contractor’ or a ‘quality contractor,’" Rajan says. "Both are actually merging into being a similar thing."

And the ones who "get it" will be harvesting sales leadership positioning in a $350 billion annual revenue industry. Another exemplory case of the way the Green Economic Revolution continues its maturation into mainstream industries like construction, creating opportunities for engaged entrepreneurs. Don’t miss my next article on what one visionary entrepreneur created a worldwide green standard in building design and construction.