Making building’s environmentally friendly has become a priority in many projects and is a big part of the future of structural engineering and commercial architecture services. From the materials used to build to the vehicles used to transport them engineering is responsible for innovations that make green construction a reality and a rapidly advancing one at that. Creating structures that are sustainable and still strong and dependable is the challenge that many engineers are meeting through creative ideas and innovations. These innovations improve not only the wellbeing of the environment but also the quality of the structures being built in it.
The LEED building rating system is integral to the green engineering movement because of the prestige and acclaim that buildings and the people who design them receive when they meet the criteria for receiving a good rating from this well respected organization. LEED certified buildings meet three environmentally friendly and important criteria: they’re conservative with water and energy and they reduce the levels of greenhouse gasses they emit.
Structural engineers that build with sustainability in mind are mindful of the materials that they use and how those materials effect the environment. They consider how materials are produced, how they are implemented into the design and at what cost to the environment. Salvage materials including reclaimed wood and steel are ideal building materials for sustainability. Engineers are responsible for developing the methods and standards by which these recycled materials are reused without losing their strength of ability to perform as their newly minted counterparts would. Structural engineers interested in creating sustainable structures are also keenly aware of the energy and water efficiency of the structures that they produce.
From the inception of the building, just as with the materials they choose, engineers are tasked with developing methods of conservation to ensure that as much water and energy are harnessed and reused in the building as possible. This area of engineering has been particularly innovative in the development of heating and cooling systems that are powered by rain water as well as solar powered lighting systems that are capable of adjusting the lighting of the buildings they’re featured in to the time of day and the amount of natural light available.
Structural engineering is also responsible for making sure that the very construction of a building can be green as well. Cranes, trucks, and other building vehicles and machinery have been engineered so that they can be powered by sustainable oils or electricity. Greenhouse gas and smog emissions from the machinery that powers factories and buildings in cities have been cut down by engineering breakthroughs that innovate how these machines and buildings are powered, and sustainable engineering has been employed to take these building’s energy off of city electricity grids so that their need for massive amounts of electricity doesn’t require the city to over extend itself or its environment.
Sustainable engineering makes sense because it’s not only environmentally friendly, it’s also economically friendly as well. Buildings that build for sustainability are typically less costly to produce and draw more goodwill from the surrounding community as well.