How Green MEP (M&E) Solutions Can Also Be Aesthetic
They say that a “green” building can never look good. Environmentally friendly, ecological, sustainable or “green” buildings are terms to describe both a building / project and its construction process that is environmentally responsible and efficient in the use of resources, from its planning stages and design until maintenance and demolition. Like “what’s good for you usually doesn’t taste good,” what’s good for the environment may not necessarily be aesthetically appealing. Solutions can be found in the realm of energy efficient MEP (M&E) design incorporating innovative aesthetic ideas. Sustainable engineering design MEP must work in conjunction with creative architectural planning. The use of BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology can play an important role in the process, using specific tools such as Revit BIM software.
Sustainable engineering can have a significant effect on upkeep and comfort. The orientation and shape of a building can affect the performance of your MEP systems. Industry sources exaggerate that early design stages can affect 90 percent of a building’s environmental impact. Therefore, sustainability is considerably influenced by the shape, location, appearance and feel of a structure. Renewable energy options include ‘energy saving’ technologies, which use and save natural energy efficiently and generate energy, and ‘power generation’ technologies, which generate and use energy. A thorough understanding of the principles is required to help design a sustainable system. MEP’s expert and experienced architects and designers and engineers must collaborate, analyze and review cost, quality and schedule to provide sustainable or “green” buildings that look attractive. Consider the energy saving and power generation technologies below:
Energy saving technologies
– Reduce energy use in HVAC and lighting. – MEP design should consider ways to reduce the cost and impact of lighting, heating and cooling systems, as lighting and HVAC systems are responsible for 25% and 32% of energy use, respectively, by edifice.
– Optimization of the use of natural light, natural ventilation, natural heating and cooling sources. – Designs that allow more natural light indoors, installation of sensors, natural heat sources, and eco-friendly lamps and bulbs can minimize energy loss in these systems.
– Conserve water – Low-flow fixtures, such as low-flow faucets, can save water by using 40% less than the amount used by standard fixtures. Low-flow toilets supposedly save about 2.2 gallons of water with each flush.
– Reuse the water – Gardening and flushing toilets do not require potable water. Greywater systems use water that was previously used for flushing, which is still relatively clean, for gardening, and for flushing toilets.
– Reduce electricity consumption. – Turn off lights, computers, office equipment, heating and cooling systems, and other appliances when not in use.
– Using combinations – Switching between the use of electricity through renewable energy sources, such as solar energy or wind energy, and regular power lines and determining the size and location of the systems can help save energy.
– Reduce carbon dioxide emissions. – Efficient HVAC systems and proper and timely maintenance can significantly reduce carbon emissions.
Power generating technologies
– Human power generators – In special cases, gym and health club treadmills and exercise bikes can be connected to lighting and electrical services. Kinetic floor tiles can be used in dance studios and soccer stadiums.
– The ceiling–mounted wind turbines – Profitable wind turbines run at all times with constant production.
– Solar panels – Rooftop or ground mounted solar panel systems use photovoltaic cells to convert solar energy into electricity.
Architecture can be creatively designed to incorporate natural light and ventilation features, low-flow fixtures, gray water systems, turbines, and solar panels into the design of the entire building.
In this way, sustainable design can be achieved by reducing the use of non-renewable resources, minimizing waste and developing healthy environments. Smart and sustainable design practices can help make MEP systems reliable, ensure the comfort of building occupants, and contribute to the preservation of the environment.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, buildings represent:
– 39% of total energy consumption
– 12% of total water consumption
– 68% of total electricity consumption
– 38% of carbon dioxide emissions
Sustainable buildings or green MEP solutions can further optimize a building’s environmental performance and save costs at any stage of planning, construction or demolition by:
Own site selection
The location, orientation and landscaping of a building can affect local ecosystems and energy consumption. Stormwater runoff can be reduced / treated in a well-planned site. Landscape design can use gray water systems. Parking lot and perimeter lighting can affect energy consumption.
Customization of operating and maintenance practices.
Materials and systems that require less water and energy can be customized for the building, making maintenance simple and saving costs.
Recognizing that the use of sustainable MEP practices has a significant impact on the environment and ecological systems, many designers and architects still feel that these structures score low on style and beauty. Creative thinking from both MEP architects and designers can certainly change that point of view. Cultural standards of architectural beauty can be altered, shaped, and steered in new directions through the adoption of sustainable building practices.
Globally, there are several examples of attractive green buildings that function as residences, offices and public spaces, such as:
– Chicago City Hall. It has a green roof, literally. Twenty thousand plants of 15 species reside there, and it even has two trees.
– Bangkok reportedly has more than one green roof, one of which houses a model farm created using traditional Thai farming techniques.
These green roofs are useful for managing stormwater. The vegetation and the roof floor retain water and behave as insulators, reducing heating and cooling costs. Green roofs add to the ‘green lungs’ of an urban space, reducing air pollution, and who doesn’t think a rooftop garden is beautiful?
Living walls or vertical gardens have the same aesthetic effect: one that calms and delights.
– Singapore’s tree house is supposedly the largest in the world. vertical garden. At 24,638 square feet, the ingenious green wall is projected to save more than $ 500,000 in energy and water costs.
– Sydney’s One Central Park residential building has a vertical garden with 25 species of plants.
– Trees and plants adorn each balcony of Bosco Verticale in Milan, with water from sinks, showers and washing machines that are used as part of a gray water system to irrigate the vertical gardens. The building also has solar panels on the roof, hidden from the eyes of pedestrians.
– Ten thousand plants live in a 350 square meter wall segment of The Rubens at the Palace Hotel, London, to benefit both man and birds. Pretty buttercups, crocuses, and even strawberries appear.
Green walls are naturally attractive but present technical challenges. As an added layer over an existing wall, a green wall requires expensive equipment and experienced experts to water and maintain it. Although initially expensive to install, green walls and roofs contribute to an overall reduction in energy and stormwater management expenses. Green roofs reduce the energy required to cool the floor below them by more than 50%, so beautiful buildings can also be energy efficient. How is it technically possible? One of the most effective methods involves Building Information Modeling (BIM).
The role of BIM
Intelligent BIM modeling processes and coordination, along with conflict detection, enable the timely delivery of accurate construction drawings. The role of BIM technology in helping to develop sustainable and energy-efficient buildings is important, as it helps to create a detailed design of MEP systems that are energy efficient and generate energy without conflicts. The precise design details required for ecological MEP systems require careful measurement and planning. It must be precisely analyzed how the materials in a building will react to wind, sun, water and gravity. BIM software, such as Revit BIM, helps architects and engineers in 3D modeling companies design shape, structure, MEP systems, cost, and materials in real time. BIM technology helps all stakeholders in a project quickly understand how design changes can affect energy efficiency and water management, producing smooth and conflict-free MEP coordination drawings. Using BIM Models, architects and engineers can access high-tech, high-precision tools to analyze and coordinate heating, cooling, ventilation, and energy efficiency in MEP engineering designs.
For designers, architects and the common man, the aesthetic appeal and functionality of a structure are equally relevant. People like beautiful buildings that are strong, comfortable, and energy efficient. In these times of rapid climate change, it can be challenging to create an attractive yet ecologically sustainable building. With the help of BIM modeling and intelligent MEP engineering designs in collaboration with the creativity of designers, these challenges can surely be overcome.