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Commercial Lean Construction and the Environment

Lean construction is considered to be a combination of operational research and practical development utilized in the design and construction of commercial and other types of construction. The lean construction process is designed to provide a system for all aspects of a construction process, from design to construction to post-construction matters.

In addition to streamlining the construction process, lean construction is also intended to consider the impact a construction project has on the natural environment. This consideration occurs in all aspects of the construction process. This includes design, construction, activation, maintenance, salvaging, and recycling. As a result, there are a number of elements of 21st century lean construction that are taken into consideration when it comes to the impact of a construction project and building on the environment.

Green Roofs

As the movement to make commercial buildings more environmentally sound, green roofs are becoming more widely utilized. In fact, come major metropolitan areas, like Denver, Colorado, have made green roofs a requirement on certain types of commercial structures.

Green roofs can have a number of positive impacts on the environment. First, the installation of a green roof works to lower the energy expend to heat or cool the structure. In addition, a green roof can lessen the negative impact a commercial structure can have on the surrounding environment.

Passive Solar Design

Passive solar design is becoming more widely utilized in commercial construction. Passive solar design is utilized, through lean construction protocols, to make the sun a key element the lighting, heating and cooling the building.

A passive solar design incorporates large windows into the structure. However, when following this concept in the lean construction process, deciduous plants commonly are planted around the building, particularly on the southern side of the structure.

Dual Plumbing Systems

More recently, lean construction projects, which necessarily focus in part on the environment, have utilized what are known as dual plumbing systems. Through this type of dual system, toilets and water used for irrigation utilize water that is not safe for drinking. This is known in the industry as reclaimed water. Potable, or drinkable, water is used for other purposes within a commercial building, including fresh water for drinking and cooking.

Recycled and Sustainable Insulation

Lean construction, with a focus on the environment and a building's long term functionality, utilizes recycled as well as sustainable insulation. For example, rather than use the most frequently type of insulation made from fiberglass, recycled and sustainable insulation utilizes recycled materials that include everything from denim to newspapers to plastic milk bottles.

Electrochromic Glass

Electrochromic glass, also known as smart glass), uses electricity in order to change the glass from opaque to translucent. Electrochromic glass works to save energy. This is accomplished by reducing the load on an HVAC system of a commercial building.

Building-integrated Photovoltaics

Building-integrated photovoltaics represent more than traditional solar panels. Although on first glance, photovoltaics look quite like traditional solar panels, they actually do much more than what historically was seen with this type of equipment.

The term "photovoltaic" means that an electric current is generated immediately and within the panels when exposed to sunlight. These photovoltaic panels theoretically can create what technically is called a closed grid. In other words, a commercial building can generate and use its own electricity through the use of photovoltaic panels.

DC Power

Slowly but surely, an increasing number of commercial buildings are incorporating DC power into some of their operations. Most people recognize DC power as that derived from a battery.

There are a variety of ways in which commercial buildings are taking wider advantage of DC power. This includes the operation of lighting and equipment associated with the operations of a building. Oftentimes, DC power is paired in conjunction with solar energy applications in a commercial building.

Mycoform Technology

A new technology in the experimental stage is what is known as mycoform technology. Mycoform technology involves the use of a form into which an agricultural waste product like buckwheat husks are placed. A fungal spore called mycelium feeds off the husks. The mycelium grow and reproduce to fill up the empty space in the form.

When that occurs, the form is heated to kill off the spore and to cause its growth to stop. The final result is a strong, solid brick or plate. The brick can come in any desired form. These bricks can be utilized in a number of different ways in a lean construction project. For example, the bricks can be utilized in the building insulation process.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.

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Our condo association was faced with monumental construction issues thanks to the original developer of our complex. We were cash poor and in no position to get legal representation without a contingency fee arrangement. Luckily for us, Scott Long and Burke Robinson were willing to take us on as clients. Their work ethic, professionalism and knowledge of condominium construction served our association very well. Any association would be well served in hiring these gentlemen to represent them.

Board of Directors - Plaza Gardens on the Lake Condominium Owners’ Association Lake of the Ozarks, MO

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