Making buildings greener
Driving, eating and consuming are everyday activities that pollute. Can people integrate changes into their daily activities that reduce their environmental footprint? Absolutely, says Fariborz Haghighat.
As Concordia Research Chair in Energy and the Environment and Professor in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Haghighat maintains that developing sustainable construction, heating, air conditioning and ventilation techniques for buildings could help achieve substantial environmental gains. They could also reduce energy expenditures, atmospheric emissions and solid waste volumes.
To increase energy efficiency, buildings could be equipped with an air distribution system by installing geothermic exchange circuits using drainage tiles. In winter the air that moves through these tiles would gain a few degrees before entering the buildings, thereby reducing heating costs, a real saving during prolonged cold snaps.
In summer, the same drainage tiles would help cool the air and reduce air conditioning costs. This new underground system offers an effective and technically accessible way to save energy. Companies that use it are bound to come out ahead in every way: they save money and reduce their energy use.
Haghighat says the construction industry has experienced growing demand for the use of sustainable techniques. He stresses the government should launch its own initiatives or, at the very least, support efforts that are already being deployed.
When incentive measures are available, companies tend to make use of them.
• Concordia Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Fariborz Haghighat