Ecological reforms to create sustainable spaces.
Through ecological reforms, we are helping to improve the effects of climate change on the planet. A small drop in the ocean that can become a significant aid as more and more professionals get involved in this type of space renovation work.
Ecological reforms, a drop in the ocean
Simple actions such as turning off the light when it is not needed, using public means of transport or generating less waste are collective actions for improvement which are easy to do. However, the most visible actions for promoting sustainable living are ecological reforms.
The Design World, an cofriendly universe
Both the world of design and that of interior design are amongst the ones most closely linked to the concept of ecological reforms. Ecological reforms are a new way to approach the distribution of spaces and energy infrastructure through efficient means. Moreover, they add a new sensitivity about the use of sustainable materials.
Ecological, sustainable reforms allow for great savings in energy costs and a reduction in CO2 emissions.
As a result, the environmental impact of the spaces on their natural environment is reduced and the materials and resources used for the reform are optimised.
It is essential to replace the harmful materials with other ones which are healthier and eco-friendly at every stage of their life cycle, so that a conventional reform becomes an ecological reform.
Certification labels are a key to sustainable reforms.
When undertaking a space reform for sustainable development, it is best to work with products and materials which are certified with eco labels. There are many types of them depending on the material, purpose of use…
1 Special Wood FSC label
This is an international system of forest certification that promotes environmentally responsible management. This label ensures that the forest is well managed and certified to the end consumer.
2 WFTO Fair Trade Lavel
It is a movement contributing to the sustainable development of the environment. It offers better trade conditions and ensures the rights of marginalised producers and workers, especially in the Southern countries, thus reducing poverty. Fair trade offers wood products for the reform and decoration sector.
3 Building Projects FSC certification
It is designed for works using construction material and/or doors and windows made from FSC certified wood. It is addressed to both public and private owners as managers of construction projects (architects, builders, etc.).
4 Green Building Council Spain environmental certification for buildings
It is a social reference in terms of sustainable building, aimed at empowering the building sector transformation towards the respect of environmental, economic and social values. Its evaluation and certification approach is adapted to the needs in the overall Spanish country and those in each specific geographic area, establishing a total number of six GBCe VERDE certification levels, depending on the value of the impact avoided.
5 LEED certification
A system of voluntary certification for buildings developed by the US Green Building Council (US GBC) on the use of sustainable strategies such as energy efficiency, water consumption, CO2 emissions and environmental impact of the materials used in the construction works. There are 4 certification levels according to the more or less strict compliance with environmental standards: Certificate, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Improve thermal insulation with sustainable materials
One of the most important decisions in this type of work is to ensure improvements in terms of office thermal insulation.
A sustainable solution is the installation of insulation over the existing walls by using lightweight wooden skeleton with pressed cork boards.
This material is indeed abundant in Mediterranean countries and can be as or more than the commonly used polystyrene or polyurethane. Also the rigid panels of recycled wood fibres, and can ensure good levels of acoustic insulation.
Replacement of the existing windows
Taking care of the quality of the windows is essential to optimise the insulation result in a sustainable reform.
They have to include double glazing with an air chamber of at least 10 mm. For better isolation, it is always better to equip the camera with argon or SF6 gas (which also improves acoustic protection).
As for the material of the windows, wood is the most environmentally-friendly, sustainable material that can be used, although this type of windows require special care in their manufacturing and maintenance during its useful life. PVC windows are found to be more sustainable than those in aluminium in terms of energy costs and material recycling.
Replacement of the facilities with healthier, more efficient systems
As the lead found in the existing, older facilities tends to pollute the water, it is convenient to replace it for ensuring healthier installations.
It is important to consider the water saving systems in faucets and in tanks in general. It is also crucial to use of a water-softening device in the house water inlet to protect the interior installation properly.
Another relevant point is to consider the use of efficient air conditioning systems, ideally including the implementation of renewable energies.