Bill Gates recently shared his thoughts on why buildings are bad for the climate, and steps that we can take to improve buildings’ environmental sustainability. As the population continuously increases, urban areas will continue to grow, and thus so will the construction of large buildings. In fact, by 2060, the world will add 2 trillion square feet of buildings. To put that into perspective, that’s equivalent to building an entire New York City every month for 40 years according to Bill Gates’ article. Although this is beneficial for city-dwellers in that they often have access to better job opportunities and healthcare, buildings harm the climate.
How Do Buildings Impact the Climate?
Buildings release greenhouse gasses in two different ways. First, during construction, the production of building materials like steel and concrete releases greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, there is currently no way we can create those materials without releasing greenhouse gases. Another way that buildings release greenhouse gases is simply the way they are operated. Through the use of electricity and fossil fuels such as oil and gas, buildings negatively impact the climate with their carbon emissions. We typically think of lights, ovens, and refrigerators causing the most damage. However, heating and cooling units use the most energy!
How A/C Units Impact the Climate
According to Bill Gates, air conditioners use the most energy in households and commercial spaces. Currently, there are 1.6 million A/C units in use, with a projected 5 billion being used by 2050. This cycle will continue to grow as the temperature gets warmer, the population gets bigger and wealthier, and people continue to run their air conditioning — which in turn causes the climate to get warmer. In addition to the excessive use of energy, air conditioning units also release F-gases. F-gases can cause more global warming than carbon dioxide! Additionally, some heating systems use fossil fuels like gas and oil, and some systems use electricity. It is important that the world begins shifting toward heating powered by electricity to reduce the use of limited fossil fuels.
Steps to Improve Buildings
There are multiple technologies and government policies that can help to improve the energy use and efficiency of buildings. In fact, window film can be a key player in moderating the temperature in a building to reduce the energy usage of heating and cooling systems. Additionally, the government can set energy efficiency standards for buildings and helps to get efficient A/C systems to the market. Through Energy Star ratings, they encourage A/C units and heaters to become more energy efficient. There are a variety of other ideas in the works, such as strengthening building codes to ensure they are built with low-carbon materials. Through increased technology, hopefully, the world can work to increase the energy efficiency of our buildings.
How Can Window Film Help?
We can take a step towards energy efficiency by installing window film into our homes and commercial spaces. Window film can help enhance occupant comfort by mitigating heat, UV radiation, and glare. While we want to allow natural light into our spaces, the direct light can cause hot spots that force your A/C unit to make up for the temperature difference. Window film can help to prevent up 78% of the sun’s heat from passing through your windows. This reduces the amount of work your air conditioning has to do. Consequently, this also reduces energy costs! Not only does window film help keep temperatures cool in the summer, but it will also help to retain heat in the winter!
If you have any questions about your window film installation, please give us a call at (302) 456-3456. If you’re interested in a new window film installation, feel free to reach out and request your free quote from Professional Window Tinting! In addition to commercial and residential films, we also provide auto window tinting (Delaware location only).