An ESA Initiative That Could Revolutionize Green Buildings

When you hear the phrase “environmentally friendly,” what comes to mind? Reusable bags and electric cars, or maybe the recent #trashtag cleaning movement? Whatever your thoughts on it may be, I doubt that thoughts of green, environmentally friendly buildings were among them.

Bravo if they were, though! Recently, the European Space Agency (ESA) has sought to turn these thoughts into reality with their recent initiative, the “Green Buildings” Opportunity

What Makes “Green Buildings?”

Green buildings are designed to have minimal impact on the environment in all their aspects. This includes their design, construction, maintenance, deconstruction, and more. Environmentally responsible projects are always welcome and necessary, but I found myself wondering why it was that a space agency was behind this primarily Earth-focused endeavor. As it turns out, ESA intends to bring more to the table than some reduced gas emissions when it comes to green buildings. With the use of satellite data, ESA takes the phrase “environmentally friendly” to another level.

For green buildings, this data has several indispensable capabilities. Its ability to oversee natural resources would help immensely with building site selection, risk detection and even position planning to increase the building’s usage of natural ventilation.

On top of that, ESA would be able to use the data to monitor neighborhood air quality and identify thermally inefficient buildings that would benefit from renovations. ESA is also including some navigation and communication capabilities, such as tracking the location of various assets.

The ESA was looking for teams with proposals for green buildings that would make use of this satellite data effectively from both a financial and technical perspective. As if such a proposal was not enough, the ESA has stated that any assessments for the production and usage of their green buildings will be funded with up to €200K or $215.6K per activity. This study and opportunity will be open until May 13,  2020.

The Importance of Building Green

To anyone who might be either unfamiliar with the environmental impact that all buildings have or perhaps more focused on larger environmental detriments, I will elaborate on why the ESA’s project is such a crucial step in the right direction: buildings across the globe make up 41% of the world’s energy use, on average.

This accounts for the world’s largest portion of energy consumption. In terms of CO2 emissions, the globe’s buildings account for 38% of all emissions. And with all this considered, we have yet to factor in the impact of building material production, water use, and the total waste generated. Green building plans are a must-have.

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Whether or not they have taken the ESA up on their offer, there are several companies that have already joined the green building bandwagon, and many more that could benefit from it. Google, the giant behind the web search engine and more, also prides itself on multiple environmentally friendly office spaces. “Googleplex,” Google’s main headquarters, derives a third of its electricity usage from its solar panels as well as its café food from the garden they have on-site. Starbucks follows closely behind with water-efficient buildings and plans that strive to include recycled materials as primary building components.

In the Photo: A fitness center awarded for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” Photo Credit: U.S. Airforce

Many companies, however, could serve to benefit both themselves and the environment by enlisting the ESA’s help in their green building plans. Amazon, with its many warehouses, lockers, and masses of two-day shipping orders, drives up the total emission of CO2 immensely.

A statement by UPS claims that Amazon, among other companies, increases mileage and emissions with deliveries that have significantly shorter fulfillment windows.

According to william pitt sotheby’s with over 288 million square feet worth of real estate and packages and other assets in need of tracking, Amazon could benefit from the ESA’s green building opportunity. Their use of satellite data could be instrumental to Amazon’s services while also helping the environment.

Considering both the cost-effectiveness and environmental benefit of green building plans, we are sure to see an increase in companies following suit. It would be in all of our best interest to keep a tab or two on this ESA endeavor, as well as any significant green movements on corporations’ parts.

In the Featured Photo: Solar panels among skyscrapers — Photo Credit: pxfuel.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of 
About the Author /

Carter Root is an English and Psychology student currently studying the latest research of the mental health industry. Outside of his studies, he has a passion for the environment, its wildlife, and cutting-edge breakthroughs in technology and other scientific fields.

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