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The Green Building Consultant: Expertise and Impact

In the current context of climate change and environmental awareness, the building sector is called upon to play a crucial role. According to the World Economic Forum, the building sector is responsible for 40% of total energy use, 25% of total water use, 40% of resources and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. This sector is at the heart of the challenges of the ecological transition. In this context, the green building consultant is a key player. In this article, we explore why hiring a green building consultant, what a green building consultant is, their role and involvement, and the benefits they bring to construction and renovation projects.


Why hire a green building consultant ? 

In the complex landscape of sustainable construction and renovation, companies face several challenges for which they may not be adequately prepared:

  • Complex environmental standards: Navigating an ever-evolving regulatory framework can be intimidating, especially as standards become increasingly stringent.

  • Lack of Internal resources: Often, companies lack the necessary skills or expertise internally to effectively manage the demands of sustainable construction.

  • Uncertainty about the best approach: Determining the most effective strategies and methods to achieve desired sustainability goals can be complicated without in-depth knowledge of the field.


What is a green building consultant ? 

Definition:

A green building consultant is an expert who intervenes at all stages of a construction project, from design to completion, to ensure the integration of best sustainable strategies. Their primary goal is to minimize the environmental footprint of buildings while maximizing their energy efficiency. A consultant provides objectivity with an impartial perspective, offering better decision-making, analytical skills, and specialized knowledge to make the best choices, and also saves time for project teams!

Objectives:

Reducing Environmental Impact: The consultant aims to reduce the project's greenhouse gas emissions from design to end-of-life. This involves thorough reviews of strategies and choices to reduce energy and water consumption and promote the use of renewable resources with low environmental impact.


Improving Energy Efficiency: Through the design and integration of innovative strategies or technologies, the consultant ensures that buildings consume less energy for heating, cooling, lighting, and other services. This may also involve passive design strategies that leverage natural elements to maintain thermal comfort.


Compliance: The green building consultant plays a crucial role in ensuring that construction projects comply with current regulations and the client's requirements and the chosen green building certification standards such as LEED, BREEAM, EDGE, or local certifications like TREES in Thailand.


Long-term Sustainability: The green building consultant focuses not only on technical and ecological aspects but also on creating structures that are economically viable and socially responsible over the long term.


Responsibilities and tasks

The green building consultant plays a pivotal role in the success of construction or renovation projects. Their main responsibilities include:

  • Preliminary environmental assessment: Before a project begins, the consultant assesses potential environmental impacts to propose mitigating solutions from the design phase according to project requirements.

  • Collaboration with project teams: They work closely with architects, engineers, and builders to ensure that sustainability standards and requirements are met throughout the project.

  • Supervision of sustainable practices integration: The consultant ensures that all stakeholders understand and apply best practices in sustainable construction.

  • Performance monitoring and adjustments: They evaluate building performance and recommend adjustments to optimize energy consumption and minimize environmental impact while ensuring compliance with various project requirements.


To fulfill their responsibilities, a green building consultant must perform specific tasks:

  1. Educate the client on latest technologies and best environmental practices: The consultant provides specialized expertise and up-to-date information on best environmental practices and sustainable technologies. This knowledge allows clients to make informed decisions to maximize energy efficiency and minimize the ecological impact of their projects.

  2. Anticipate project issues and propose solutions: They identify sustainability-related issues that need to be addressed in the project, ensuring that the most significant challenges affecting the building's performance and environmental compliance are tackled.

  3. Conduct a precise project diagnosis: The consultant conducts a comprehensive diagnosis that includes identifying problems, collecting and analyzing relevant information to assess environmental impacts and opportunities for energy efficiency improvement.

  4. Formulate relevant recommendations: Based on the diagnosis, the green building consultant synthesizes findings and makes strategic recommendations to guide the project towards best sustainability practices. These recommendations are based on rigorous analysis and tailored to the specific needs of the project.

  5. Implement strategies: In addition to making recommendations, the consultant is often involved in implementing solutions. This can include assisting in selecting sustainable materials, designing efficient energy systems, and integrating innovative technologies.

  6. Build consensus and commitment within the project: The consultant works to build consensus among all project stakeholders, facilitating engagement around sustainability goals. This includes effectively communicating the benefits of proposals and involving key decision-makers in the implementation process.


Contributions to sustainable construction projects

The green building consultant plays an essential role from the design phase, integrating sustainability strategies that influence all aspects of the project. Their contribution manifests in several ways:


Masterplan and Sustainable Planning

From the beginning, the consultant helps develop a master plan, often called a "Masterplan", which integrates environmental considerations at all stages of development. This plan ensures that the project meets current regulatory requirements, such as Thailand's local building codes and sustainability guidelines, as well as future standards. The consultant can also guide the process of obtaining environmental certifications such as LEED, EDGE, or the Thai green building certification TREES, ensuring the project's compliance with these certification requirements throughout its development. To learn more about our environmental certification services, visit our dedicated webpage here.


Study and Simulation

As part of their mission and based on the established project requirements (local requirements, certification requirements, client requirements), the consultant will implement various models and simulations to evaluate the potential of the recommended strategies and the overall performance of the project. Among these evaluations, the first will be a microclimate analysis, which will determine local conditions such as wind, solar radiation, and rainfall. This information is crucial for defining the optimal building orientation, maximizing its energy efficiency and thermal comfort, and assessing the potential for rainwater harvesting or renewable energy generation, particularly through photovoltaic panels.


Next, the consultant will conduct energy simulations and modeling, considering the choice of materials, the building's thermal mass, and its orientation. These simulations will evaluate the building's energy performance, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, lighting, and any other relevant energy systems based on the project's scope. The objective is to develop solutions that reduce energy consumption while maintaining an optimal indoor environment.


In addition to these studies, the consultant may also propose a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to examine the building's environmental impact throughout its entire life cycle. The LCA helps identify opportunities for sustainable improvement, from material selection to end-of-life.


Education and Training

Finally, the green building consultant acts as an educator, training project teams and clients on best sustainable construction practices and technological innovations. This training is crucial to maintain a high level of ecological awareness and involve all stakeholders in the project's long-term sustainability.


To learn more about our consulting services, visit our dedicated page here.


Benefits of green buildings

In the context of construction and renovation projects, hiring a green building consultant offers decisive advantages. These professionals provide critical expertise in sustainability, which has become indispensable to effectively meet current environmental, economic, and social requirements.


Environmental Benefits

Globally, buildings are by far one of the largest contributors to climate change. They consume about 40% of total energy, 25% of water, 40% of resources, and are responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions according to the World Economic Forum. Thailand intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20-25% from the business-as-usual level by 2030 as part of its international climate commitment under the Paris Agreement. By engaging a green building consultant, you can ensure a minimal environmental footprint through the reduction of CO2 emissions, sustainable resource management, biodiversity preservation, environmental integration, and improved air and water quality. 


Economic Benefits

With a consultant specializing in sustainability, green buildings can generate significant long-term savings. By optimizing the building's energy efficiency, operational energy costs can be reduced by up to 20% according to the World Green Building Council. Additionally, using durable and efficient materials lowers maintenance costs and extends the building's lifespan, reducing overall expenses over time. Contrary to popular belief, the initial costs of sustainable construction are only 0 to 2% higher compared to traditional construction. To learn more about the costs of sustainable construction, visit our dedicated blog here.


Regulatory and Compliance Benefits

With increasingly stringent construction and environmental regulations, the consultant ensures that projects meet all necessary standards. This helps avoid penalties or delays due to non-compliance and gain tax incentives or subsidies for sustainable projects. Moreover, there are numerous environmental certifications for buildings. Hiring a consultant ensures choosing the appropriate certification for your project and achieving it with accredited professionals. The consultant guides the project to ensure compliance with all requirements it faces. To learn more about our certification services, visit this page here.


Brand Enhancement and Social Responsibility

Engaging into green building projects and hiring a green building consultant improves the company's brand image by demonstrating a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. This can attract clients or investors who value sustainability and positively impact the company's reputation.


Conclusion

The green building consultant is essential in transitioning to sustainable construction practices. In Thailand, facing new regulatory requirements and growing sustainability expectations, these experts play a key role in guiding projects not only towards regulatory compliance but also towards sustainable innovation. Their expertise ensures buildings meet current standards and prepare them to face future challenges, ensuring their long-term viability and relevance.


Are you looking to hire a green building consultant for your project? Contact us !


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