Balcony Sustainability Hub
The increase in urbanisation and economic growth in cities leads to a disproportionate density of the population compared to suburbs and countryside. Having such a concentrated number of people in a small space has a consequence on the environment and the carbon footprint of a city, particularly in buildings with low energy efficiency.
Most notably, a high level of air conditioning in high-rise buildings, due to it being very difficult to ventilate at height. Emissions are only set to increase as environments heat up.
Key challenges to going green:
- Accumulated carbon emissions (driving climate change)
- Biodiversity collapse (the extinction of plan and animal species on the planet)
When we look at carbon, we can break it down into two elements – upfront carbon and operational carbon. Upfront carbon applies to new buildings and is how much carbon is going to be emitted through the creation, operation and end of life of the building. Operational carbon is the carbon produced by materials and refurbishments. Both of these two types of carbon emission need to be considered and balanced when designing a building.
How can we address biodiversity?
For a building to be truly biodiverse, designers need to look at how nature is supported in creating it. Reincorporating native planting onto the site via a green roof or façade is a positive first step. It’s important to encourage nature back to the area, providing food and habitat for the insect population as well as native birds and animals.
Other considerations such as making sure the outdoor lighting is respectful to fauna at night make a difference too. Urban forests and urban gardens can be incorporated, as can local crop regeneration. It’s as simple as letting nature inspire a design, by adding water for instance or letting nature inform the shape of a building.
However, it is important to recognise when not all of this is possible and then to look to an alternative. This can be done by offsetting some of the carbon and biodiversity somewhere else. For many construction companies, however, the practice is to use a green rating tools when they consider the possibility of a green building. However, none of these tools directly recognise biodiversity or carbon footprint.
Sapphire’s Carbon Goals
We have set rigorous carbon goals to increase Glide-On balcony sustainability.
Our Dedication to Sustainability
At Sapphire, we are dedicated to reducing embodied carbon and carbon emissions, improving biodiversity and addressing balcony sustainability. Further to our carbon goals, we are glad to be a member of the Supply Chain Sustainability School.
- Our prefinished balconies dramatically reduce the time spent in construction on-site and cut down on crane time with our Glide-On technology. Prefinished balconies are far more energy-efficient and dramatically reduces the risk of errors leading to a reduction in waste.
- Our aluminium Cassette balcony decks are approximately half the weight of steel making them far more efficient to transport and install. Not only does this cut emissions during transport, but it also means our balconies need fewer brackets to secure them in place. Fewer brackets and connections between the balcony and the buildings reduce the risk of cold bridging and damp, making the building more energy efficient for occupants as well as giving significant cost savings.
- Our balconies are almost entirely recyclable! Thanks to the Glide-On technology balconies can be just as easily removed at the end of their lifespan as they were installed at the beginning. From there, the balconies can be easily disassembled, and the components sent for recycling.
Our commitment to sustainability is underlined by our attainment of the ISO 14001 certification and adherence to the 2015 standards.