AKNO Energy: ecosostenibilità energetica

Sustainable architecture and logistics

21 August 2019

The world of sustainable architecture

AKNO constructs buildings for logistics of remarkable quality, as attested by the commercial success of its business parks that are sold to large international investors, but it does not limit itself to constructing aesthetically pleasant, functional and easy to manage facilities. One of our goals, indeed, is to construct buildings in the most sustainable way possible, through the use of all the tools that science and technology make available to us.

To address this topic, it is undoubtedly necessary to first clarify what is meant by sustainable or eco-sustainable architecture and what are the founding principles that inspire it in its concrete implementation.

From the Seventies, the principles of environmentalism have been applied to architecture by a current of thought that developed in Germany that took the name of Baubiologie, or bio-building. In bio-building, the attention to the choice of materials and environmental protection in the construction phases of the building was based on still vague and poorly structured theories, and it was only with the finalisation of the studies on sustainable development by Herman Daly that eco-sustainable architecture took its current form.

Using only renewable energy sources, introducing into the environment only the quantity of pollutants that the environment itself can metabolise and reducing energy consumption in absolute terms are the cardinal principles that animate those who today, like AKNO, intend to create low environmental impact architecture or, in other words, sustainable architecture.

 

Construction site management and choice of materials

There is no doubt that the construction of a building requires a great deal of energy and the use of considerable quantities of building materials of different types. The first commitment to the sustainability of a building, then, can only begin with the planning of the construction site and its management rules.

The LEED protocol (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), by which we are inspired in our work, includes a series of specific measures for the management of a low environmental impact construction site. These are mainly measures aimed at reducing the dispersion in the surrounding environment of the dust produced by the construction or demolition activities and controlling energy consumption.

The impact on the water system is also taken into account, both to avoid erosion or sedimentation due to excavation, and to limit the impact of reflux water on the sewerage system of the municipality in which we operate. We also provide for a series of best practices related to landfill disposal of construction site waste and debris, both in the case of demolition and construction waste.

All the materials used for the construction of the building can be classified according to criteria of sustainability based on a system, named mapping, conceived by the theorists of the LEED certification. The use of LEED mapped materials is a fundamental element for creating a building that is fully sustainable in terms of environmental impact.

The LEED mapping, indeed, takes into account both the production process of the material, from the point of view of raw material and energy consumption, and the environmental impact of the transport and storage phases. In this way, following the principles of sustainable economy, we want to fully assess all the consequences on the environment by deciding to use one building material instead of another.

 

AKNO Energy: energy sustainability

One of the principles of sustainable development, as we have seen, is to encourage the production of energy through renewable sources, combining it with a general reduction in energy consumption. Also in this field of sustainable architecture, AKNO wanted to make its own contribution, creating a specialised division: AKNO Energy.

For us, the idea of using only energy from renewable sources, as far as possible, is realised first of all in constructing buildings that are connected to self-production energy systems, in particular photovoltaic solar panels and biogas systems.

As is common knowledge, a photovoltaic solar panel can transform sunlight into electricity easily and with a significantly reduced environmental impact. For this reason, we at AKNO, install the largest possible number of solar panels on the roofs of our buildings to achieve maximum yield from the point of view of the production of clean energy.

Biogas systems, instead, produce a gaseous fuel mixture, composed largely of methane, by means of the fermentation process of biological material made by some bacteria, called digesters, in closed environments, kept at a suitable temperature. The material that is fermented can come from different sources: mainly urban waste, scraps of agriculture or byproducts of farms. 

It is therefore possible to create, according to the geographical areas in which the building is constructed, a system for the production of biogas able to use the type of biological material that the area makes available, depending on the activities in the area. This will result in a fuel obtained with waste that should be disposed of via other means and with a low transport cost, further improving the performance of this type of system in terms of environmental impact

The biogas, moreover, can be used both to generate electricity by means of a motor and an alternator, and to produce the heat required for heating the building.

 

 Environmental protection and savings

Constructing a building according to the criteria of sustainable architecture also means ensuring that its energy consumption is as low as possible, to have a limited impact on the environment both from the point of view of the withdrawal of  resources, and from the issue of polluting substances.

To achieve this, AKNO builds glass roofs to decrease the resort to artificial lighting and thermal break windows to cut energy consumption for heating and cooling. With the same philosophy, moreover, there are systems for rainwater recovery or systems for automatically switching off lights in rooms not occupied by anyone.

Obviously, these are measures to safeguard the environment, but it cannot be overlooked the fact that owning a building that consumes little power means also making considerable savings in management costs. AKNO, therefore, not only offers functional buildings, made with quality technologies and with a reduced environmental impact, but it is also able to guarantee low management costs for energy supply.