Green Building in Self-Storage: Sustainability and Environmentally Friendly Options

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The additional costs are typically administrative, including extra paperwork and outside consultants to facilitate the process. Plus, developers may also hire a third-party person to confirm the LEED process is completed correctly. “It’s a learning curve, and there’s a lot of management and record-keeping,” says Plunkett, who also stresses it’s important to understand the difference between green building and LEED certification. Being green—using sustainable products, recycling, etc.—is much easier than employing LEED building, which has criteria that must be followed to achieve certification (see “A LEEDs Case Study,” page 106).

Another self-storage developer has discovered a simple way to incorporate green into buildings. American Builders Co. converted the company’s paint systems in May 2007 to cool-pigment systems. “They reflect heat back into the atmosphere, which reduces the heat-island affect. It also keeps the unit cool,” says Wes Brooker, vice president of marketing for the Eufaula, Ala., company.

What You Can Do

When building a new self-storage—or even remodeling an older facility—there are a number green steps you can take. For instance, when installing new products, look for energy-efficient ones, including air conditioning units and lighting.

Another easy way to be green-friendly is being cognizant of not wasting material when building. “You also want to recycle as much of your waste as possible,” Plunkett says.

Artistic Builders places different types of containers at every jobsite to separate recyclable materials, such as metal, cardboard, wood carve and concrete. Recycled concrete can be grinded and used on roads and streets, Plunkett notes. You an also make money by recycling scrap metal. “Why throw that in a landfill when, with just a little more effort, you can actually make a few bucks and save natural resources,” he says.

Foam-panel walls in facilities with climate control save energy and, over time, could be a superior product, Brooker says. “The difference between a fiberglass wall and foam-panel insulation might cost you another 5 percent, but it’s going to pay for itself quickly.”

White-painted roofs are another way to keep buildings cooler. “Even if it’s not climate controlled, a white roof is going to cut down on the heat in those units,” Brooker says. If using a different color, opt for cool paint.

Another breakthrough is humidity control. “It can save you another 20 [percent] or 30 percent in energy costs because you’re not cooling damp air,” Brooker says.

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