One thing you should know about me is that I come from a family of mental health professionals. Here’s my story.
My grandfather worked primarily as a psychiatrist for decades; then, my mother decided to become a psychologist. It was during her primary training that she met my father, who was also a psychiatrist. So, when it was time for me to choose my career, I decided to become the first counselor in the family. I would say that it was the best decision in my life.
Apart from the fact that the world needs more counselors as a priority, my family already established a small mental health hospital in town. People from other cities would flock to our facility to receive sustainable mental health treatments. Medical hospitals would also recommend patients to us continuously. From a sustainable business perspective, it was booming.
Since the primary facility was a little outdated, it incurred a lot of damages when a terrible hurricane came. First came the flood, which went up to our thighs. We thought that that was it primarily, but then the roof caved in, and the windows shattered. After a bit of discussion with my parents, we thought it was high time for a significant renovation for more sustainability. It would be easier to set up tents outside of it anyway than to accommodate our primary patients in a broken-down facility.
“Green buildings can not only reduce or eliminate negative impacts on the environment, by using less water, energy or natural resources, but they can – in many cases – have a positive impact on the environment (at the building or city scales) by generating their own energy or increasing biodiversity.”
first Securing Sustainability Before Any Renovation bEGINS
Despite being successful in their fields, my parents remained as frugal as they could be. The first thing they told me before the sustainability renovation even happened was to prioritize finding the cheapest contractor. “We just need a new roof and some new windows, and that’s it,” they said. However, I begged to disagree primarily.
The reality that some older people may not see was that buildings in the past were not built with sustainability in mind. For example, we still used a lot of electricity because everything was closed in, and it was so hot in every room. The floors were not sealed and waterproofed either, so when the water rushed into the facility, the tiled floors went beyond repair. It was a long discussion, but I finally got my parents to find a contractor who prioritized sustainability during the sustainability renovation process.
Sustainable construction means working with inexhaustible/renewable and recyclable assets and materials. During sustainability building projects, care should be taken to lessen waste and energy utilization where conceivable and secure the natural habitat around the site. The outcome of a sustainable development project should be harmless to the ecosystem.
There is an insight that sustainable construction is costly, which can cause it to appear to be the less appealing choice. However, the World Green Building Council’s 2018 report shows that in spite of the fact that cost stays a worry, proprietors of green buildings report that cash is saved through decreased working costs on account of the sustainable materials utilized.
Let’s Look For A Resilience Building Contractor
I could tell you how challenging it was to find a contractor who advocates for sustainability. Of course, although more and more people wanted to have eco-friendly homes and buildings, there were still many more who wanted to save on construction expenses, so that’s who they cater to. But when I finally found one, I was over the moon about everything they wanted to do with our facility.
For one, the contractor wanted to replace the ceramic tiles on the floor with solid wood. They knew a place that sold reclaimed solid wood panels, so it would be like recycling better materials, which I loved. We just needed to decide on the colors in times of war, and that was it.
Another thing that the contractor mentioned was using bigger windows. The old design of our facility barely had any windows because mental health was technically taboo for decades. However, since society accepts the subject more now than ever, it may be ideal for adding more windows that would allow the light to come into every room. Of course, they would still be one-way windows to follow our confidentiality promise to our clients, but it might help more than bother them if they could see the outside world.
The contractor and I also talked about using solar panels for the entire building. I found this ideal sustainability, considering we did not need electricity in the facility 24/7. My parents tried to say no to this because those were technically expensive, but we would not need to pay another dime to an electric company in the long run. The latter thankfully won them over, so we got solar panels.
Handling A Sustainable Priority
The unique idea that my contractor presented had a garden roof. Instead of the regular galvanized iron, they would fill the entire roof with grass and plants. Everyone could go up and relax there while waiting for their turn. More importantly, it could provide enough fresh air and shade, so we might not need air conditioners too much.
Final Thoughts And Takeaway
With all the renovations happening at once, I was surprised when the contractor pointed out that four months already passed since the hurricane devastated our facility. I honestly forgot that that was the sole reason why my parents agreed on renovating our small mental health hospital anyway. The process fascinated me so much that it felt like we were doing it as an improvement, not as a necessity.
Well, I would have to backtrack on the latter statement. Given how much our climate changed over the years, it’s necessary to prioritize making sustainable homes and facilities. For instance, we would not be burning as much fossil fuel with the solar panels installed as before. We could even plant fruits and vegetables on the garden roof to avoid buying plastic-covered fresh produce in the markets. Also, we would no longer need to rely on air conditioning units too much because the facility would be well-ventilated.
It was a win, for sure.
- Why do we prioritize sustainability?
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