No one really likes to talk about it, but there are hidden dangers of going green at your business. The materials and technologies used can fail. And the added weight of natural materials like soil can cause collapse. Further, hazards such as water and fire are increased.
Cycling to Work Increases Risk on the Road
One of the simplest and most effective to encourage a green business is to reduce the use of cars. You can switch to electric vehicles, incentivize carpooling and buy bikes for your employees. However, there is a relative lack of safety on a bike over a covered vehicle like a car. A reputable bicycle accident lawyer can help your employees should a situation arise. But you can also educate your staff to avoid becoming one of the 35,000 incidents per year.
Solar Panels Hide Dangers of Going Green
Solar panels are prone to electrical fires because they were not built or put together properly. Panels are often made with flammable plastic on the back. When they are placed on rooftops, other flammable debris can get stuck between the roof and the back of the panels, making it more likely that a fire will start on the roof. In places where wildfires are common, it is especially important to keep the area around and behind the panels clean and clear.
Insulation is Highly Flammable
New buildings often use insulation for both efficiency and aesthetic reasons. But recent studies and events have proven many insulation materials to be highly flammable, as with Grenfell Tower. An adequate sprinkler system will help. But the best way to avoid these risks is to use materials that are certified to meet flammability requirements. It’s also best to use materials that have been tested in multiple possible fire scenarios and passed all the necessary checks.
Green Roofs Can Become Unstable
Green roofs are an excellent way to provide your employees with a lovely space to relax and contribute to environmental awareness. But they require specialist design and expert maintenance. Because of this, there are some hidden dangers of green roofs, such as:
- Soil can become waterlogged following a heavy downpour of rain.
- Rooftop wind speed and force places much greater stress than at ground level.
- Dry plants used in decoration pose a much greater fire risk when the sun is intense.
- A poor drainage system will cause multiple problems to a building’s structure.
- Fertilizer products pose a health risk to anyone around them.
A review should always be done by a third party to check your green roof for dangers. Otherwise, the associated risks mentioned will become worse over time. And given the elevated nature of your green roof, any issues will essentially trickle down to the rest of the building.
Wind Turbines are Unstable
Hundreds of wind turbines per year collapse all over the world. Older designs are more prone to this. Yet even modern designs are vulnerable if not configured and maintained correctly. Strong winds are typically the leading cause of an unstable turbine. But problems can begin in the manufacturing stages. Larger turbines also need good lightning protection and ways to stop liquid fires from starting in the generator nacelle in the control hub at the base of the turbine.
Dangers of Going Green Include Woodscrapers
Recently, architects have started coming up with a number of ideas that use compressed laminated wood. Some of these buildings are called “woodscrapers.” They are relatively safe, and the larger pieces of wood tend to char instead of burn. This helps secure some of their structural integrity. However, if the materials and glues used in assembly aren’t suitable, the timbers can come apart. In turn, this helps fuel fire and makes them less fire resistant.
You Might Face LEED Lawsuits
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the green building rating system that is used for most projects. LEED sets out rigorous controls your business must meet to earn a certification. However, there is no rigid structure. And green buildings are subject to changing business codes and mandates that could put you in a bad position relating to liability. You can also be sued if it doesn’t meet the LEED requirements resulting in loss of grants and tax credits.
The dangers of going green at your business are relatively hidden, and you might not think of them at first. For instance, the chances of a cycling incident are likely if you encourage employees to bike to work. Additionally, things like green roofs can add more weight to a building, with the potential for collapse if not managed properly. And you can even face lawsuits by LEED regulators for not maintaining or keeping up with changing codes.