A concern for the environment is placing pressure on businesses in every industry to develop sustainable practices. For property managers, environmentally-friendly services and programs are a way to improve tenant satisfaction and reduce expenses.
Green buildings offer several advantages for businesses. In addition to improving their reputations as responsible organizations, the improvements reduce water consumption, energy use and operating costs. LEED certification and other initiatives increase property values and let building managers charge a premium for rent.
“Tenants and owners care about green living practices and are increasingly choosing to live and work in buildings that support their ideals,” Scott Thayer of Ankrom Moisan Architects told Sustainable Business Oregon. “We are seeing more and more clients that are interested in sustainability more broadly, not just LEED certification.”
In fact, the desire for more sustainable business plans is leading to a rise in the number of LEED-certified architects within the U.S. LEED is considered to be the leading standard for energy and environmental design in commercial buildings and is overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council.
What can commercial real estate businesses do to help push the “Go Green” movement forward? The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International released their top 10 suggestions for the cause. They are:
- Measure and Manage. Benchmark energy and water consumption.
- Audit Yourself. Perform regular energy audits to identify opportunities for cost-effective energy reductions. Remember to perform midnight evaluations to make sure lighting and HVAC aren’t running when the building is unoccupied.
- Get the Word Out. Institute a Tenant Energy Awareness Program – use your company newsletter and/or building announcements to keep tenants informed about energy management goals and how they can help. Provide them with energy savings tips.
- Become Enlightened. Replace incandescent lights with CFLs, which use less energy, have a longer lamp life and produce less heat.
- Go Low Flow. Install low-flow/flush fixtures and hands-free fixtures in restrooms.
- Don’t Forget Electronics. Hold an e-waste day and collect old printers, computers and electronics for recycling.
- Use Sensors. Install occupancy sensors and photo sensors that monitor daylight. Occupancy sensors also work for HVAC controls.
- Be Shady. Install solar shades to block heat.
- Encourage Eco-Friendly Transportation. Install bicycle racks and electronic vehicle chargers.
- Improve IAQ. Use high-efficiency HVAC filters – and change them often. Use low-VOC paints, sealants and adhesives for building improvements.