Anyone familiar with The Muppets and Kermit the frog may remember his most famous song “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Kermit may have been pretty smart, but may have been a little shortsighted about being green. While those of us in commercial construction may not always find it to be the easiest path, going green may ultimately be the best way for commercial builders and property owners in South Florida to remain competitive and profitable.
The Basic Benefits of Green
Money Savings: As we all know, the cost of power will only go up so this is one way to hold the line on this part of the operating budget. Whether new construction or a retrofit, one of the easiest ways to go green is with ENERGY STAR rated appliances. Using theses appliances can save owners and tenants a significant amount of money through reduced energy consumption.
Water is another costly utility. Decreasing the flow by hundreds or thousands of gallons means increased cash flow. Saving money can also be accomplished by installing low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads.
Attracting Environmentally Conscious Buyers and Tenants: Green buildings are the priority list of the new generation of investors and tenants. It is part of an increasing trend that can be a major part of how you build and market your commercial real estate.
Virtually all areas of construction and renovation have green components, including windows and window coverings, lighting, roofing and paved surfaces. Even the selection of certain trees can improve the environment.
A few words of advice, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Make sure to let everyone know that your property is environmentally friendly in the following ways:
- For new construction, make this a part of the business plan and promote it to the trade and the public through PR and advertising campaigns.
- For retrofits, send out a newsletter to customers when the renovations are taking place to ensure that they are aware of the changes in your building.
- Put up signs in bathrooms and other public areas that promote how much water your low-flow fixtures save.
- Use attractive green building materials (like reclaimed wood and recycled glass tile) that will attract attention and promote awareness.
Enhanced Property Values: Sustainable, green construction and renovations help bring commercial buildings into the modern age. As noted above, green buildings make better use of energy, cost less money to maintain and typically make use of the most up to date appliances and fixtures. When it’s time to sell a property, green can maximize return on investment.
Better Health for Tenants and Employees: Nobody wants to live or work in a sick building. The use of natural materials – made with fewer chemicals – are preferred in green renovations. Cotton carpeting, natural paints and floors constructed of clay and brick tile contribute to better air quality, as do more efficient HVAC units.
These measures can help ensure that employees feel more comfortable throughout the day. This can contribute to employee wellness, reduce employee absenteeism and helps employees to stay healthier and happier. Businesses known for providing a superior work environment generally have an easier time recruiting new employees and retaining current ones. And that’s great for everyone!
Leadership in Energy & Environment Design (LEED®) Certification
LEED is the green building certification program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council [https://new.usgbc.org]. It offers a range of certifications (LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold and LEED Platinum.) and is generally considered to be the ultimate authority on building sustainability. As we said, being green can be as simple as following the guidelines noted previously or as rigorous as pursuing LEED Platinum. This is a decision that developers and property owners and contractors must decide for themselves, based on a number of factors, including cost benefit analysis, lifecycle cost analysis, created market value, portfolio impact and technology requirements.
Go Green with GSD Contracting,
GSD Contracting, which has built to LEED Certified and LEED Silver specifications, is prepared to explore all aspects of green building construction. For more about our experience in creating Class A office space, please reach out to discuss your project.