6 Reasons Commercial Real Estate Owners Are Going Green
Posted by Gary Ashton on Monday, January 10th, 2022 at 9:20am.
Sustainable construction and remodeling have gone mainstream. Green buildings are no longer futuristic or experimental. Today's green practices – using energy efficiently, reducing waste, considering the building's impact on the environment – aren't just for homes. Commercial real estate owners are getting in on the trend, and there are plenty of good reasons why. Keep reading to learn why so many Nashville commercial real estate investors are switching to more sustainable practices.
Why Should a Commercial Building Owner Go Green?
A green commercial building conserves energy and water, enables reuse and recycling, incorporates sustainable materials, and avoids toxic products. It does its part to make the world's air and water healthier. But opting for a green building is more than a "feel good" decision. Here are six practical reasons Nashville commercial business owners are choosing sustainability.
Save Energy and Water Costs
Extra dollars in their pockets may be the top reason property owners go green. While some small businesses use solar to get ahead, there are simpler green practices that can save you money. Upgrading appliances, improving building insulation, sealing ducts, and installing low-flow plumbing fixtures can cut utility bills by more than the initial expense.
Increase Property Values
Buyers and investors look favorably at sustainable buildings. If utility costs are low for the present owner, they'll be low for future owners. The building will be move-in ready.
When it's time to prepare your commercial property for sale, a green building will command a premium over an outdated one. Even if the owner keeps the building, they'll have a more valuable asset to support borrowing and expansion.
More and more customers look for eco-friendly businesses when deciding where to spend their money. When business owners cite sustainable steps they've taken, they put themselves on the shortlist of a large segment of their target market.
Promote Health and Safety
Most commercial property owners are genuinely concerned about the well-being of the people in their buildings, whether they're their employees, employees of a tenant, or customers who visit the premises.
Green buildings use fewer unhealthy chemicals. They promote improved air quality. They help employees feel more comfortable, and they'll help secure a reputation for the owner or tenants as an employer who cares about their people; businesses that take care of personnel have an edge in recruiting and retention.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a program under the aegis of the US Green Building Council. It's a point system for rating how energy efficient a building is, and there are different levels of LEED certification for specific scores. LEED certification is recognized as an achievement in the real estate industry and makes buildings more attractive to tenants and potential buyers.
Business Leadership and Expectations
It's becoming more and more the expectation that businesses will do what they can to keep their communities clean and healthy. Green buildings are becoming a fact of life. In 2020, Mayor Cooper signed a measure that updates Nashville's building codes and energy standards in a move toward sustainability. There is going to be more of this bar setting and not less.
There's no reason to delay green improvements until they're required. The businesses that blaze the trail in green practices will be seen as leaders in the community. Healthy businesses and healthy buildings thrive in a healthy community. These days, people are looking for businesses to take responsibility for their impact on the environment and do what they can to make that impact a positive one.
How Can a Commercial Building Go Green?
Going green can mean anything from installing solar panels to fixing all the leaks in the plumbing systems. Here are some steps a commercial business owner might take.
- Schedule an energy audit. Here's a great place to start for those who don't know what to do first. Utility companies or environmentally concerned agencies might offer these audits. They'll point out what areas offer the most significant impact for the invested dollars.
- Upgrade HVAC. This includes replacing aging furnaces and ACs with energy-efficient models. Also, consider upgrading water heaters and appliances to ENERGY STAR units. Think about more efficient non-traditional heating systems such as chiller boilers, which use water to generate radiant heat.
- Solar and passive solar. It doesn't take an array of solar panels to make better use of the sun, although that's a great way to do it. Passive solar buildings have large south-facing windows and interior "thermal mass" – examples are concrete, brick, tile, and stone – that absorb solar heat, which is then supplied to different building areas.
- Low-use water fixtures. Reduced-flow toilets and faucets slash water usage. Dual plumbing systems segregate water for drinking and washing from reclaimed water suitable for toilet plumbing and irrigation.
- LED lighting. Efficient LED lightbulbs not only cut electricity use by up to 75 percent but save labor in a large building because the lights are changed less frequently.
- Outside greenery. Trees and roof gardens help insulate, provide shade, and reduce heating costs. It also absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen.
- Advertising. No, that doesn't make a building greener. However, the owner who has made sustainability upgrades has every right to tell the community about it. Owners can mention green practices in newsletters and advertising. They can put up bathroom signs stating how much the new fixtures save.
Going Green: Good for the Environment and Good for Business
The arguments for making a building green can be summed up in a nutshell: it improves a business owner's profitability and is a plus for the community and the world. That's a winning formula every commercial building owner can get behind.
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