More new companies are embracing sustainability when choosing an office.
Green building trends grow in popularity every year. As one of the fastest-growing industries in existence, it only makes sense that tech companies would look to how they can reduce stress on the environment and make the buildings they work in greener. One report indicated that tech leases dominate real estate, taking about 42 percent of the square footage leased in top cities in North America. Just to get a handle on how much space that is, it’s double what the financial industry takes up.
There are many reasons to go green with your startup. Here are a few:
Millennials Prefer Green Companies
The global tech market should grow by another four percent this year into a $3 trillion industry. Tech startups are on the rise globally. In the UK, new tech companies rose by 60 percent. That translates to a lot of competition in the tech sector. Not only are you competing against other startups, but you’re also in competition with the large tech companies. Anything you can do to connect with your customers and encourage them to choose you makes a difference.
If you want to reach millennials, for example, sustainability is an essential factor. The younger generation drives companies to embrace greener practices. About three out of every four millennials state they are willing to pay more to do business with sustainable companies.
Saving Money on Energy Costs
When you’re starting up, it’s a good time to look at future practices that will save your company money over time. Start off in the direction you intend to go. Seeking out alternative energy sources and installing more efficient lights and appliances make a difference in the amount of money your company spends on energy.
Even small changes can save money over time. For example, a green building may provide plenty of natural light and reduce the need for artificial lighting. Tech companies tend to already be on the cutting edge of what’s most modern and current, so it’s a natural fit to seek out new practices in green building technology.
Recommission an Older Building
Commercial real estate is difficult to find in high-demand areas. One option is to take an older building and recommission it into office space for your tech startup. However, you should conduct a complete audit and figure out how to make the building more energy efficient. For example, you might recommission the HVAC system, checking for functionality and replacing anything that doesn’t work. While you’re at it, inquire about a more energy-friendly unit.
Remodeling an older building allows you to use fewer raw materials than it would take to build a brand-new building. Revamp the space with green systems.
Environmentally Friendly Practices
A number of companies are actually clean tech companies, meaning they not only practice eco-friendly operations, but also produce goods or services that help others be more environmentally conscious.
One example of such a company is Indow Windows, which makes interior storm windows that help reduce energy lost in the home for those with single-pane windows. The demand for green buildings has driven the growth of such green tech startups, particularly in areas such as Silicon Valley, where people are committed to living a green lifestyle.
Fortunately for tech startups looking to embrace the green building trend, there are many construction companies committed to using only sustainable materials and buying from manufacturers who use eco-friendly practices that don’t pollute the environment.
There are tax credits and rebates at both the federal and state levels for companies that are strong in their approach to create a sustainable business. Pull up the profile for any state and you’ll find there are financial incentives such as loan programs at a reduced rate, grants, rebates and tax deductions. Planning for these tax breaks may make the difference in whether your startup is profitable or not at the end of the first year. Incentives give you a little buffer to help with building improvements or green upgrades.
In a study on public health, researchers found that green-certified buildings improved employee decision-making and daily performance. Those working in green buildings had 26 percent higher cognitive function and 30 percent fewer incidences of what’s come to be known as “sick building syndrome.”
It makes sense that these workers would naturally be more productive. Companies everywhere, and particularly smaller startups, realize the importance of healthy employees. Green buildings are just one part of the equation for happier and healthier workers.
Greener Buildings Growing in Popularity
More and more businesses embrace green buildings, but this is more readily apparent in the tech sector because of the rapid growth of the industry. Using sustainable materials and reducing their carbon footprint allows tech startups to reach new customers who are more environmentally minded. It also allows companies to save money on recurring energy costs.
Written by: Holly Welles
Holly Welles is a real estate writer who covers the latest market trends in everything from residential to commercial spaces. She is the editor behind her own blog, The Estate Update, and curates more advice on Twitter.