Making commercial buildings more sustainable
Today’s business owners have shown increasing interest in sustainability. When browsing for an office space, they’ll often prioritize buildings with eco-friendly features, high energy efficiency and similar attributes. It’s more than a passing trend but a significant pattern that investors need to acknowledge.
Of course, this buzz around sustainability is nothing new. The environment is often the subject of public discourse, and many people have adopted an eco-conscious lifestyle. They’ve reduced their consumption, moved away from wasteful practices and purchased eco-friendly alternatives over harmful products.
It’s only natural that business owners would demonstrate many of these same qualities. They’ve seen the consequences of wasteful perspectives and they want to participate in the solution, not the problem. A green office space represents an appealing way to embrace their corporate social responsibility.
That said, environmental protection isn’t the only motivation of commercial tenants. A sustainable workspace has a wide range of benefits, and business owners cite a variety of reasons for “going green.” So what are those reasons, and how can you attract tenants with an eco-conscious mindset?
The Appeal of a Green Commercial Building
Tenants will often seek out eco-friendly properties to reduce their expenses. The elements of a green office space — efficient windows, smart lighting, etc. — allow them to save money on their energy bills. These business owners are more focused on their bottom line than the environmental benefits of the changes.
Other tenants are interested in the health benefits of a green office space. The purifying properties of houseplants can improve air quality, and natural light is far superior to the standard bulbs you’d find in a commercial building. These features have a positive effect on employee satisfaction and productivity.
As mentioned earlier, some business owners view their eco-friendly space as a way to embrace their corporate social responsibility. They want to prove to their employees and the general public that they’re dedicated to environmental conservation. A sustainable workspace is a reflection of green values.
More than that, consumers will often choose brands that engage in eco-friendly practices. An online survey of nearly 30,000 people supports this idea, with over 60 percent of respondents claiming they gravitate toward businesses with a commitment to reducing plastics and improving the environment.
So how can you “green” your commercial properties?
Upgrades for Commercial Buildings
If you’re interested in eco-friendly solutions for your properties, you’re not alone. Estimates show that commercial building owners and managers will invest a projected $960 billion globally on “greening” their existing built infrastructure between 2015 and 2023. So what features have they prioritized?
According to research, the main areas of focus are energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting, plumbing fixtures and windows. Clearly, you have no shortage of options when planning your upgrades. You can approach your eco-friendly renovations in a number of different ways.
You could start with something small, replacing any incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs. You might see the appeal in low-flow faucet aerators, insulated metal panels or even a renewable energy system. It depends on the limitations of your budget and how much you’re willing to spend.
It’s important to note, however, that you don’t need to upgrade your building with an entirely new system to improve your energy efficiency. You could potentially reduce a building’s energy consumption just by repairing or replacing outdated features, retrofitting the property to meet modern standards.
For example, sealing a commercial roof can help secure the building envelope and manage leaks that crop up over time. Similarly, older windows can be upgraded with modern replacements that both cut down on energy loss and potentially regulate light, such as Kinestral Technologies’ smart-tinting glass. And of course, property owners can check in on their current HVAC systems and prioritize any repairs or upgrades that can bring a commercial building into the twenty-first century.
Keeping a Commercial Building Green and Competitive
With the solutions in the previous section, you’ll effectively capitalize on sustainability. Whether you choose to invest in efficient windows, smart lighting, a renewable energy system or a similar product, you can feel confident in the present and future success of your properties. Then again, it isn’t that simple.
You may not have the flexibility to spend freely on renovations. The restrictions of your budget may feel like an obstacle, but that’s okay. You can seek assistance from the federal government, enjoying tax credits that reduce the cost of installation on a variety of systems from solar panels to small wind turbines.
In short, renewable energy isn’t as inaccessible as you may think. It’s possible to upgrade your property without overspending, as long as you take advantage of all of your available resources. With that in mind, evaluate your options and give thought to your future goals.
Written by: Holly Welles, BOSS Contributor
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.