Commercial Energy

Why should property owners consider going green?

Though the concept of “green” buildings has been around for 50 years, more property owners have started answering the question of ‘Should you go green’ with a resounding ‘Yes’ in recent years. Green building certifications, reduction in energy and water costs and widespread availability of inexpensive green materials have driven this surge in demand.

Today, green buildings look and function like traditional buildings, but they do so with better efficiency and less of an impact on the environment. Also, while green homes and businesses used to cost significantly more than those built using traditional methods, that’s not always the case these days. In fact, some green building methods are less expensive and take less time than the alternative.

Five Benefits of Going Green

There are several compelling reasons to consider a going green, including reasons you may not have thought of before. For example:

Green buildings require less maintenance

Green materials tend to last longer than non-green alternatives, so buildings utilizing sustainable materials degrade slower. It does depend on the materials you choose, but some of the longest-lived buildings in the world are made from simple, natural materials.

Green buildings are in demand

According to the World Green Building Trends 2016 Smart Market Report, the typical green building is worth seven percent more than a similar alternative. Other studies have also noted a boost in market value, and as green buildings are rising in popularity, it’s likely that this market advantage will only grow with time.

Green buildings are quieter and brighter inside

To minimize lighting costs, green buildings are designed with larger and better positioned windows to allow natural light to wash through the interior. People tend to be more productive and happier if exposed to natural light more often, so it’s always nice to have.

Minimizing noise isn’t the primary focus of green buildings, but most green insulation products also have strong acoustical qualities, which means outside noise is dampened before it makes it inside.

Green buildings offer unparalleled energy and water efficiency

Efficiency is a critical word when discussing going green, as green structures use less material, less electricity and less water than other buildings. Contractors that specialize in green building can achieve this efficiency with enhanced insulation and ductwork, more efficient HVAC technology, more efficient appliances, better lighting and better seals around windows and doors.

Better water efficiency is possible with lower flow sinks and showers, more efficient toilets and better irrigation and stormwater systems. Together, greater energy and water efficiency leads to lower utility bills and less impact on the environment.

Green buildings are healthier and more comfortable

Green buildings are designed with features that allow for better ventilation and better insulation, so it’s much easier to control the climate inside. For example, some green buildings are constructed with a central exhaust point and a single fan that ventilates the entire house at once. This draws outside air in at a faster rate, leading to more consistent airflow.

Green builders also avoid high VOC (volatile organic compounds) materials and paints during construction, which means better air quality. Green building techniques also prioritize mold prevention and non-toxic pest control, which also enhances air quality.

Together, improved ventilation and fewer airborne contaminants mean better comfort and better health.

It also goes without saying that green buildings are environmentally friendly, but not just because they are energy and water efficient. When constructing a green building, the build process prioritizes material efficiency as well. This is done with more efficient build processes and through the use of recycled and reclaimed materials. For example, some green homes utilize recycled newsprint for insulation, which keeps more than a thousand tons of paper from ending up in the dump every year.

How can property owners get the most from going green?

When constructed properly, green buildings are an attractive choice for property owners, but “properly” is the key word. To ensure the property is giving you the most value for your dollar, consider the following during your build project:

Prioritize your green objectives during the planning process

It’s highly recommended that you integrate any green building initiatives as early as possible. If introduced during the planning phase, it will be much easier for build teams to accommodate your green specifications. Further, you’ll have more options if you start early, so that’s more opportunities to enhance efficiency.

Put together a cost and benefit analysis before beginning the build

All build projects are complex undertakings, and without a cost/benefit analysis of every addition or feature, it’s impossible to know what value you’re getting where. This is especially true of green building projects, where there are defined efficiency and waste reduction goals in place. With a cost/benefit analysis, you’ll know what green features are worth adding in, and which ones are cost prohibitive.

Consider adding some smart technologies to your buildings

The last 10 years have seen incredible improvements in technologies, including smart thermostats and smart lighting. These technologies are ideal for efficiency-minded people because they can be programmed more precisely and even “learn” when to raise or lower the temperature, and when to shut lights on or off. In effect, they are only in use when needed, cutting waste significantly.

Work with nature to get more from your building

Not all of the building’s features need to be inside. With clever landscaping and use of mature trees, it will be easier to control thermal gain into the building and help with drainage.

Consider a rainwater harvesting system

Although rainwater harvesting isn’t allowed everywhere, it is in the Houston area, and it can be an easy way to save on treated water usage. Rainwater harvesting systems collect water passively and can be tied to sprinklers for landscape irrigation, for example.

Choose your building materials carefully

If you’re going green, you’ll have plenty of choices to make when it comes to building materials. These decisions matter because some materials offer better insulation, some are safer and healthier, some are more durable, and so on.

Going green may not be for everyone, but it is far more mainstream now, compared to just a decade ago. That’s because it’s not just about environmental consciousness. Going green also offers long term cost savings, enhanced building durability and a healthier, happier place to live or work in.