The benefits of sustainable buildings go well beyond the financial


Investing in a green office building proves to be a growing trend in the business culture today. Focus has shifted from viewing a building as a necessary place to perform work to understanding the environmental impact of the structure and the way it operates.

Also known as sustainable buildings, green buildings are defined as a structure and process that are environmentally responsible from location and construction to use and demolition.

Going green to save some green

The appeal of green buildings started with the benefit of savings for companies utilizing them. Engineers design these buildings to require less water and energy than their older counterparts.  Reducing the structure’s use of energy resources significantly reduces the companies operating costs.

As an added bonus, by enabling buildings to do more with less, utility companies can operate within their original capacity. They don’t incur the cost of expansion, so the cost is not passed along to customers.

In addition to monthly utility savings, organizations may see tax savings. Several federal tax incentives exist to aid companies in starting the green building process. Check the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2008 for starters. Often, state and local governments also provide tax incentives to build or purchase green buildings in their jurisdiction.

While most people immediately think of the savings associated with decreased utilization in sustainable buildings, other benefits also exist.

A green boost to your property values

It shouldn’t really be too surprising to hear that in today’s world, businesses and individuals alike put a lot of value on sustainability.

Green buildings commonly see lower vacancy rates than other contemporary buildings. Occupants look for buildings that lower their utility cost significantly, and this factor can often be the tipping point in their decision.

Renters see the value of being environmentally responsible, as well as the cost savings to them. Sometimes, they are even willing to pay higher rent for a structure that will provide these benefits.

Bottom line: building a green building increases your property value. Most likely, you will eventually sell your building for one of a variety of reasons. Your organization may outgrow the space, you may decide to relocate, or you may sale the entire business.

Whatever the reason, a green building will result in a higher resale value. Not only that, but the cost to upgrade to features of a sustainable building often cost less than expected. In fact, typically, more is spent to enhance the appearance of a building than to implement green qualities.

The human element

As more organizations occupy sustainable buildings, additional benefits are discovered.

A major part of the environmentally responsible viewpoint includes the human aspect. After all, we are part of the environment and groups are now looking at how man-made objects affect the people who use them.

Studies have been conducted recently on the health benefits to employees working in green buildings. These studies linked air quality to performance.

The EPA estimates that indoor air pollution can be to two to five times worse than outdoor air. While in higher quality air, employees performed considerably better than when they breathed in normal air polluted by indoor toxins.

Employees working in green buildings also show improved attendance and better productivity than their counterparts in non-green buildings.

In addition to healthier, better performing employees, sustainable buildings appeal to customers. Many utilize natural light and have seen up to forty percent higher sales due to this factor alone.

Bottom line: a green, sustainable building is a valuable long-term investment in the future of your health, your business, and your planet.

Photo: Wonderlane / CC 2.0