In the U.S., buildings account for almost 40 percent of national CO2 emissions. Emissions come from HVAC systems to lighting and office equipment (e.g. computers). Anything that can be done to reduce or offset – or even create – energy benefits the buildings, its occupants and the environment.
Benefits of green buildings can include:
- Reducing environmental impact and increasing building resiliency
- Lowering day-to-day operational costs
- Promoting healthier and more comfortable spaces for occupants
- Increased tenant retention and property value
The path to a greener building is as unique as the building itself. Consider what your goals are and what small changes you can make right away with what you have at your facility.
Adam Bernhardt, vice president and general manager with Peloton Real Estate, notes that “many building certifications have requirements that overlap, and if you’re already doing a lot of the required functions to remain competitive in the market, it’s just a matter of documenting and maybe enhancing your services.”
Determine the Certification for Your Building
In “10 Tips for Green Certification,” we break down the options for certification, including what different programs mean and information you need on how to get certified.
We talk to industry professionals to determine how to get started and things to consider if you want to get certified, including:
- Understanding your motives and getting buy-in
- Checking your building’s current conditions
- Documentation and improvements
Another consideration is a net zero building – one that produces as much energy as it consumes, reducing the use and need of nonrenewable energy. Like many green certification programs, net zero is on the horizon for or already affecting many new and existing buildings.
“Making the Move to Net Zero” looks at small steps you can implement to reduce your energy use and how to go about making an existing building net zero energy. When moving toward net zero, it’s important to understand financing options and timing for updates and improvements.
Kevin Carbonnier, project manager at New Buildings Institute, says that any improvement is a positive step. “Just by benchmarking alone, buildings typically use less energy because you have that tracking system.”
And keep in mind, having discussions about being more green is the first step, and even little improvements can add up to a big difference.
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