But with higher upfront costs and longer paybacks what are the real motivations for building owners to make the investment?
Healthy employees = Healthy business
Commercial buildings exist to do business, and are most often powered by humans who are sensitive to the environments they work in. Improvements made to said environments result in an increase in productivity, fewer employee sick days and better overall morale. Improvements to indoor air quality, task appropriate lighting levels, ventilation, heating, cooling and even furniture all play a role in building better business.
While it is difficult to put a dollar value on the potential benefits, common sense dictates that better quality facilities will be more likely to breed better quality products and services. If your business suffers from worker illness in excess of 10 days a year per any individual, it may be a good idea to address possible workplace conditions that could be contributing to this decline in productivity.
A Michigan State University study found that productivity in LEED-certified buildings was 2.18% better than in more traditional workplaces. This added an extra 39 hours a year for each employee. Absenteeism dropped and employee retention rates improved. Workers suffered less from stress and depression and the hours which asthma and respiratory ailments affected workers dropped to 6.32, down from 16.28 hours a month. Replacing employees costs businesses anywhere from $20 000 to $50 000 each, so improved job retention saves companies a lot of money.
In this day and age, when energy resources, the environment, austerity and conservation in general are all hot topics, coming across as an environmentally responsible business can mean the difference between getting that contract or not. In any industry where competition abounds, setting yourself apart by demonstrating that sustainability is a priority is a great way to gain increased exposure in your field. This can be done by advertising improvements made to your facilities, efforts made to lower your energy consumption, or creating a product that is more environmentally responsible than the competitions.
Lower your operating costs and increase your revenues
Just because renovations and improvements to a building cost money upfront, doesn’t mean that you won’t come out on top. Many existing facilities were designed and built when energy costs were not what they are now. As technology has improved, and energy costs have increased, there is great potential to save money by retrofitting inefficient equipment. With simple payback periods within a couple of years, many businesses that have made the investment are now actually making money after reducing their bills. Once the hardware has been paid for, savings on utility bills are translated straight into profit.
Property owners can enjoy increased rental rates as a result of offering a property that addresses the concerns of a new, enlightened client base and catering to the growing demand for green buildings in a variety of industries.
Building codes are being adjusted, and many municipalities are taking it upon themselves to mandate necessary benchmarks for building performance. Whether following LEED, BREEAM, Passivhaus or any other standard, efficiency is here to stay, so get on board early and let the saving begin!