There is growing worldwide concern by the public and government about climate change, and with the new Obama Administration and upcoming global summit later this year in Copenhagen, this concern may grow into a tidal wave. As in other environmental programs, business and “industry” will bear the brunt of future regulations. The good news is that such future regulations will likely contain some flexibility on how a company complies. In a best case scenario, you would like to be able to comply with future, reasonable, transparent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction rules in such a way that your company would get other direct business benefits, as well. “Green” building represents a solid way to achieve this.
According to United Nations data, occupied buildings account for about 40% of global annual energy consumption and GHG emissions, as well as 16% of global water demand. Estimates also suggest that 30% of newly built or renovated buildings suffer from “sick building syndrome”, exposing occupants, employees, and even customers to unhealthy conditions. Through better planning, design, construction, and operation of buildings, many of these impacts can be reduced and help you comply with future GHG rules. There is a growing body of evidence showing the economic benefits of such “green” buildings, sometimes referred to as “better performing” buildings. Why? Because implementing features in a building that will make it energy efficient, reduce waste generation, improve indoor air quality, and save water is not only good for the environment (“green”), but will also reduce your company’s labor and operating costs over the building’s life, allow you to charge higher rates for use, improve its resale value, improve worker productivity, reduce sicktime, and show off to stakeholders. These are all bottom line business benefits, meriting the title “better performing” building. In addition, these changes are passive, meaning you can enjoy benefits without changing the thermostat or in any other way interfering with your employees doing their job.