Green is Here to Stay: How Eco is Growing in Commercial Real Estate Projects

If you are planning on building a new commercial structure, one of your primary considerations will likely be whether or not to use green technologies to construct the building, as well as whether or not to integrate green technologies, such as solar, wind or other alternative sources of energy. As the scientific evidence continues to mount showing that fossil fuel sources are rapidly depleting, it behooves any company planning or considering new commercial construction to look carefully at the ways green technology can be used to save costs.

The Focus of Green Building Strategies

One of the principle goals of green building is to maximize sustainability, i.e., to incorporate technologies that minimize waste and maximize the reusability of resources. The primary ways that green technology seeks to promote sustainability are:

  • By encouraging site and structure design efficiency—This involves minimizing the total environmental impact, such as the effect on water tables, flood zones and local ecosystems.
  • By promoting energy efficiency—Energy efficiency is maximized through the use of high R value insulation, as well as thermal windows. Passive solar power may be used to augment other forms of energy. Windows and doors can also be placed to maximize the use of the sun’s heat and energy.
  • By promoting water efficiency—Green building involves minimizing the disposal of water and maximizing the use of recycled water. It also includes low flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and the use of on-demand water heaters.
  • By promoting materials efficiency—This includes the use of “green” lumber from forests that are considered green, as well as the use of rapidly renewable products, such as bamboo or straw. It also encourages the use of recycled materials, such as stone, metal and sand. It calls for the use of building materials that require minimal amounts of energy to produce, such as adobe, clay, concrete and compressed earth blocks.

Cost may be an initial concern when you are deciding whether to go green. There are the costs of photo-voltaic products, new appliances and other items. According to studies, most construction projects involving green technologies have about a 2% increase in cost. The analysis, however, needs to consider the up-front costs with the long term costs, as studies have also shown that there can be up to 20% savings in costs over the life of a building when green technologies are integrated. These savings come from a variety of sources, with the bulk from decreased energy costs. There may also be tax deductions and there can be higher worker productivity. Studies also show that green commercial property obtained higher rents, higher sales prices and higher occupancy rates.