To provide a deeper understanding of green building certification, the first post in this series highlighted the certification types that matter most in CRE, while the following post examined a simpler way for sustainability teams to achieve green building certification.
This third and final post will investigate the financial, organizational and occupant-related benefits of investing in green certification.
People are demanding healthier places to live and work, not just in the U.S. but around the world. 79% of employees said that, all else being equal, they’d sooner take a job in a LEED-certified building over a job in an uncertified one. This shift in preference has turned sustainably into a global trillion-dollar industry.
To meet the growing demand, companies are turning to smart platforms that not only assist with green building certification processes, but actually help building operators and facility managers make better data-driven decisions. These platforms use readily available data to quickly and easily gather and process building data so FM teams can improve the occupant experience, drive down costs and improve energy performance.
There’s been plenty of hand-wringing in recent years about the prospect of artificial intelligence and machine learning “stealing jobs.” While automation will undoubtedly reduce or eliminate certain positions, the reality is that the jobs on the chopping block are the manual, time-intensive jobs we don’t particularly like anyway.
19% of the world’s workforce can be qualified as “actively disengaged.” That disengagement accounts for approximately $7 trillion in lost global productivity each year, according to Gallup. And while automation might eliminate some jobs, it also has the potential to reverse these numbers a bit.
Automation - and the up-to-date, real-time data that comes with it - can impact organizations, teams, colleagues and brands simply by freeing up human brain capacity. In the specific case of green building certification, once laborious 'data chasing' has been alleviated, building operators, facility managers and other stakeholders will have more time and resources to devote to improving creativity, innovation and customer experiences.
This important work can only be achieved, once more tedious and menial work is offloaded however. Automation therefore creates deeper, more meaningful work — the antithesis of job loss and disengagement.
Put plainly, automating green building certification processes with smart platforms can actually enable workers to do more meaningful, and sometimes more creative, tasks that deepen connection and improve revenue in the long-term. It also lightens the certification admin workload, affects organizational culture and puts a little humanity back into environmental campaigns.
LEED is one of the most popular green building certification programs in the world, with more than 32,500 projects certified since 2000. There’s no doubt that green building certifications like these add value to new properties — more than 10% in some cases — but there are greater environmental and social advantages too. Let’s examine some of the other green building benefits.
Green certification saves building owners money. The systems, processes and platforms that optimize equipment and improve building performance efficiency have the potential to generate more than $400,000 in cost savings over a ten year period. Retro-commissioning and continuous commissioning practices offer additional cost savings, with retro-commissioning delivering an average payback period of one year and continuous commissioning producing average savings of $100 million per building according to Texas A&M’s Energy Systems Laboratory.
Another benefit of securing green building certification are the associated tax credits and deductions. The requirements tend to be highly specific, so it’s important to speak with your tax professional on this subject, but improvements like high-efficiency lighting, more efficient building envelopes and better HVAC systems are just a few ways to achieve these.
Sure, green building certifications indicate healthy environmental practices, but how does a green building really affect the people inside? Ensuring greater personal comfort — whether for employees or residents — positively impacts health and wellness.
Adequate ventilation helps control air pollutants from fabrics, cleaning chemicals, and outdoor pollution. Good design, access to outdoor areas, and recreational and leisure spaces reduce boredom, increase blood flow, and give people a general sense of well-being. Additionally, employees in green certified buildings report that they show up to work more often and are more productive while they’re there. Furthermore, green certified buildings tend to demand higher rent and achieve greater occupancy levels than non-certified buildings.
As climate change awareness grows, people are becoming increasingly aware of sustainability initiatives. Whether you’re LEED or WELL-certified, you clearly signal your organization’s commitment to reducing climate change, positively differentiating your brand and attracting similarly conscientious occupants.
The U.S. National Security Agency credits LEED with creating a “greater awareness of green building benefits” by demonstrating “the broad applicability of green and sustainable building design criteria.”
Although programs like LEED and WELL are certifying tens of thousands of buildings worldwide, these buildings remain in the minority. Nonetheless, awareness of green building certification is growing as property owners, operations managers, design firms and architects gain a deeper understanding of the benefits.
Green building certification should be the first step to helping facilities managers and building owners cut costs, improve system efficiencies, reduce their carbon footprint and improve occupant health.
And while an understanding of green buildings and their benefits is continuing to spread, there’s still a long way to go to achieve change on a global scale. It won’t happen overnight, but as worldwide concern about climate change increases and smart building platforms find wider adoption, our industry appears to be well on its way.
Talk to a smart building expert to learn more about how Switch helps portfolio managers reach their sustainability goals.
5 articles found
Switch celebrates Wear It Purple Day 2022—an international movement of expression, celebration and support.
A good building management app helps commercial property managers streamline operations, save time and cut costs. Select the right one by following these tips.
With the onset of climate change to drive the global sustainability agenda, energy consumption in the educational sector is both an environmental and financial concern for schools and universities. How can universities leverage the adoption of intelligent building technology to improve energy efficiency?
Get to know our Switchers as we share our journeys in the smart building industry and what it’s like working at Switch!
With energy prices at a multi-decade high and increased societal pressure to lower carbon emissions, buildings must optimize their energy efficiency to stay relevant, stay profitable, and combat the global climate crisis. Can you afford the cost of inaction?
5 key steps to futureproofing buildings with investments that will deliver value and prepare your organization for further top line growth.