LEED buildings on sketches

Should You Bother Green-Certifying Your Building?

It is entirely obvious that the real estate market is always changing and developing. ENERGY STAR products, LEED, and the National Green Building Standard are more sought after now than ever before. Although green building certification is not a requirement for any new development, certifying your building in this manner can benefit you in many ways. It is very important that you understand what building green means and how managing one will ensure that you generate more profit both in the short term and over several years.

How Green Certifications Benefit Property Owners

Building owners benefit greatly from reduced construction costs and utilities. Maintaining green buildings and performing repairs over the life of the building are also far less expensive than typical building construction.

Careful planning in design and construction ensure that excessive material use and waste do not occur. Efficient construction techniques ensure structural integrity. Costs are reduced by eliminating nonessential building materials while providing more room for insulation.

Ensuring that durability measures are properly integrated can greatly reduce long-term maintenance and repair costs by improving moisture management. Using a combination of durable installation techniques and materials results in less dirt, mold, dust, and mildew and improves indoor air quality. Sound and odor transmission are also greatly reduced by the use of green materials.

How Green Living Benefits and Retains Tenants

Tenants benefit from living in green buildings in a variety of ways as well. For one, they see lower energy and water bills than in standard buildings. Green buildings also provide cleaner air, a healthier indoor environment, quieter units, and greatly improved comfort.

Positioning green neighborhoods close to stores, public transportation, and popular venues within walking or biking distance is desirable. Tenants are willing to pay more money to live in vibrant pedestrian communities. These areas are also safer and are more likely to maintain their value even when the rest of the market is declining. Pedestrian- and transit-oriented communities keep tenants happier, thus ensuring that building owners retain tenants longer.

Water-efficient designs used in green buildings are often found to lower owner costs for common area maintenance as well as in-unit costs for tenants. Using drought-tolerant plants, creating conservation easements, and avoiding environmentally sensitive areas can simplify the permit and entitlement process. Limiting storm runoff, lowering landscape, maintenance, and irrigation costs, and lessening the impact on waterways are some sustainable site development practices that are even more benefits of green design. Water is becoming an expensive and scarce resource. Developing properties that use the smallest amount of water in the most efficient way as well as reusing water are two ways that costs can be cut for both owners and tenants.

What Does Green Building Certification Recognize?

When it comes to developing a green building, there are numerous certification programs that define terms in slightly different ways. Regardless of each specific program’s technicalities, they all include various requirements or recommendations, including:

Reasons to Green Certify Your Building

  • Durability
  • Efficient use of materials and resources
  • Energy efficiency
  • Indoor environment
  • Sustainable site development
  • Walkable communities
  • Water quality
  • Water reduction

Millennials, which make up the majority of the rental market, see a lot of value in green apartments and sustainability. Having a green certification attracts this market while driving a demand for both renters and investors.

Studies are finding that investors and partners have an increasing interest in having green-certified buildings in their portfolios. Green certifications make investors more willing to work with you on new developments or selling existing properties.

Green building certification helps simplify the code and compliance processes. It is easier for developers to comply with green requirements and receive tax credits and utility rebates in areas where certification is required or incentivized. Companies are finding that more stringent energy codes are making it easier for builders to meet code requirements with less expense and effort.

Importance of Simplifying the Certification Process

Companies that encourage or require green certification of their properties are provided many opportunities for achieving certification easily and with a streamlined process. This benefits companies by enabling them to create better-performing buildings with less money and effort.

Involving a green designer early on will ensure that program requirements, green concepts, and options are decided before everything is set in motion. This can prevent needless expenses and ensure that green opportunities for the project are not overlooked.

Energy modeling and design analysis help developers make important decisions early on, reducing construction costs associated with replacing expensive features that provide very little impact on building performance. Tackling problems associated with insulation, shading the windows, and managing heat gains early on will prevent the company from having to make expensive changes later.

Green Certification Ensures That Green Standards Are Met

A third-party verification of building standards ensures transparency between building owners and tenants. Additional quality assurance measures are performed to confirm that HVAC, lighting systems, plumbing, insulation, and water management systems are all installed as specified. A certification also ensures everyone that the materials used meet program and project requirements.

The bottom line is: a green certification ensures that buildings are held to a higher standard than typically constructed projects. Tenants will have peace of mind knowing their building contains renewable energy management, higher ENERGY STAR efficiency ratings, and environmentally friendly construction materials.

Whether a building is held to ENERGY STAR Standards, LEED, or the National Green Building Standard, both owners and tenants can recognize the quality and value in green apartments and sustainability-focused companies.

Having a green-certified building entails following energy and building codes and recommended instructions for installations. Following these while combining good design and careful management will ensure that your building succeeds in an ever-changing market.