Green Certification: Is It Worth It?

Going green is a hot growing trend with no signs of slowing. From conscientious consumers who want to spend their

Going green is a hot growing trend with no signs of slowing.

From conscientious consumers who want to spend their dollars on environmentally-friendly design or products, to investors looking to capitalize on the trend, there’s never been a better time to jump on the green-hued bandwagon.

But getting green certification can come at additional cost. Is it worth it?

Launching Green

One of the most common certifications in the United States is LEED building certification.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an independent certification process by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Points are awarded, throughout the building process, for such varied initiatives as recirculating cooling systems or hiring a LEED-certified builder. There are 4 levels of certification, including:

  • LEED Certified buildings (40–49 points)
  • LEED Silver buildings (50–59 points)
  • LEED Gold buildings (60–79 points)
  • LEED Platinum buildings (80 or more points)

Pros: Certification, like LEED, offers a great boon to public relations. The USGBC also reports that LEED buildings lease-up faster, retain higher property values, and may garner tax rebates and zoning allowances not offered to other developments. Like certain other environmentally-friendly practices, green building may be “recession-proof”: even when new construction declined during the Great Recession real-estate bubble burst, “the total square footage of LEED-certified buildings grew by 14%.”

Cons: Such certifications may indicate environmentally-friendly design principals, but they relate only to new construction, and not to occupancy usage, so they may not save money in the long-run.

Turning Green

Other than a new development, many businesses seek out environmentally-friendly changes because of potential cost savings of green design.

Reusing runoff water saves landscaping expenses and allows for drought-season watering.

Installing solar panels reduces energy bill expenses, and prevents brownout and blackout conditions for a business (crucial in high-security or high-needs environments like schools and hospitals).

Utilizing Energy Star appliances, and other smarter-energy appliances can save thousands of dollars in energy over the life of an appliance.

The possibilities are virtually limitless.

So, for many more businesses “going green” is not just about new construction, it is about tangible, cost-saving measures that can be implemented in existing facilities, and then promoted to your investors, partner businesses and consumers for additional public relations benefits.

Growing Green

For those businesses wishing to save money on utility expenses, capitalize on tax incentives, or gain market edge in their industries with environmentally-friendly design, the main problem is deciding where to start.

Do you put recycling bins in the office break room?

Such small changes go unnoticed by the public.

Do you insist that everyone scale back on their individual electricity use, such as only one computer monitor, fewer appliances, and lower lighting?

Such changes might not make much impact on the bottom line and may cause more inconvenience than savings.

A great first step is to get an energy audit.

An energy soft audit, with an experienced energy auditor, can determine where your greatest opportunities for change exist in your business.

The answers can be surprising, from buildings that are not that old, and yet retain temperature very poorly, to lighting upgrades that can make a big difference, an energy audit looks at the outcome-based changes that will most impact energy expenditures.

Energy Professionals

At Energy Professionals, we have been saving businesses money on their energy expenses for over twenty years.

We are industry experts, who can zero in on the exact changes or upgrades that will make the most rapid, most efficient improvements in your electrical or natural gas energy expenses.

Going green can save you thousands of dollars if done correctly. Contact us for a free energy soft audit to find out how.

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