Greenbuild Roundup Day 2: Green Buildings Yield Substantial Financial Benefits

by | Nov 18, 2010

Owners of sustainably managed buildings expect a four percent higher return on investment (ROI), five percent increases in building value and occupancy, eight percent lower operating costs, and a one percent rise in rental income, according to a new report released at the Greenbuild conference by McGraw-Hill Construction, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) and the University of San Diego’s (USD) Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate

About 79 percent of owners surveyed believe that green helps them attract and retain tenants, which is a competitive advantage during a difficult economy, according to the report. In addition, more than 70 percent of surveyed office building owners are already engaged in greening a significant percentage of their portfolio.

The report, “Business Benefits of Green Buildings SmartMarket Report,” is the second phase of an ongoing study initiated in 2009 by CBRE and USD. It looks at how commercial building owners, managers, tenant firms and occupants perceive benefits of green buildings as well as the benefits that are driving green building growth in the United States.

In additional to environmental benefits, survey respondents also reveal greater productivity, satisfaction, health and well-being thanks to green building growth. The report finds that 10 percent of green building tenants have seen improvement in worker productivity, while none reported decreases. Tenant satisfaction also increases after green upgrades, with 94 percent of managers seeing higher satisfaction levels. Eighty-three percents of tenants also believe they have a healthier indoor environment as a result of green efforts.

A complete update to the 2009 report, “Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense?,” should be released later this year.

To help improve data tracking, information and content integration for green building projects, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has launched LEED Automation, a new program in collaboration with leading technology companies that is designed to streamline and create capacity for the LEED building certification process.

Unveiled at Greenbuild, LEED Automation enables LEED Online, the online tool for submitting documentation and certifying LEED projects, to interact with third-party technology platforms. It will provide automation of various LEED documentation processes, deliver customers a unified view of their LEED projects and standardize LEED content and distribute it consistently across multiple technology platforms, says USGBC.

This marks the first time USGBC has opened LEED Online to the software application market and third-party software developers.

In the area of green building training, Carrier Corp. launched the Carrier University Institute for Sustainability under a collaborative initiative with USGBC. Carrier is the first company to license USGBC’s LEED curriculum to train its employees and customers in sustainable building solutions.

This collaboration offered by the new Institute for Sustainability will allow Carrier to advance sustainability education worldwide. With more than 400 LEED Accredited Professionals, Carrier now has the capacity to organize and coordinate education events through licensed USGBC’s LEED workshops and offer those courses to employees and other audiences globally.

NSF International also made several major sustainability announcements at the conference including two major initiatives and a new U.S. sustainable wallcoverings standard (NSF/ANSI 342, Sustainability Assessment for Wallcovering Products).

The not-for-profit testing and certification organization introduced the National Center for Sustainability Standards, developed with the mission of fostering a consensus-based approach toward conformity assessment in the sustainability field, and the NSF Sustainable Product Assurance Program, which evaluates and tests products to verify conformance with published standards and protocols.

The testing and certification program verifies environmental claims, such as water, waste and energy savings, recyclability and nontoxic claims for a number of products. The program also demonstrates a product’s compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recently revised Green Guidelines, which are used to crack down on manufacturers of products carrying environmentally-friendly claims without verification, says NSF.

With the launch of the American National Standard for Sustainable Wallcoverings, architects, designers, retailers and consumers now have an American National Standard that helps identify sustainable and environmentally-preferable wallcoverings, says NSF. The Chicago-based Wallcoverings Association was also a key partner in the development of NSF 342.

Here are highlights from Day 1 of the conference. Watch for tomorrow’s Greenbuild roundup that will include a host of new products aimed at saving energy.

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