Building the Green Way
14/07/2006 – Companies as diverse Genzyme, Goldman Sachs, Hearst, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, and Toyota have moved into green workplaces
Harvard, 14 jul 2005 (Harvard Business Review).- Leading law firms and professional firms are now demanding green buildings for their offices. Even macho-icon Harley Davidson has an energy-saving green Product Development Center.
The Green Tipping Point
This article discusses several factors that have pushed green to the tipping point:
First, the creation of reliable building-rating and performance measurement systems for new construction and renovations, like the U.S. Green Building Council”™s rigorous LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating program.
Second, hundreds of studies have proven the financial advantages of going green, from reduced construction costs to lower operating costs. Third, employers have experienced significant workforce benefits in green buildings, including stronger employee attraction and retention, as well as fewer illnesses and lower absenteeism, which reduces health care costs. In particular, green buildings can boost employee productivity by approximately 15%.
Finally, green buildings today cost no more to construct than standard buildings thanks to lower materials and technologies costs, much greater availability of green building products, and greater real estate industry experience in planning and constructing green buildings. The Green Energy Solution With gasoline prices soaring past $3 a gallon in many locations, everyone is talking about fuel-efficient cars, but no one is talking about our energy-guzzling buildings. In the U.S., buildings account for 39% of the nation”™s total annual energy consumption, whereas transportation (including cars) comprises only 27% of our total energy use, according to Federal government statistics.
‘Building the Green Way’ discusses a proven strategy for reducing U.S. energy consumption: green buildings, which significantly lower energy consumption and costs compared to standard buildings. In its first year of operation, for example, Genzyme”™s green 12-story headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts used 42% less energy than standard buildings of comparable size.
Get Ready For Massive Obsolescence
Hundreds of billions of dollars of the world”™s commercial real estate will soon become obsolete and decline in value, say Lockwood, because tenants increasingly prefer green workplaces to standard (non-green) buildings. ‘The owners of standard buildings must act now to protect their investments by reviewing their portfolios to see how green their buildings are, identifying what they need to do to meet growing market demand, and undertaking green renovations of their existing facilities,’ he says.
‘Building the Green Way’ provides ten rules that companies should follow to construct a new green workplace””or turn an existing building green””on a standard budget.
Our Green Future
‘The green future is here,’ says Lockwood in his article. ‘Like the dramatic, occasionally unsettling, and ultimately beneficial transformations wrought by the introduction of electric lights, telephones, elevators, and air-conditioning, green building principles are changing how we construct and use our workplaces, as well as our homes, schools, stores, medical facilities, and civic and cultural institutions.’
Armed with the ten rules in ‘Building the Green Way,’ corporations no longer have an excuse for eschewing sustainability””they have tools that are proven to lower overhead costs, improve productivity, and strengthen the bottom line.