The Top Green Commercial Building Trends of 2016

Nov 16, 2016

With the release of the new LEEDs v4, the number of buildings applying for LEED ratings will continue to increase.

The new LEED v4 aims at increasing energy optimization. Buildings seeking LEEDs certification will now be required to be 14% more energy efficient than the previous version, while 20% of all points will focus on energy efficiency.

Interestingly enough, the main driver for instituting sustainable building is client demand. According to 52% of survey respondents, tenants appreciate and are willing to pay more for properties that utilize sustainable building practices, while 28% list market demands as an additional reason for adding green features.

Other reasons given by survey respondents include: “right thing to do” (31%), environmental regulations (30%), and lower operating costs (26%).

green building trend

The close range of numbers suggests that all the reasons were equally significant in driving green building development or renovation. In fact, 20% of all new commercial building projects are sustainable, and LEEDs expects that by 2035, at least 75% of commercial properties will be green buildings.

Whether or not you plan on applying for LEED’s certification, statistics show there are numerous benefits to implementing energy saving features in your investment building.

A growing trend among commercial investment properties is the installation of an environmentally friendly roof.

There are two types of roofs: cool roofs and green roofs. While green roofs are planted with vegetation, cool roofs use rubber, special tiles, foam, or special solar-reflecting paint to decrease a building’s interior temperature. Both are considered highly desirable as tenant amenities, with green roofs even being turned into urban rooftop gardens.

Green roofs appeal to a wide variety of age groups and business types, and offer numerous benefits for the investment owner:

Additional benefits include:

  • Command higher property values and increased rents
  • Reduce infrastructure costs
  • Increase retail sales
  • Increased mental health and worker productivity
  • Stormwater fee credits and other financial incentives
  • Decreased costs associated with flooding
  • Lower water bills
  • Reduced crime
  • Reduce the flow of stormwater from a roof by nearly 65%, which prevents pollutants from being swept into bodies of water
  • Reduce building energy use by cooling roofs and providing thermal mass, shading, and insulation
  • Provide new urban habitat for plants and animals, like birds and insects, thereby increasing biodiversity
  • Reduces the absorption of solar radiation, which decreases energy consumption and air pollution
  • Green roofs last twice as long as conventional roofs
  • Add beauty and value to buildings.

Another trend is the use of sustainable construction materials. Materials like steel, glass, and prefabricated pars reduce waste and use less natural resources.

If green buildings appeal to you but you’d like to start small, LED lighting is another trend that is becoming more widespread. Lighting represents 15% to 30% of a commercial buildings energy costs and therefore is a good place to start. LED lights last 40 times longer than standard bulbs, but use only a tenth of the energy.

It takes only three years to recoup the cost of an LED lighting retrofit; the savings of up to 50% in energy costs will significantly impact on your bottom line.

green buildings will help in saving energy

Other sustainable features that can be added include:

  • low-flow faucets and showerheads
  • low-flow toilets and urinals
  • water re-use (greywater, black water, stormwater, and recycled water)
  • energy monitoring and displays (lighting control systems, enhanced metering strategies, occupancy and PIR sensors)
  • increase insulation
  • energy-enhancing floor coverings (Marmoleum)

Whether you’re ready to start big or small, green buildings in the commercial real estate industry are here to stay. The continued development of new products and technology, as well as the demand from forward-thinking businesses, will help build a greener economy.

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