Over the last decade, green building has transformed into a huge industry that continues to grow; yet still, there are many misconceptions associated with building green in the commercial sector. Some critics of sustainable building practices have wrinkled their nose at higher upfront costs for sustainable building materials and alternative energies; however, these energy solutions have dramatically reduced in price, making green building and practices not only preferable in terms of long-term cost-savings, but quite feasible right from the get go. Business owners that are looking for reliable ways to save money are turning their attention to green building and sustainable energy as a means to save money, while promoting a healthy environment.
Increased Efficiency for Money Savings
Businesses that build with green materials and adopt green practices can save considerably on their energy costs. Experts report that businesses that pay the initial 2% increase for green materials as opposed to traditional building materials (on average) will recoup this initial outlay by as much as six to seven times. Much of the money savings is due to the efficient use of energy and water. High-performance green buildings that employ energy-efficient strategies can reduce their energy costs by 30%. This money-savings not only pays for the initial costs of going green, but it saves the business far more in terms of energy costs, making it a great way for any business to save money over time.
Like many forward-thinking nations, the United States government is offering assistance in the form of rebates, tax credits, and other incentives for businesses who commit to building green and installing sustainable forms of energy like solar, wind, and geothermal technologies. The U.S. Department of Energy has created the database "DSIRE" to list all the incentives and programs offered by the government. The database is organized by state, so business owners can easily find incentives and programs that they qualify for. Although there are many federal tax breaks and other incentives for going green, there are also state and local incentives that can impact money-savings substantially, depending upon where you operate your business.
Long-Term Cost Savings
While employing green energies like geothermal technology and solar efforts will allow any business to save substantially over the life of the building, those energy savings are magnified when the business opts for green materials such as energy-efficient windows and roofing materials, for instance. Sustainable building materials nurture dramatic cost-savings because they require less energy to be used—green or otherwise. These energy-efficient materials, in many cases, are already known for their cost savings when it comes to maintenance and repair. By choosing a material such as bamboo instead of hard wood, a business owner doesn't sacrifice durability or even style by implementing green building materials.
Fortunately, there are some very good estimates available for businesses wondering exactly how much they can save by building green. For instance, a $4 per square foot investment in green now is projected to yield a $58 per square foot savings over a twenty-year period. Yet businesses can design even greater cost-savings into their building when they consider each design element and material. By using recycled glass, drywall, and steel, for instance, the money-savings could be even greater and the benefit to the environment—immense!
Whether you are building green from the start or want to transition to green energy solutions, there are money-savings associated with the effort, as it is clear that building green saves you money. Businesses that can show they care for the environment will resonate with increasing numbers of clients and customers who are looking to do business with responsible companies. Going green, therefore, is business savvy in more ways than simply money-savings.