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As people familiar with my previous blogs and articles for publications such as MBE Magazine will know, for some time now my mantra regarding sustainability is that it’s not just good for the environment, it’s great for business. A new report from the US Green Business Council reveals that when it comes to building management and design, corporations are increasingly recognizing the benefits to the bottom line of going green.
The research, titled World Green Building Trends in 2016, reached out to over 1,000 participants in 69 countries representing key facets of the building industry, including architects, contractors and construction firms and reveals just how much momentum there is towards green building – i.e. buildings that adhere to a recognized green standard, such as LEED or the UK-based BREEAM.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, the motivating factors for green building vary significantly by country. For example, 81% of respondents from the US cite lower operating costs as one of the most important benefits of green building, compared to just 29% of Saudi Arabian respondents, who instead see increasing worker productivity as a key benefit.
Overall, key motivating factors include providing the correct documentation and certification for quality assurance and the education of occupants about sustainability. Interestingly, the desire to “do the right thing” as a contributing factor has decreased quite sharply over time – from 42% in 2008 to just 25% in 2015. This clearly reflects the way that conversations around sustainability have evolved over the last few years, with sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) finding a place at the boardroom table (increasingly as part of the remit of the CFO).
The research also revealed that it’s not just new developments that are getting the green treatment. 40% of respondents in six countries, including the US and the UK, said that they expect to conduct green retrofits of existing buildings in the coming years.
Here in the Bay Area, with a skyline dotted with construction cranes and building exteriors stamped with LEED certification plaques, I thought I’d briefly highlight the standout green buildings:
According to the EPA, and reported here, San Francisco’s beautiful century-old City Hall is now the world’s oldest building to receive LEED Platinum certification. The retro-fit, which took a number of years to complete included introducing energy and water saving operations – such as high efficiency toilets – that help contribute to saving approximately 825,000 gallons of water a year.
As the website 7×7 highlighted recently, the brand new Salesforce building has some incredible architectural innovations that helped secure its LEED Platinum certification, with a design that eliminated the need for over a million tons of steel in its construction.
While the performance of the SF 49ers may not always hit the mark at their home field, the stadium’s green credentials always score highly. With 1,162 solar panels, a 27,000 square foot “green roof” and its use of reclaimed water and materials among its initiatives, the stadium has gained plaudits for setting the standard for new sports venues across the country.
If you’d like to hear how we can help you tell your company’s story of going green, as ever, please get in touch.
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