MEP CA AB 1103

Green Building and Design by the Numbers

MEP Energy Star Certificationr The green industry has been undergoing a revolution as of late. More and more products and companies are actively seeking the "green" designation in every market imaginable. Few of these "green" labels are as desirable as the vaunted "Green" that precedes building and design. Indeed the statistics show that practitioners of green building and design garner significant benefits from the concept and practice.

When going green individuals typically expect to incur a net cost to produce a more environmentally sound product, but recent figures show that this is not always the case. The green movement is gaining more traction and there are few fields where it is more apparent potentially more lucrative than green building and design.

The most recent piece of evidence that people are willing to spend more to go green comes to us from the University of Guelph. The study, which examined 148 buildings in Canada and 143 in the United States, was conducted to determine whether or not buildings constructed with energy efficiency in mind have higher rents and occupancy rates than standard structures. The buildings designated as green for the purposes of the study were required to have achieved energy efficiency and sustainability standards set forth by programs like LEED, BOMA, and ENERGY STAR.

The results show promising numbers for green building numbers. Not only do green buildings bring in more money due to their high rents and occupancy rates, but their tenants are more satisfied. A closer look at the study's results makes it apparent why property owners and managers should be looking to capitalize on the green building industry sooner rather than later. The study found average rents of the sampled buildings to be 3.7% higher in "green" buildings. Occupancy rates in these buildings were 18.7% higher in Canada and 9.5% higher in the United States. Most surprisingly was the finding that tenant renewal rates were 5.6% in Canada and 7% in the United States.

To put these figures into perspective it is important to realize the impact that building structures have on our nation's energy consumption. According to the EPA energy consumption related to the operation and maintenance of commercial buildings accounts for 40% of the United States' total energy demands. This is a very significant number and highlights the importance of energy efficiency's consideration in building design.

As for the building's effects on its inhabitants, a recent study showed that Americans spend an average of 90% of the day indoors. Because of this, one of the major standards for green and sustainable design relates to indoor air quality and other factors that directly impact the health and comfort of those who work in these buildings.

According to a 2012 study conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction, green building retrofit projects saw a 9% decrease in operating cost in one year and a 13% decrease in five years. On average the surveyed projects achieved a 7 year return on their investment.

Green building and design has been on the rise due to a number of factors including market demand, public health gains, increased property values, mandates and policies, and a number of other factors. The Guelph study shows us that the benefits of going green are now increasingly widely recognized in the US and on an international scale.

Find out more about green building design and how to begin the process of starting your own construction and design project by taking a look at MEP's blog post from last month: "Is Green Building and Design the Right Fit for Your Building?"

Contact MEP today for assistance with your ENERGY STAR, LEED, Energy Audit and M-E-P Engineering Design needs at 310-782-1410.