It’s fine to recycle printer ink cartridges and install energy efficient light bulbs, but to really show the world your business means business when it comes to sustainability, consider getting certified.
ENERGY STAR Certification
A good place to start is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary ENERGY STAR program. This program helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the climate by promoting energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR lists the following reasons to pursue certification:
- Lower operating costs. On average, certified buildings use 35 percent less energy, and cost $0.50 less per square foot to operate.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Certified buildings contribute 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which helps in the fight against climate change.
- Higher rental rates. Your certified buildings could command up to $2.40 per square foot more than non-certified buildings.
- Compliance with local and state mandates. Most energy-related legislation incorporates ENERGY STAR guidelines, putting your certified business in a better position to comply with future laws.
- Public relations advantages. Consumers want to do business with companies that “do good,” including those that commit to being environmentally responsible.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. It’s a green building certification program that promotes best-in-class building strategies and practices, and it is recognized worldwide as the premier mark of achievement in a green building.
LEED-certified buildings cost less to operate, with reductions in energy and water bills of as much as 40 percent. LEED-certified businesses use the energy savings to free up valuable resources that can be used to create new jobs, attract and retain top talent, expand operations, and invest in emerging technologies. LEED buildings enjoy faster lease-up rates, higher property value retention, and may qualify for incentives like tax rebates and zoning allowances.
To receive LEED certification, building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. LEED is flexible enough to apply to all project types, including:
- Building design and construction. New construction or buildings going through major renovations.
- Interior design and construction. For complete interior remodels.
- Building operations and maintenance. For improvement work on existing buildings that require little or no construction.
- Neighborhood development. For new land development projects or redevelopment projects containing residential, non-residential, or mixed uses.
- Homes. For single-family homes, and low-rise or mid-rise multi-family homes.