Mike Schoenecker, vice president at Winkelman Building Corp, says green buildings, defined as those that reduce their impact on the environment by being more energy efficient and using fewer natural resources while reducing waste and pollution, save money for business owners three ways.
Increased Efficiency Means Lower Energy Bills
Green buildings cost about 2% more initially, but will save building owners about 30% on their energy bills for heating, cooling and water usage every year for the life of the building. That can add up to a lot of money, which can be used to pay for the initial costs of going green. Once those costs are recaptured, the savings will add to the building owner’s bottom line for the entire useful life of the building.
Government Incentives Can Put More Money In Building Owner’s Pockets
The United States government offers 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 (DOE) maintains a public database called DSIRE that is organized by state and lists all of that state’s current incentives and programs.
State and local incentives may also be available, so check with your accountant or state resource sites, as well.
Long Term Cost Savings
Benefits from using green energy technology like solar and geothermal technology and solar are magnified when a building owner opts for green materials such as energy efficient windows and roofing materials. Those materials also provide an economic advantage because they cost less to maintain and repair. For example, bamboo is a sustainable alternative to hardwoods for floors and interior trim that offers superior durability without sacrificing style.
Making a $4 per square foot investment in green now will yield savings of $58 per square foot over a twenty year period. By using recycled glass, drywall, and steel, the savings could be even greater and the benefit to the environment enhanced.
There are other economic benefits to building green, too. A green building will command a higher price when sold. More importantly, a businesses that shows it cares for the environment will appeal to clients and customers who are looking to do business with responsible companies. Put it all together and going green makes for smart business in more way than just saving money.