Innovation in sustainable building design is broadening the horizon of what an environmentally friendly structure looks like. We’ve gone from low-energy consumption to zero-emissions and net-zero structures to enter an era where buildings can give back. Rooftop gardens can capture heat from the building to foster plant growth and put healthy CO2 back into the environment. Water recycling solutions can filter waste water to make it reusable or fit to reenter the ecosystem. All of these benefits highlight the move toward buildings that promote environmental health, something that is increasingly profitable.
The fiscal side of sustainable building
In a recent guest post for Commercial Property Executive, James Gray-Donald, vice president of sustainability for Bentall Kennedy, described a study that the firm completed. By working with academic institutions and a variety of other industry stakeholders, the real estate investment company was able to analyze a wide range of sustainable buildings to identify the financial impact energy efficiency efforts had on the life of the project.
The study confirmed longstanding opinions that sustainable design pays off. While numerous studies have shown this in the past, Bentall Kennedy specifically went out to counter skepticism about how the research was performed. The study focused on analyzing the key issues that sustainability dissenters tend to focus on over a 10-year analysis period and found that LEED and Energy Star-certified buildings in the U.S. achieve higher rent premiums and increased occupancy rates than non-certified structures. Even greater benefits were found for LEED and BOMA BEST certifications in Canada.
Prepare for more sustainability innovation moving forward
Architects, engineers and contractors may want to start preparing for a sustainability-focused future through continuing education credits for professional engineers. The U.S. Green Building Council recently announced that 23 new nations have built their first LEED-certified structure or LEED v4 Platinum building, bringing the total number of program participants to 160. All of this is happening as part of the LEED Earth campaign, which is promoting sustainable building design and construction around the world. AEC professionals who want to keep up with the pace of innovation being driven by LEED and similar sustainability programs can pursue continuing education to get ahead of their peers.
For more information about sustainable building design, preview RedVector’s Introduction to High Performance Building Design (Based on LEED v4) Course.Sources