Evaluate Costs Over the Long Term
Building to LEED specifications is not an inexpensive endeavor, though costs have come down considerably in recent years. However, what is unique about LEED specified materials and technology is that they do offer significant savings for tenants over the long term. In fact, some states with an eye to the future, like Washington, require that government and public agency buildings are built to LEED standards and certified.
When undertaking a new project, it is important to drive down overall project costs by ensuring that environmental performance features are incorporated in a building's design from the outset. Look to water-efficient fixtures to reduce your use of the municipal water supply and the burden placed on water treatment facilities. Evaluate energy efficiencies with a goal to use renewable and alternative energy sources. Ultimately, these technologies will pay off in reduced energy and water bills, more efficient operations, and reduced impact on the surrounding environment.
If you have an opportunity to be involved in site selection, evaluate locations with an eye toward access to mass transit or alternative transportation for employees that can reduce costs for parking facilities, and frequently facilitate access to local and state incentives and tax benefits. Fortunately, with the incentives currently available for green building projects, many developers and tenants are now the recipient of dollars that help offset the higher upfront costs incurred with building green.
Experience the Benefits
Within months of opening a new or renovated warehouse, distribution center, or manufacturing facility, many tenants experience tremendous benefits. Employee retention rates, productivity, and satisfaction increase, while absenteeism is reduced. Tenant liabilities and operations and maintenance costs are significantly reduced year-over-year. Facility marketability for the future is stronger. For these reasons, we encourage all tenants to build interiors to LEED CI specifications.
There was a time when focusing on sustainability was just the right thing to do. With the recent advancements in new technologies, materials, and equipment, today building green is also the smart thing to do.
David Birdwell is executive vice president and chief operating officer of IDI, a leading, full-service commercial real estate property company based in Atlanta. To date, IDI has delivered 63 world-class business parks, and developed and acquired 134 million square feet of space in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico for a growing roster of international clients.