Going Green: What You Need to Know
As a member of the real estate industry, you may’ve thought about incorporating green components into renovation or new construction projects, as green building is a growing trend. Many property owners are joining the green movement as a way to lower energy costs and make their buildings more attractive to potential tenants. In addition, green building is becoming increasingly more difficult to avoid because federal, state and municipal governments are starting to mandate it for new residential construction.
Beyond green construction initiatives, there are several smaller, but meaningful ways you can incorporate efficiency and sustainability into the properties you manage.
Green Construction Standards
If you’re thinking of updating your buildings or beginning new construction with green techniques, it is important that you are aware of federal green building standards.
In the United States, the dominant standard is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating, which is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. Commercial buildings that are LEED certified not only have lower operating costs and provide a healthier, safer environment for occupants; they also allow the owner to qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives. In addition, owners of LEED-certified green buildings receive a reputational boost, as they’re publically demonstrating their commitment to the environment and their social responsibility.
Hiring a Builder
LEED ratings are important to understand so you ensure you’re getting what you expect when engaging in a green building project. The contracting company you hire should’ve experience designing and building up to LEED standards. Ask for references and examples of past work that is similar to what you’re requesting.
Be wary of a contractor who promises something that seems impossible to deliver on given your budget and time restraints. A common problem in the green building arena is that the end result may not actually meet LEED standards or provide the energy efficiency and savings that was expected. This is due to the newer nature of the green construction field, and contractors who think they can deliver something that turns out to be unreasonable or impossible. Do plenty of research before choosing a contractor.
This may seem obvious, but it’s essential that everything is put in contractual form when working with a contractor. That way, if the job isn’t completed according to your specifications or up to the standards promised by the contractor, you can hold that contractor liable. Green building is quite expensive, so you want to be sure you get the proper return on your investment. You may want to also make sure your contractor and sub-contractors are properly insured in case of a future problem.
If you have additional questions on green building, chat with an ‘A’ Team member today.
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