Why go Green?
Searching for an office building can be an overwhelming endeavor. You want to find a space with natural light, open areas, character and charm, but one thing that you should not forget to add to your "must haves" is low environmental impact. Green buildings don't just sound good from an ethical standpoint, they also carry out practices that lead to economic savings in energy, water, and garbage bills. According to the EPA, the top 10 cities with the most Energy Star buildings have saved $1.4 billion in costs. Since green buildings use less toxic cleaning products, inks, paper and building materials, they provide a healthier work environment for you and your employees. Besides, with the choice, who wouldn't choose green?
How to Find a Green Building
Since we are in the era of corporate social responsibility, the term "greening" has a lot of cache. It can be as hard to tell if a "green building" is actually environmentally efficient as it is to discern all natural, gluten-free, and low sugar from USDA Organic. Here are three important measures of green:
LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a certification program created in 1994 to identify and reward green buildings. For a building to become LEED certified it must complete a number of green projects, for example, landscaping with native drought tolerant plants, or rainwater collection and management. There are also required categories such as having a recycling program. For each project a building will get a certain number of points and with enough points it will be awarded one of the four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. To learn more about LEED certification visit our education center: http://42floors.com/edu/beyond-the-basics/what-is-a-leed-certification-and-how-do-you-get-leed-certified.
Energy Star is a voluntary program, created by the EPA in 1992 to encourage environmental stewardship in homes and businesses. For a business to qualify for Energy Star, it must pass the Green Business Program Standards for the three year recognition period. The standards are based on five sections: general, waste, energy, water, and pollution. They denote that a green business must do things like: post signs that encourage conservation, buy paper products with the highest post-consumer waste (PcW) recycled content, and eliminate the distribution of bottled water for employees and guests. Since most large office buildings take care of things like water and waste, Energy Star is an invaluable rating to watch for when you are looking to lease a floor in an office building.
Poor office locations lead to longer commutes, and more green house gas emissions. Walkscore.com provides an easy way to research a potential business location. Simply type in your prospective address and the site will find the walk score, transit score, and bike score for that location. A high walk score means that most errands can be accomplished on foot, it also includes the walkability of nearby schools and parks. A high transit score represents convenient public transportation and car shares, and the bike score will warn you about hills and steer you towards the bike lanes.