The Recession and LEED® – part 5

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Did you know that certain energy companies (ESCOs) will actually pay all or part of a building’s up-front sustainable green project costs?  Could there be a stronger endorsement for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) and for the EPA’s Energy Star program?  A LEED® certification assures property owners of qualification for many financial benefits.In some circumstances, these forward-thinking energy companies actually allow repayment over time through the proceeds of newly created energy savings.  Some energy companies will even install solar power or other alternative energy sources and will allow owners to repay over time at a prearranged schedule.Believe it or not, the recession is providing expanded opportunities for owners of newly LEED® certified buildings.  Financial support is not limited to energy providers.In addition to considerable federal and local energy tax credits and energy buy-back programs, the Building Owners and Managers Association International and the Real Estate Roundtable support a new $3 billion energy efficiency initiative.  The USGBC has proposed a $15 billion green schools retrofit program.  The federal government is in the midst of finalizing a $75 billion sustainable building revolving loan program.Building owners who follow the money will soon realize that the recession is providing aggressive first-time sustainable incentives.  Many of the programs specifically refer to the LEED® rating system as the independent third party benchmark system for sustainability.In today’s low cost, competitive construction environment, the time to start greening could not be better.  What building managers report is that every tenant in today’s market is a valuable commodity.  And, tenants want space in energy efficient, sustainable buildings and they are willing to pay for that space.There are many ways to begin greening.  Simple, things like converting to efficient light bulbs, instituting aggressive recycling programs, and maximizing equipment efficiency generate savings and send a message.Landlords are constantly surprised by the enthusiastic response to the simplest sustainable improvement.  New windows, HVAC upgrades and Energy Star involvement will start the sustainable ball rolling.  It really is about time!

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