The residential real estate market has seen an increase in the amount of “greenhouses” over the past decade. Sustainable practices were important to homeowners that wanted to choose a green lifestyle. Now the business world is catching up.
A number of green office buildings around the country are on the rise as entrepreneurs start to realize the benefits. If you are ready to make the move to a green workspace, here are some things to keep in mind.
Green office amenities
When you’re looking for a green office remember both the quality of air and the air temperature will have an impact on the space. Employees are healthier and able to focus better in buildings that contain less carbon dioxide and VOCs.
In fact, one study found when office air quality was improved the company saw a 10% increase in productivity. Statistics have also shown that office buildings with higher air quality experienced a 35% reduction in employee sick leave.
Pay attention to the buildings that surrounding the office building. Avoid buildings that are surrounded by manufacturing plants that emit air pollutants. Improve the commute for employees by ensuring your office is easy to reach. It will also eliminate the amount of time they spend stuck in traffic surrounded by car exhaust.
The majority of employees do not enjoy working in cubicle farms. Studies have found that cubicles actually reduce productivity and negatively impact health. Access to sunshine and natural light improves employee morale.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine conducted a study in 2014 and found workers slept 46 minutes longer when exposed to natural light. Employees that sleep better are more productive during their work day.
Open office layouts have become a popular trend in the workplace. While this layout does help to reduce a number of building materials needed, thus lowering the carbon footprint, it can have a negative impact on productivity.
When choosing an office space layout consider which departments would benefit from working in closed quarters. Some jobs need more division of space. However, there are other roles, such as graphic designers, that typically benefit from working collaboratively in an open workspace.
LEED certification is a must-have for green office space
LEED-certified office spaces come out on top in terms of sustainability. LEED-certified office buildings are resource efficient. They use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As an added bonus, they save money. These buildings can be more expensive to rent, purchase, or build, but companies come out ahead with a great return on investment. LEED certified spaces offer the following business benefits:
- Charge premium rent: LEED-certified building owners are able to charge more for office space
- Lower operating costs: LEED-certified buildings reportedly experience an average decrease in operating costs of 25%. A 2012 study found that green facilities lowered their annual utilities cost per employee by $675.26.
- Attract quality renters: Higher office space prices do not negatively impact vacancy rates, generally speaking, which delivers a greater ROI when compared to traditional buildings.
The demand for green buildings is on the rise. The millennial workforce is more aware of green practices than previous generations. As they continue to move into the business world the prioritize companies that hold similar values, green office demand will continue to rise.
How to choose a green office space
Looking for a green office space isn’t always as easy as it seems. There are many considerations to make before signing a lease or purchasing a building. It is crucial to consider how the office space will play into your long-term business plan. Choosing a small space today when you plan to quickly grow your staff over the next two years may not be the wisest business decision.
Think through the following scenarios:
- How does this space work with the timeline for my business growth and long-term business goals?
- Would a building with shared common spaces accommodate the business?
- Do the amenities match what the company needs? Are the bathrooms sufficient? Is there ample parking? Will the technology available meet the needs of the company?
- Does the space check off all of the boxes on the “need to have” list and does it meet any of the bonus items?
- How much will the utilities cost?
- How much will it cost to furnish the building?
Choosing an office space is never easy. Choosing a sustainable office space is even harder. However, companies benefit in many ways by choosing a green office. Their employees are healthier and more productive, operating costs are lower, and they often see a good return on their investment when selling or leasing the space. However, the main goal when choosing a green office space is to ensure it meets current and future needs of the company.
This article has been edited.
Sacha Ferrandi is the Founder and Principal at Source Capital Funding Inc. and Texas Hard Money. As an expert in commercial and residential real estate with over 12 years of experience in the industry, Sacha works with business properties of all varieties. Since the inception, Source Capital, he has been responsible for overseeing the entire firm’s operations including the funding of hundreds of millions of dollars in private loans. Connect with @sourcecapital on Twitter.
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