We all know that a vested interest in the future is what keeps businesses operating. What better way to showcase your investment than working in a green building? Not to mention, the employee perks associated with green building: cleaner indoor environmental quality, more natural lighting, green cleaning products, etc., all of these components contribute to the wellness, health, and productivity of your employees. Helping them stay happier and productive longer.
In addition to happier, more productive employees, as a business owner you get to be a part of the joyful process of LEED building. Learning the how, why and what of LEED gives individuals a peek into the green building industry and offers a green educational element to your building and to your business. There is something to be said when you take a client through your building and show them all of the sustainable measures you have taken, especially when most of these measures include new technology resulting in a cleaner environment and happier employees.
With the newest version of LEED (LEED v4) introduced at GreenBuild 2013 in November 2014. Many individuals, in multiple industries, are anxious to see what effect this has on business. The amount of transparency that is required for this new version is unparalleled and can only mean that business practices, especially in the supply chain, are going to begin drastically changing. This will help develop credibility with many companies and with more environmentally conscious people and businesses making better decisions regarding their employee and customer health, marketing has found a new opportunity.
Some benefits of LEED version 4 for your business are:
Location of your business: whether in the heart of the city or in the peripheral of the urban core, creating easy access for individuals is beneficial. This provides a marketing opportunity for you. If you are located downtown, where people can access your store/business from public transit, walking, or riding their bike, then you have already expanded your business to reach a demographic of individuals who may not have been able to access your business if a personal vehicle was required. Version 4 has actually added a new category specifically for this purpose. They are emphasizing the importance of accessibility and so should you if you want to expand your marketability. Typically, when operating out of an urban core, re-using buildings is quite common. Whether rehabbing the interior of a commercial building or completely renovating and leaving only the shell of a building, re-using an existing building brings business owners a sound mind; knowing that prime green space or farmland was saved in the process. Utilizing existing infrastructure is a core component of the LEED process and there is a sense of enjoyment that comes from making use of it.
Energy Efficiency: Energy efficiency has never before been such a hot topic. Everyone is looking to maximize energy efficiency and to save money. From a business perspective, the ROI on energy efficiency cannot be beat; yes, it typically requires a higher up front cost, but if planned properly, the money saved over the long run can be extraordinary. This not only helps you save money as a business, but some of that savings can run down the ladder and possibly save your customer money as well. Being able to market yourself and your business as a lower cost option do to savings in other areas, i.e. energy efficiency, allows for clients/customers to see that you still provide high quality services but with a lower overhead due to your intelligent building design choices. This also allows you to market yourself as a financially responsible business owner without having to come out and say it.
Indoor air quality: helps with productivity of your employees and allows for a healthier environment for them and for customers/clients. Does it get much better than saving on healthcare costs for your employees while at the same time increasing their productivity?
This is a win-win situation for everyone. It has been shown that businesses that operate in a LEED certified building decrease employee absenteeism, increase morale, and have a higher employee retention rate (we could link to a legitimate study that shows this). The great thing about having happy, healthy, and productive employees is that they market your business for you. This is a marketing opportunity that goes above and beyond just customers or clients; this also increases your marketability to an entire community, one where people want to work with you and for you.
Responsible Sourcing of All Raw Materials: In addition to using reused materials, if there are some new materials that you would like or must have in your office/building, LEED version 4 has addressed that as well. The new transparency requirements of version 4 are stringent; requiring manufacturers to disclose detailed information regarding the extraction of the raw materials used, the chemicals used in processing the raw materials, and the amount of chemicals still existing in the final product. If your business operates out of a LEED version 4 building, you have been given a marketing opportunity to show your customers, clients, and employees that you care about their health and the environment, adding even more credibility to your name or brand.