In theory, sustainable design is a win-win concept. Yet, many business owners shy away from eco-friendly development due to perceived damage to the budget. With ever-expanding technologies, sustainable design is more affordable than ever and can save what matters most-The Bottom Line.
Here are five power-savvy measures that will cut costs and carbon:
Automate It: At home, we turn out the lights; we harangue our families to flick the switch whenever a room is unused. Yet, in the workplace, the lights are always on. The pale glow of empty office buildings dot the midnight skyline and the power companies count the cash. By installing dimming and timed light fixtures or utilizing EPA preferred fixtures, a business can save up to 50% of their lighting costs. With additional considerations, a 10,000 square foot building could qualify for an additional $6,000 in government incentives.
Look to the Stars: Most industrialized nations have instituted efficiency merit systems similar to the U.S. Energy Star rating. Energy-efficient equipment is available in ranges including computers, hot water systems, air conditioners, and even toasters for the office lunchroom. 100 energy-rated computers, alone, save companies an average of $300 in operating costs each year. That doesn’t include monitors, printers, phone systems, and the hundreds of other office products found in everyday businesses. With energy-efficiency becoming standard, the cost to upgrade your systems is next to nothing, and the benefits are endless.
Make an Exit: The next time an exit sign goes on the fritz, don’t reach for the spare bulbs and wire in the supply closet. Consider zero-energy photoluminescent products, instead. With an installation of only 100 green exit signs, the average business can expect $3,500 in operation and maintenance savings over standard electric signs. Using tritium exit signs to save on energy? The disposal of tritium exit signs that have become damaged entails hazardous waste handling, which can be costly. Photoluminescent exit signs are 100% recyclable.
Green it up: Not all energy savings come from the interior of a building. Mindful landscaping can reduce heating and cooling costs, and can reduce the energy required to power irrigation systems. A single shade tree can offer as much as $100 in annual energy savings. Plan your worksite landscaping with the regional climate in mind, and consider vertical plantings and roof gardens which provide natural insulation. The benefits will be evident when the power bills arrive.
Hot Stays Hot: Properly insulating your building with sustainable products and upgrading window seals can spare your budget a lot of strain. A standard 10,000 square foot office building in a temperate climate, efficiently insulated, saves nearly $2,000 in annual electricity costs. For the eco-conscious business owner, that translates to a greenhouse gas reduction of over 31,000 pounds per year, based on coal-powered electricity.
Totaled, these five aspects of more sustainable design can save a mid-sized office more than $11,800 in the first year, alone. Add to that the increasing number of state and federal rebates and incentives offered to businesses for sustainable design and your budget, as well as the environment, will thank you.