Building Green: The Economic Benefits of Energy Efficiency (Part 1)

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March 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm  •  Posted in Building Green  •  0 Comments

A commercial building should be energy efficient and cost effective to operate and maintain. Many buildings are powered by burning fossil fuels that produce waste and eat up resources. Nowadays, builders and end-users prefer to be “green” for a number of reasons. Buildings that waste energy also hemorrhage money—they’re costly to maintain and operate.

Despite industry standards and developments in energy efficiency, many buildings aren’t performing as optimally as they could be. (Like those windowless offices where nothing should live, plant nor human, with AC cranked in the summer and heat blazing in the winter.)

If we all took a minute to understand the full impact of our decisions, we’d approach the building process much differently. It should be our goal to do everything we can to achieve energy and cost savings, and create comfort for the end-user.

Builders want to improve their bottom line and increase ROI without spending capital funds. They also want to create buildings that people would be happy to live or work in. By committing to energy efficiency, contractors reduce costs and respond to the demand for “green” practices.

Energy efficiency pays dividends economically. Everyone wins: you, your clients, and the end-user.

Article Contents
In this article, I’ll touch on government certification, and tax rebates and incentives for energy-efficiency (“green” building) initiatives. Keep reading for more.

Tax Rebates & Incentives

Energy Efficiency Equals Savings

I hate to be the one to tell you, but you could be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars in savings and tax credits. (I know, it hurts.) The federal government offers a number of tax credits and incentives for energy efficiency improvements to commercial buildings.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a building may qualify for a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for energy-efficient solutions such as lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. You do the math—10,000 square feet times $1.80 equates to savings close to $20,000! Tax incentives and rebates never hurt, but lost savings and profits do.

Are you capitalizing on all the economic benefits that energy savings provide? When ROI is your goal, every dollar counts.

LEED Equals Tax Rebates/Zoning Allowances


I’m sure you’ve already heard of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). But did you know that you could qualify for money-saving tax rebates and zoning allowances as a result? Now do I have your attention?

LEED, primarily for new building construction, is the Holy Grail for green buildings. Buildings are rated on a number of sustainability factors, from CO2 emissions to overall energy efficiency. LEED measures a building’s energy efficiency, from design and construction, to operation and maintenance. Projects and buildings that meet LEED standards earn points and achieve various levels of certification. By understanding and adhering to LEED, you’ll reduce costs for your clients and the end-user.

Take-Home Lesson
A green building should be both energy efficient and cost effective, and there are government certifications to reward energy-efficient practices. Going “green” is no longer just a trend, it’s a requirement for doing business. Smart contractors (that means you) will stay up to speed on what’s required, and the incentives and tax credits available.

The Latest on Energy Efficiency
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Stay Tuned for Part 2
In part 2 of this blog post, I’ll dive into ENERGY STAR certification and energy-efficient building systems. Stay tuned for the second part of this article.

Ryan Thompson, National Market Manager for Energy at Graybar
About The Author
Ryan Thompson, National Market Manager for Energy at Graybar

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