Getting a handle on “Green”

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Tina Haubert
Energy and Sustainability Services

Results of a new poll, reported by BusinessGreen.com, finds that most people feel that they are getting conflicting messages when it comes to maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. More than half of the respondents said they receive conflicting information while only 12 percent of adults said there was consistent information on how to be green. Click here to read more.

Although this was a consumer survey conducted in the UK, I doubt the results would be much different in the B-to-B world. Even those of us trying to be sustainable at work and at home have to deal with inconsistent information. Just one example: Automotive industry sources say the batteries in electric vehicles make them worse for the environment than Hummers; environmental sources say this is false information spread by a change-resistant industry. No wonder we’re confused!

Skepticism affects the real estate industry, too. Investors and lenders are cautious about spending on energy and sustainability upgrades, and this caution is fueled by reports that LEED certified buildings may not always perform as well as expected in the long run. In surveys, many tenants say they will pay more rent in a green building, but owners say this willingness is rarely seen in lease negotiations.

But there’s no confusion in my mind about the effectiveness of energy and sustainability in buildings. Our core message – a well designed program will produce a solid return on investment – has been proven true over and over. A building with aggressive energy management will prove out in reduced operating costs… every time.

If companies are looking for sustainability strategies that get unequivocal results, they should focus on the buildings they own and lease.

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