The Impact of Building Green
By now, the benefits of building green are well documented. Environmental and economic impacts lead the list of superlatives often heaped on U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)-certified buildings, otherwise known as LEED-accredited. What was relatively unknown at the time of the birth of the commercially-viable LEED structure was whether the projected impacts on employees would be achieved, and recent survey results show the net impact of green building goes deeper than ever thought.
From lower operational costs to greater worker satisfaction, the impact of green building is readily reinforced by data from industry reporting that shows workers are paying attention to companies that invest in healthier facilities. Additionally, building managers are reporting that projected cost savings were not the stuff of fantasy; they’re real and LEED building owners are realizing savings in as little as one year.
While it can seem risky to invest heavily in a new platform or philosophy, certified green buildings are proving that the rewards are worth being a leader in an emerging field.
Attracting – and Retaining – Workers
Survey results of employees working in green buildings demonstrate that workers take the impact of sustainable work environments seriously: more than 90% of workers in LEED-certified buildings reported being satisfied with their jobs, while close to 80% of job applicants said they would prefer a job in LEED-certified environment over a non-LEED workspace.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as large employers increasingly take stock of the physical layout of the environments workers spend their days in. For instance, the open office layout is now seen as an antiquated design that encourages noise pollution and discourages employee productivity. Employers are now looking to create separate environments to facilitate both collaboration and privacy when needed, as opposed to a wide-open space that adversely affect worker comfort.
Air quality is another metric where employers are wise to pay attention to employee needs, as one survey taken among employees of a major design and engineering firm showed 76% of respondents were more satisfied with the air quality in the firm’s new building than the old one.
If companies are not paying attention to employee happiness, they are overlooking a significant metric that can spell the difference between retaining their best workers or losing them to a rival firm.
Green Buildings Impact the Bottom Line
While the upfront costs to spend more on sustainable materials and construction may dissuade some building owners from pursuing such projects, LEED property owners report that they expect to see operating costs drop by 6% within one year of operation, while over 80% reported similar expectations within the next five years.
Coupled with an expectation of 20% lower maintenance costs than non-LEED commercial buildings and a drop in operational costs of 10% within one year of facility opening, it’s immediately evident that sustainable construction is leaving a mark on building owners everywhere.
This has an additional benefit that would have been impossible to predict until after these sustainable buildings matured: increasing property values. Yes, the lower operating costs and satisfaction of occupants have enabled LEED-certified buildings to achieve higher values, rounding out the list of impacts that industry experts can confidently tout as the benefits of building green.
When Taking Chances Matters
Similar to green building, new technology platforms that once seemed foreign and far-fetched are generating positive results for end-users. Cloud computing, collaboration software, mobile field applications and more are all helping construction project managers realize net gains in efficiency and satisfaction among project team members.
While investing in a transformative software platform may seem daunting, the experts at USI are prepared to help you understand the potential impacts and benefits of every new construction technology.
Contact us today for more information or a product demonstration.
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