According to a recent press release by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the world’s most successful companies are placing a heavy emphasis on green building and corporate social responsibility. Furthermore, the large majority of these businesses are using LEED, the world’s top green building initiative, to realize their goals. The press release comes on the heels of a study that analyzed Fortune 200 companies and their commitment to the environment.
Findings Prove LEED’s Success
The findings from the LEED and the Corporate Build Environment study revealed some pretty interesting conclusions. A hefty 82 percent of respondents said their companies are likely to continue pursuing LEED goals over the next three-plus years. Approximately 80 percent agree that LEED plays a key role in how they communicate sustainability to stakeholders and customers. An impressive 70 percent say the pursue LEED as a way of saving money through energy efficiency. When looked at from a top-down perspective, 60 percent of the Fortune 200 companies surveyed believe LEED has a positive ROI.
“This survey demonstrates how successful we’ve been in helping link profit to planet and why LEED continues to be the market leader, certifying 1.85 million square feet of commercial space every day,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USCBC CEO and founding chair.
However, not all countries around the world are experiencing such widespread success with green building and eco-friendly business practices. Despite efforts from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and eco-friendly companies like Sydney Emergency Plumbing, Australia – among other countries – is finding it challenging to successfully encourage widespread adoption of green construction and ongoing maintenance.
“We can’t say that we lack the consulting, engineering and architectural capability for green building in Australia,” said Maria Atkinson, co-founder and former CEO of GBCA. Instead, it comes down to a lack of communication between key players. Atkinson believes these problems could be remediated by following international codes and criteria for energy efficiency.
Benefits of Green Construction
By fixing these communicative issues, Australia could enjoy many of the same benefits that U.S.-based companies currently experience with green construction. Some of these advantages include things like:
- Lower ongoing expenses. One study suggests green buildings use 26 percent less energy when compared to traditional counterparts. On average, operating costs for these businesses are eight or nine percent lower. Over the course of a year, that eight or nine percent reduction can equal thousands of dollars in savings – an immediate and tangible return for businesses willing to invest in green construction.
- Higher building value. The same study found that green buildings are valued 7.5 percent higher than traditional buildings and have a 3.5 percent greater occupancy ratio. Furthermore, they provide a 6.6 percent better total return on investment.
- Environmental benefits. However, it’s not all about financial returns and profits. Green buildings also result in healthier local environments. Conscientious building processes lead to less waste, meaning landfills are spared large amounts of excess trash and debris. Additionally, fewer emissions and gasses mean less pollution and better air quality.
- Employee satisfaction. Another practical, yet oft forgotten benefit is related to employee satisfaction. Employees feel happier and healthier when working in green buildings. This indirectly leads to more productivity and higher retention rates.
The Future is Green
While the United States is currently leading the way in green construction, the gap is closing (and that’s a good thing). Countries like Australia understand the importance of green building and are working hard to develop strategies and legislation that encourages widespread adoption of these practices. Whether it’s the GBCA or local plumbing companies, everyone is banding together to place an emphasis on a healthier, greener tomorrow.