The Green Building Certification has caught up with the Real Estate Market very rapidly since its inception in 1990. This third party certification focuses on sustainable development through environmentally healthy and high performing spaces.
Bob O’Brien, the US real-estate giant, in a 2015 interview pointed to the increasing awareness of sustainability initiatives and implementations that are aimed at energy, water, and waste efficiency as part of initiatives in green building certifications.
What is a Green Building Certification?
Buildings play an extensive role in environmental pollution. They tend to consume water, energy, and raw materials not only during their construction but throughout occupancy, renovation, and demolition. They generate waste, and pollute the atmosphere with potentially harmful emissions. This has led the way to the creation of new and stringent standards for “green building”.
In 1990 the Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) launched the first green building rating system in the world. This rating system is intended to mitigate the impact of buildings on the natural environment by ensuring and monitoring sustainable design and construction.
To quote Mr. O’Brien, “...Going forward, adoption, measurement, and reporting of sustainability initiatives will be a business imperative, given the broader benefits on rental growth, yield premiums, total occupancy costs, asset values, and marketability.”
The evaluation criteria for Green Building
Since sustainability and resource efficiency is a much wider concept in its own, it is important to understand that the fulfillment of Green Building criteria is both necessary and elaborate. The innumerable factors that the stakeholders have to consider from choosing an appropriate construction location to selecting energy-efficient building materials and implementing rainwater harvesting are all needed to qualify for the Green Building Certification. However, there are certain aspects taken into account by the governing body. These are:
Indoor Air Quality- The Green Building Certification depends on the quality of indoor air with the use of eco-friendly materials, segments of passive cooling etc. It also keeps a check on the minimum chemical emission into account and its effect on the indoor premises.
The use of reusable and renewable resources- The building must be constructed using reusable and renewable resources that can be broken down into raw material for recycled use. These criteria are inspected and certified by an independent third party ailment.
Energy Efficiency- A building must be designed to reduce the generation of energy either through heating or cooling units. As an alternative use natural resources like thermal power and energy waste reduction techniques to combat exceeding the quantifying and qualifying measures of being energy efficient.
Water Conservation- Just like shrinking the need for energy consumption, the building must include elements to conserve water through rainwater harvesting, prevent pollutants from entering the local water supply etc.
These criteria need to be fulfilled to qualify for the Green Building certification and according to Terri Will, CEO of the World Green Building Council, “The study, supported by our GBCs in five regions, demonstrates that green building is seen by industry as a key business benefit; and that around the world green building is considered to have an impact beyond significant environmental benefits, such as increased employee productivity and satisfaction,”
Why is Green Building a good investment in Real Estate?
Now that you have all essential requisites for a Green Building Certification, you need to know what the benefits are of constructing a green building from the investors’ perspective.
Lower Operating Costs- Design for development. It has unique construction and design that is meant to cut down on energy and water consumptions by placing windows, ventilators etc in strategic positions that efficiently reduce much of the operational cost. Implementing natural resource powered appliances like lights and heaters is also some of the aspects that reduce the utility bills of the developers.
Structural Benefits- There are additional structural benefits provided by some of the municipal corporations in terms of developing a Green Building that is in compliance with the Statewise sustainable construction goals. The incentives that are provided for such a sustainable construction can be many like expedited permitting process, height, floor or area ration benefits etc.
Tax Incentives- There are a few states that provide tax benefits that encourage builders to construct Green buildings. Energy efficient and sustainable architecture is a prime need of the hour and thus some states have tax exemptions, tax rebates, zoning allowances, special mortgage programmes etc. The Real Estate industry includes these if you are planning to contribute to the environment, strategically.
Rising Rental Rates- A healthy and safe environment is slowly but steadily becoming the necessity for all. Due to modern designs that allow exceptional benefits of living around an eco-friendly environment, the demand for green buildings is grossing the charts. Eliminating the concrete, hazardous jungles, people are wanting to shift to cleaner and greener places, thus property owners have the leverage to charge handsome rental packages.
Higher Occupancy Rates- Who doesn’t want to be part of a community that promotes sustainable living? Green buildings always stay in demand and since it is under check by various institutions over a period of time, it continues to provide all the assured greener initiatives. This adds a plus point to level the occupancy rates which is not certain for other buildings but stays balanced for Green buildings.
Climatic Contributions- Directly or indirectly, Green Buildings contribute to better environmental conditions. The lower carbon and toxic gas emission from in and around the premises of a Green building is substantially contributing to the healthy lifestyle of people living in and around the building. As per the report by GSA, LEED-certified buildings, in comparison to the national building emission averages, emit around 36 percent less CO2.
Health Benefits- Breathing in filtered and natural light and air is beneficial for the well-being of people and green buildings are a significant example of those. A gift of sustainable architecture and design are freeway well-ventilated passages, a natural environment having trees and plants, reduced levels of Co2 in the atmosphere etc.
The Green Building Certificate has become a vital part of the Real Estate industry. Taking on the initiative of environmental responsibility, such a grading standard validates and encourages a well-monitored and eco-conscious planning and construction. However, with other reforms clubbed together with Green Building Certification, there are plans to expand the concept of ‘well-planned’ greener cities and countries.