"Going Green" - Commercial Real Estate
Updated: Jun 26
Considering the economic environment and its recent effects on commercial real estate, going green is a wise way to reduce the cost of operating office buildings, retail stores, manufacturing facilities and shopping centers. Tenants and landlords can have significant savings on energy costs by adopting any number of green business practices, and help the environment as well.
One option available is solar window film, which lowers the indoor air temperature to reduce cooling costs. The newer films are revolutionary because, unlike earlier versions, they do not darken the interior environment. They achieve this performance by absorbing ultraviolet and infrared radiation while allowing visible light to pass into the building. More than half of the sun's energy is reflected away from the building by solar window films, significantly increasing the level of indoor comfort. Some newer films are able to not only block light, but actually produce energy. They house ultra-thin photovoltaic material components that generate electricity during the day.
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 provides special tax credits to homeowners who install energy-efficient improvements such as photovoltaic window films. Recent spikes in energy prices have also created a strong incentive for the commercial real estate community to adopt green business practices. These incentives will help offset installation costs.
Window films are of course just one way to reduce energy costs in your office. Consider the following green options:
mineral wool insulation. Although mineral wool occurs naturally, it is produced commercially using basalt and iron ore slag that is melted down, spun into fibers and held together with a special resin. This material provides excellent heat resistance as well as sound dampening and fire resistance. Coupled with the EPA requirement to be made with 75% recycled content, mineral wool is an attractive choice for green commercial building insulation.
effective lighting. The topic of green lighting is so vast that it deserves a separate article. Commercial tenants and landlords should explore their options, which range from light emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to lesser-known implementations of light tubes, light shelves and skylights.
leakage through the building envelope. A huge amount of heat is lost in commercial offices through gaps in the building envelope, in places such as electrical outlets, mail slots, window frames, baseboards, and around pipes and wires. An property inspector trained in performing energy audits can perform the tests necessary to determine where energy is being lost and how to fix the problem.
In short, there are many options for commercial businesses looking to reduce energy costs. The above options are just a few that you may want to consider.
If you would like to review your building's opportunity for green upgrades, call LiteHouse Commercial today to discuss a Cincinnati area Commercial Property Inspection.