Should all new buildings be energy efficient?

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As the world becomes increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, it’s no surprise that newer office buildings are built with sustainable materials and with energy efficiency in mind. With urgency around the race to Net Zero, the climate crisis becoming more visible, and energy prices increasing, new buildings must prioritize energy efficiency to be a smart investment.

But, we know that energy efficiency is easier said than done. Should all new buildings be energy efficient? Keep reading to learn about the benefits of energy efficiency in new buildings.

Long-term energy savings

According to the World Economic Forum research, buildings account for 40% of global energy consumption. Not only is energy usage often the largest OpEx expense in commercial buildings, but the environmental impact of energy that is often wasted is significant. 

You can, however, ensure your building is more energy efficient by prioritizing  energy-saving options such as:

By choosing to prioritize energy efficiency in a new building, you can reduce your building’s energy consumption by a significant percentage — saving on your monthly utility bills while also reducing your carbon footprint.

Lower environmental impact

If you are choosing materials, systems, and strategies that will continuously reduce your energy consumption, your building’s environmental impact will automatically be lowered by conserving energy, reducing CO2 emissions, and reducing water consumption. 

With commercial buildings responsible for 28% of all carbon emissions, dedicating a new building to focus on energy efficiency can create a massive impact on its immediate surroundings and on the environment as a whole.

How does the building’s design affect energy efficiency?

The design of your building (think dome-shaped structures are more energy-efficient because they reduce air penetration due to having fewer corners) or the orientation of your building (the way the sun hits your building will have a unique effect on the heat it retains) can positively affect the efficiency of your building. Using the natural environment (such as the weather, sunlight, etc.) around your building to support energy efficiency within your building is a cost-effective way to lower your environmental impact.

Adhere to regulations and avoid penalties

You can avoid hefty fines and regulatory penalties (especially if you’re located in New York City or Boston) by making your new building a more sustainable and cost-effective investment. 

Even in instances where choosing a more sustainable material is the more expensive option up front, the long-term savings from both monthly OpEx costs and the avoidance of heavy regulation fines and penalties will make these materials a smart investment.

Enhanced building health and comfort

With more tenant demands for a healthier and safer building coming out of the pandemic, creating an attractive, healthy, and comfortable building is a necessity for attracting tenants.

A new energy-efficient office building will improve the occupants’ health and meet your tenants’ expectations for working in a building they know is striving to make a difference on the environment.

Improved building value

One of the most important reasons you should invest in energy efficiency is the tremendous increase in building value. According to Energy Star, buildings that are more energy efficient tend to have higher occupancy rates and an increase in asset value than typical buildings. 

The results indicate that energy-efficient buildings might increase their market value if you decide to relocate or sell them. They also came up with this data about the rise in selling price, rent premiums, and occupancy level:

  • Selling prices went up from 1% to 31% 
  • Premiums on rentals rising from  3% to 16%
  • Occupancy levels increase by up to 10%

Key takeaway

You cannot overstate the importance of energy-efficient buildings. By investing in buildings that have a design to save energy, you make an environmentally conscious and financially smart investment.

Looking to decarbonize your portfolio, but don’t know where to start? Get a custom decarbonization plan with one of our sustainability experts to get started!

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