Green Building Benefits Property Owners

Green features of buildings can help tenants and your insurance policies. (Photo: City Caucus [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

In a time where businesses across the nation are facing cutbacks and searching for penny-pinching measures, green building may not earn a second thought. However, a new list from Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company urges building owners to consider building, and renovating, with the environment in mind. The company recently published a list of green building benefits including advantages to building green and disadvantages of not doing so.

Although constructing a green building may cost more upfront, the payoffs of an eco-friendly building are numerous. According to the Fireman’s Fund press release (PDF), “Green buildings generate an average increase of 7.5 percent in a building’s value and a 6.6 percent improvement in return on investment, while decreasing operating costs by 8 to 9 percent, according to McGraw-Hill Construction.”

Other benefits include high rent and occupancy rates, lower energy costs, lower insurance rates, and the ability to draw in higher-quality tenants, including government agencies.

If you’re not sold on the benefits of building green, the insurance company has created a list of the disadvantages of not building green. The first item in their list is that buildings that aren’t built, or retrofitted, with the environment in mind will be obsolete much sooner than green counterparts. The USGBC’s LEED rating system is growing in popularity and as corporations begin to focus on environmental and social responsibility, they are demanding green office space.

Other disadvantages are that non-green buildings are a major contributor to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions; the buildings are also a regulatory, regulational and transactional risk.

Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company does have a vested interest in urging companies to focus on green buildings. The insurance company created a special line of insurance products tailored towards green building -- Green-Gard. The product line was created in 2006 and earned the insurance company a spot in the Environmental Defense Fund’s Innovations Review 2008.

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