There are many factors to consider when managing the costs of a commercial building. For instance, most managers mistakenly link energy use as their highest operating cost, in which the average building may spend $3.65 per square foot per year. In fact, this pales in comparison to labor, which may be as high as $130 per square foot per person per year.
This is why it is important to take into account several factors - including the behavioral aspect - of operations when evaluating the consumption of a particular building. This helps to integrate a quantifiable means of increasing a building's productivity through energy management, water use and occupant health and comfort. Most of this observational data can be acquired without interfering in the normal business operations of the building or commercial tenant.
Energy professionals can integrate a wide range of possibilities for facilities, from low- or no- cost maintenance policy to energy efficient retrofits or renewable installations. For many commercial buildings, special attention must be paid to the bottom line.
Funding sources for energy efficiency projects can be as varied as the projects themselves, which is why contact with banks, private investors and government agencies should be addressed to define a clear ROI.
In a 2007 survey, nearly 80 percent of corporate executives say sustainability is a major issue for today's businesses, and are willing to pay a premium to achieve it. (CoreNet Global and Jones Lang LaSalle, Oct. 2007). Of the 418 respondents to the survey, 79 percent said that sustainable business practices are an important issue now or will be within the next two years.
Of that same group, 77 percent said they are willing to pay a premium for that sustainability, which begs the question: why? Recent studies have found that LEED costs only 1 to 5 percent more than conventional construction, with that cost steadily declining.
It is important to center projects on practical means for office spaces to become sustainable. Whether by using ROI from recommended improvements to fund other, more expensive applications, or introducing sustainable waste management policies that cost less, energy efficiency can fit effectively into the leanest of budgets.