While we wait for the right combination of home energy management tools, visual reports, and incentives for people to choose green-built homes over conventional ones, the business sector has blazed its own trail. Always concerned about the bottom line, entrepreneurs have been quick to embrace renewable energy and efficient building design.

A new report from McGraw Hill Construction, in partnership with Waste Management, found the percentage of retail owners that have chosen to make more than half of their new buildings are green has jumped from 18 percent in 2011 to 38 percent in 2013. The authors of Green Retail and Hospitality: Capitalizing on the Growth in Green Building Investments project this number will climb as high as 52 percent in the next two years.

green building under construction
Image via Wikimedia Commons

The report surveyed 79 retail, 30 hotel and 22 restaurant owners, and defined a green building project as one built to LEED or another recognized green building standard, or one that take significant steps toward energy and water efficiency, improved indoor air quality and material resource conservation.

Hotel owners in particular have been making great strides toward greener buildings. The report showed that 48 percent of hotel owners are “highly involved” in green building–up from 28 percent just two years ago. It predicted that number will rise to 62 percent by 2015. Nor by any means is this surge of green building limited to new construction. The report found that nearly two-thirds of retail and three quarters of hotel owners surveyed also expect to invest in general green operations and maintenance practices by 2015.

Why such enthusiasm for green building, you ask? Because it pays off, of course. The report found that those in the hospitality business enjoyed an 11 percent increase in asset value, a 14 percent rise in the building’s return on investment and a 1 percent decrease in annual operating costs, when they chose to build green.

Likewise, those running retail businesses enjoyed a 7 percent increase in asset value, 8 percent building ROI and 8 percent drop, on average, in annual operating costs when choosing green building strategies over conventional ones.


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