Want to Go Green with ROI?

Many of us want to “Go Green” but are uncertain if there will be a Return on Investment.  And there is no easy answer to that question. However there are many things we can do to reduce property operating costs and, at the same time, do the right thing in helping protect the environment as well. 

To help you “Go Green” we have put a few low cost – no cost suggestions together that will yield savings to the bottom line and help you contribute to saving the environment…

Here are a few tips:

1) Reduce Energy Use

Most corporate offices leave their computers on 24/7.  By implementing a mandatory power cycle every night when the office is closed down, you could save as much as $100 per year per computer. If your facility is 24/7, like the place I work at, you could implement a policy that says employees must power down when they leave for the day. Whether it is forced or un-forced the savings are the same. The same could be said for peripherals like printers and fax machines (if not being used).

The idea here is to think outside of the box. Energy is getting more expensive and you want to look at ways to reduce your usage. If you are a one-facility operation, the cost savings may be minimal - perhaps up to a few thousand per year. If you are a huge network of facilities you could wind up saving in the hundreds of thousands by adopting policies to reduce energy use.

2) Improve Lighting

Switching to energy saving bulbs could wind up saving hand over fist. Using natural lighting could obviously save a lot more. The energy efficient bulbs on the market often tout a 30% reduction in costs. If you find a way to use natural lighting effectively, you could wind up saving even more than 30%.

Another option is the changing of all of the overhead lights over the warehouse aisles to low energy bulbs and have them motion sensored. All of the offices and bathrooms have also been outfitted with motion sensors. Install skylights to allow for more natural light to come in and provide a well-lit working environment. This cuts down on electrical use AND it creates a safer working environment.

Consider exterior light percolation into buildings by proper arboriculture (tree canopy) practices and assessments.

3) Duplexing Copies

By duplexing copies, the amount of paper consumed can be literally cut in half and a corresponding cost savings in paper purchased would be realized.  The savings are, of course, dependant on usage.  If one was to spend $4,000 per year on paper, the savings could be close to $2,000.  However, if that savings were applied to a company with, say, 40 offices nationwide, the savings per year could be in excess of $80,000.  Do the math and you will find a surprising savings is available, no matter the size of the office…

4) Healthy Indoor Air Quality

If you focus on using green building products, the air quality should be better. What’s this mean for the bottom line? Less sick days! And how much do sick days cost you? According to about.com:
According to CCH Incorporated, a company that produces electronic and print products for the tax, legal, securities, insurance, human resources, health care, and small business markets, unscheduled absenteeism can cost up to an average of $602 per employee, per year.
This cost does not include indirect costs such as overtime pay for other employees, hiring temps, missed deadlines, lost sales, sinking morale and lower productivity. Indirect costs can add up to 25 percent to the direct costs, according to Employee Benefit News and HR News.

It seems like creating a healthier environment for your employees could definitely cut costs, then. A facility with 100 employees could potentially cut the sick days down by 10%. That would save $60 per employee, or $6,000.


Also consider the original “green industry” of interior and exterior foliage or landscape components in your commercial real estate management.  Interior foliage is one of the original air filtration devices and tenant appreciation amenities.

Please join our committee on March 17th for a special presentation by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.  They will present business rebates that save resources and dollars!  The meeting is at 12:00 and lunch is provided!  RSVP to BOMA office.  Our guest speaker will discuss rebate programs that include:

Conservation For Businesses
Are you a Santa Clara County business about high water use and its related cost? The following programs will help get your business on the water-saving track:

  • Water-Use Surveys for Businesses
  • Commercial High-Efficiency Toilet Program
  • Toilet and Urinal Rebates for Businesses
  • Commercial Water Softener Rebate Program
  • Water Submeter Rebate Program
  • Water Efficient Technologies (WET) Program
  • Landscape Survey Program
  • Landscape Rebate Program


By Mike Harris, Swinterton Buildings, in cooperation with Jackie Mezeul and Melody Spradlin.
Energy & Sustainable Management Committee

It is the Mission of this committee to be a resource for the Members of BOMA for developing their the understanding and knowledge of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability and to support our members in applying that knowledge and understanding to Building Management and to partner with Regulatory Agencies.


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