Top 6 Green Upgrades for Commercial Buildings
It’s not always easy to decide which green updates to make to a building that likely needs a lot of improvements. Just as homeowners seek green upgrades for their homes, business owners and investors of commercial buildings want their clients to be happy and healthy. However, they also need to pay attention to their bottom lines as well. Luckily, there are options available that can both protect an owner’s bottom line and promote their brand and image to the surrounding community. Here are six upgrades to consider that manage to look out for both goals.
Multiple Water Heaters
A single water heater in a commercial building is an invitation to waste energy. Unless owners need huge tanks of water, a point-of- use water heater installed in the most popular parts of the building may be just the trick to cut back on utility bills. These smaller heaters need shorter pipes to run, which is just one of the ways they’re more efficient than larger water heaters. Most buildings don’t even consider this option, which is disappointing because it takes plenty of energy and money to heat a huge vat of H 2 O.
Solar panels immediately help a commercial building become more recognizable (if not by the general public than at least by future tenants.) It’s one of the most visible ways for a building to pledge their allegiance to the green movement. Oh, and they can also reduce your energy bills. This move saves tenants from a fluctuating energy market or sporadic power outages. Plus, solar panels may be far more affordable than owners or investors realize. Those who manage commercial buildings should check with their community leaders to see if they’re eligible for additional incentives beyond the standard tax credit. We also recommend using a solar advisor or broker to help get the best pricing and maximize the incentives. They take on the heavy lifting of getting through the transition to solar energy, from site visit to financing and installation.
Micro-grid infrastructure is an additional upgrade for buildings that are already using solar panels or other green energy. With this solution, owners can transform the space to make sustainable energy more accessible to different parts of the building. This type of even distribution allows owners more flexibility when it comes to implementing energy solutions that can slash their utility bills. For example, it allows for a battery bank that can store excess electricity until it’s needed. This step is exceptionally labor-intensive, so it may work best for large buildings suffering under heavy utility bills.
For owners who may not want to go so far as to rewire their entire building to a micro-grid infrastructure, they may want to consider using reclaimed resources to upgrade their building. This could be anything from using old wood or metal to complete building improvement projects to adopting rainwater to run a sprinkler system. Setting up a rainwater barrel is not only easy, it’s also affordable and perfect for putting out fires and watering the grass. It may even add value to the property from investors looking to cut down on water bills.
Single-pane windows can destroy a building’s HVAC efficiency, forcing business owners to shell out countless dollars to heat or cool the air outside. But double-pane windows can make it easier to protect both the air quality and the energy use within the building. (Those with older double-pane windows may want to ensure that their windows seal correctly before assuming their efficiency.) Some building owners may opt for a low-e coating along their windows that will actively work to stop heat from penetrating either side of the glass.
The green energy movement may have once been on the fringes of society, but public opinion has changed dramatically. These upgrades can not only save money on bills, they can also give a building a new way to present themselves to the public and to their tenants. Both owners and investors can use these changes to position themselves as game players in a competitive world.
Guest blogger Dylan Snyder leads the Snyder Group at Keller Williams Realty. A second generation REALTOR® and lifelong Florida resident, Dylan Snyder’s group is amongst the top producing teams in South Florida.
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