Give Your Commercial Property an Eco-Friendly Facelift With These 8 Tips

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Owning a commercial property gives you a chance to do more for the environment. The business sector takes a heavy toll on climate change. Fortunately, giving your facility an eco-friendly facelift benefits you in several ways beyond cleaner air and water.

You can improve your corporate image, attract new customers, get a jumpstart on compliance issues while reaping tax savings and reducing utility bills. There’s an improvement to suit any budget, from minor upgrades to major overhauls. 

Here are eight tips for giving your commercial property an eco-friendly facelift. 

1. Landscape for Sun and Shade

The first step in giving your commercial property an eco-friendly facelift is to examine the outside of your facility. Your landscaping impacts your organization’s total energy and water use. 

Want to double down on the goodness, encouraging camaraderie while doing the planet a solid? Consider a team-building party where you plant trees around your building’s exterior — especially those south-facing windows. Diffusing the light pouring through on sunny days can slash AC use in warm climates. 

Are you using city water to maintain your landscaping? Consider switching to a rainwater harvesting system that puts the stuff falling on your roof to better use. Greywater recycling also cuts water waste — no more loss down the drain. 

Does your building’s exterior sing the droning hum of lawnmowers and leafblowers? Maintaining a lawn exacts a huge environmental toll. Instead, opt for xeriscaping, reducing water use and maintenance needs and raking leaves for the compost bin. Otherwise, they’ll blow right back in a few hours, necessitating more racket — and emissions. 

2. Address Windows Coverings

Anyone who has labored by a south-facing window while the sun poured in on their back understands the value of the right coverings. One-way films obscure interior views during daylight hours, cut UV radiation on your furniture and floorings, and fewer rays mean running the AC less often. 

An even more cost-effective solution? Blinds your employees can adjust to their comfort level. Is it time for a window upgrade? Opt for versions that actually open, allowing you to switch off the HVAC on pleasant days, enjoy fresh air and regulate the building’s interior temperature using nothing but nature. 

3. Seal the Cracks in Your Building’s Envelope

Window replacement is wise when your commercial property has old single-pane models, or the current versions allow air to seep in through the cracks. Maintain the value of your investment by inspecting them once a year, adding caulk as necessary. 

Furthermore, inspect your exterior doors. The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) has requirements that reduce the allowable air infiltration rate for coiling doors, so it’s important to give thought to these parts of your property. 

Many state and local governments have already adopted the IECC, and complying with its standards gives your business a decided edge amid changing environmental regulations. Upgrade non-conforming models to insulated doors that reduce your overall utility use.

4. Manage Waste Properly

Proper waste management requires the cooperation of local utilities and consumers. For example, your ability to recycle relies largely on what nearby sorting centers accept and whether they offer pickup service. What if your local recycler is drop-off only? One cost-effective way to give your facility an eco-friendly facelift is designating an employee to deposit recycling once a week at their typical hourly wage. 

Nearly any facility can compost — community gardens and local farms accept donations, so consider a partnership. Furthermore, some communities have implemented voluntary composting programs. Participation keeps organic waste out of landfills, where the anaerobic conditions create methane, contributing to climate change. It also boosts your corporate image.

5. Embrace Motion Detectors and LEDs

Another cost-effective way to give your commercial property an eco-friendly facelift is to swap old incandescent light fixtures for LED bulbs. The latter lasts considerably longer and uses less energy. 

Pair your bulb upgrade with motion detector installation to automatically turn out the lights when people vacate the premises. Leaving a few emergency lights burning pales in comparison to the energy used to illuminate the entire facility. 

6. Work With Local Planners 

This tip extends your influence beyond your facility. However, many business owners coordinate closely with city planners, as projects like road improvements directly impact operations. Greening the daily commute goes a long way toward reducing emissions, and many employees and customers alike would travel by bike or foot-power — if it were safe. 

If you get involved in such discussions, gently suggest implementing pedestrian pathways when performing street upgrades. Such innovations particularly benefit retail establishments, which attract new customer traffic from passersby. 

7. Utilize and Improve Your Rooftop

Your rooftop can transform into a rainwater harvesting site — and much more. Green roofs combat urban heat islands by replacing traditional shingles with gardens. Commercial facilities are often ideal, as their flat tops provide plenty of garden space. 

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For example, even downtown restaurants can plate up farm-to-table goodness, piling dishes with fresh produce grown onsite. Rooftop gardens provide a relaxing alternative to the breakroom and encourage more outdoor time, benefiting employee health and potentially reducing sick days. 

The most eco-friendly aspect of green roofs is their ability to lower surrounding temperatures by 30% to 40%, slashing your facility’s total energy use. The EPA estimates that installing enough of these structures could cut citywide temperatures by as much as 5° Fahrenheit. 

8. Switch to Green Energy — and Encourage Others 

Switching to green energy entails a significant initial expenditure. However, you recuperate the cost over time in dramatically reduced utility bills. Furthermore, Congress recently extended green energy credits, allowing a significant tax deduction for making the upgrade. 

Here’s where commercial property owners have an edge in encouraging others to adopt green energy use while improving the appeal of their facilities, especially if located in a sunny area. Covering your parking lot with solar panels powers your facility while providing employees and visitors alike with covered parking that protects their car’s paint job, keeping snow off in winter and interior temperatures more comfortable in August. 

You might even boost your income stream. Becoming a charging partner by installing e-vehicle charging stations attracts new customers who have time to kill shopping or dining at your establishment. A covered facility is an even bigger draw. 

Upgrading Goes Beyond Environmental Perks

Giving your commercial property an eco-friendly facelift is an investment in your firm’s future. Climate change is real, and people become more driven to take action as they feel its effects. Multiple surveys have revealed that consumers pay attention to sustainable business practices when deciding where to buy. Lowering your footprint and broadcasting your effort demonstrates your ethics and commitment to societal betterment. 

Furthermore, governments continue to implement higher standards to address climate change. Taking action now to reduce energy consumption and make your operations more eco-friendly prevents the need for unexpected upgrades later at a time that may not be as convenient to your business. 

Give Your Commercial Property an Eco-Friendly Facelift

Commercial property owners have a unique opportunity to make a big impact in combating climate change. Giving your enterprise an eco-friendly facelift with the above tips demonstrates your commitment to maintaining a clean, healthy planet, a growing concern as more people feel climate change’s impact. 

Such upgrades also benefit you through lower utility bills, tax savings and an improved corporate image. It keeps you ahead of changing regulations and makes you feel good at day’s end, knowing you operate your business in an ethical manner that preserves the earth for future generations. 

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