January 1, 2010
As reported in the pages of In Business magazine.
Now that the sluggish economy has brought the commercial construction market to a standstill, it’s not a bad time to consider — and plan for — your company’s office of the future, especially if you’ve given some thought to making it a sustainable office.
The introduction of green building design, operational systems, and materials give businesses a variety of options whether they plan to retrofit an existing building — considered by some to be the greenest option — or build anew. Yet there remains a sense of mystery around green building: “What on Earth does that mean?” In this case, Earth is the operative word because green building, according to its evangelists, is about the triple bottom line of people (employee welfare), planet (environment), and profit (sustainable businesses).
There also is another element to consider — timing. From a real-estate perspective, Kurt Welton, president and treasurer of Welton Enterprises, compares being tardy on sustainability with being late to the party on handicap accessibility. Following passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the early 1990s, landlords who still owned a non-compliant building were in trouble. “Those buildings are still out there and still mostly vacant,” Welton said. “In 1981, they didn’t have to build with sensitivity to handicapped people, but if they did, they were way ahead of the game financially and in terms of productivity. That’s where the green movement is right now.” Read more…