More companies are realizing that locating their operation in a green building can boost workforce productivity and make it easier to attract and retain employees. Both building owners and tenants also recognize the public relations benefits of going green.
So, how do you find or create green building space in the New York metropolitan area?
Finding Office Space in a LEED-Certified Building
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED certification is the standard by which the US Green Building Council judges buildings. There are many kinds of LEED standards, including New Building, Existing Building, Commercial Interiors and Education. . In each certification category, a building can receive basic certification, or silver, gold or platinum certification.
There are a limited number of LEED-certified commercial office buildings in New York City, but there are quite a few more LEED hopefuls in the pipeline. Some of these are in construction, while others are ready for occupancy.
Since the City has a huge stock of older buildings, it is critical that these become greener, as well. LEED for Commercial Interiors is the standard used for incremental “greening” of existing buildings.
To find out what buildings are hoping to obtain LEED certification of any type, and which ones already have, go to the national USGBC website project list.
Finding Other Green Office Space
Not every developer creating a green office space chooses to seek LEED certification. You may find other relevant spaces by perusing back issues of the blog at greenbuildingsnyc.com.
There are more Energy Star buildings than LEED buildings. The EPA gives the Energy Star designation to buildings that have demonstrated that they use less energy than other, comparable buildings. While your base rent may be higher in a LEED or Energy Star building, your costs for operations and maintenance are likely to be lower.
When you are looking at a space, ask to see what the previous tenant was paying for utilities. Often, you’ll be quoted a base rent plus utilities. Energy charges will probably go up dramatically over the course of your lease, so it’s fiscally as well as environmentally prudent to make energy efficient operation an important part of your selection criteria.
Energy efficiency is just part of the story. For the health and comfort of the occupants of your space, it’s very important that the building meet or exceed ventilation requirements defined by ASHRAE 62.1. The indoor air quality will be significantly impacted by the materials and methods that you use in the build-out of your space. www.idsgreen.com has useful information on how to minimize that impact.
Selecting Office Space When You Plan to Create a Green Office
In many cases, the greenest thing that you can do is to avoid or limit construction. LEED recognizes this by encouraging people to find space that will serve their needs for a long time and that needs relatively little reconfiguration.
While a top-to-bottom renovation to make a whole building comply with LEED standards may be impractical, an occupied building can be made more sustainable using phased retrofits.
Individual tenant spaces can be LEED Certified even if the building they are located in is not, as long as the buildings they are in meet certain basic performance parameters. If certification is important to you, get advice from a LEED Accredited Professional during your building selection process to be sure the building you are considering meets these parameters.
Buildings can be made greener by selecting environmentally responsible products and processes as items need to be replaced. A phased process can be adapted to the specific needs of and restrictions associated with any property.