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10 Green Ways To Up Your Commercial Property Value

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For commercial building owners, property value is a big deal. You have the opportunity to make a long-term investment in energy efficiency - and to increase your property value while doing it. Green upgrades often bring high returns on the investment, save money over the long term and differentiate your space for tenants or buyers. Let's take a look at the top 10 eco-friendly upgrades:

1) Light Fixtures

Older buildings with aging infrastructure tend to tend to be outfitted with large panels of fluorescent lights. While these aren't the least efficient type of bulb, you could do a lot better. LEDs are several steps more efficient and could help you save quite a bit on your energy bill. Not to mention that they last longer, which means you'll have fewer maintenance calls. If you opt for smart bulbs, you will also gain a much greater a greater level of control over your lighting energy use and insight into consumption. Fluorescent lights have also been associated with higher rates of stress and more reports of headaches. And depending on the aesthetic of your building and the types of tenants you're looking to attract, bright overhead lights may not be necessary in all spaces. 

2) Windows 

Another way to reduce energy consumption is to look at your windows. If you have single-pane windows, replacing them with fresh-sealed double-pane models can boost your building's HVAC efficiency and the value of your property. Double-pane designs are much better at keeping inside air from escaping, which promises a more comfortable working or living space for your tenants, too. You should also watch for signs of age in older double-panes windows, including condensation or visible dust and debris between the panes, or panes that rattle and are no longer properly sealed.

3) New Insulation

The insulation in your building, and the weatherproofing on doors and windows, can make a big difference in regulating temperature and energy efficient. That means less heat or air conditioning escaping, and lower energy bills. Plus, your tenants will appreciate the sound control better insulation can provide if your building is in a noisy area.

4) Energy Efficient Appliances

In the last decade alone, appliances have become a lot more energy efficient. Kitchen and laundry appliances, hot water heaters and fans are all potential candidates to upgrade and see property values rise. You'll give tenants the assurance of new equipment and save money on energy expenses. Look for ENERGY STAR rated appliances to ensure optimal efficiency.

5) Point-of-Use Water Heaters

Most commercial buildings have a single central water heater, just like residential homes. But depending on how big your building is, a single heater might be less efficient than you think. Piping hot water around your building means it's losing heat and wasting energy. If you don't need big tanks of hot water, you can install point-of-use heaters in the main areas they're needed and use shorter lines of pipes. This kind of innovation is unusual in a commercial building, but it is also incredibly valuable.  

6) Aerating Faucets and Low-Flow Toilets

Small upgrades are the most traditional way to increase property value - and that's because you don't have to invest a lot of money to be green. Smaller changes, such as high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and aerating facets can save on water and on energy (ie. less hot water heating). Similarly, low-flow or two-mode toilets reduce the amount of water required for each flush. New fixtures like these make a good impression on potential tenants and can quickly update an older space.

7) Rainwater Sprinkler System

If you're looking for more opportunities to conserve water, consider recycling and reusing rainwater. Rainwater barrels are becoming increasingly popular in green business circles and they're remarkably easy and affordable to set up. Since it can't be used for drinking or cooking, the best way to use rainwater is to simply channel it to your sprinkler system. Green landscaping innovations like this can add huge value to your property and draw interest from environmentally conscious tenants.

8) Solar Panels

Installing your own solar panels can be a great strategic move for your building - and not just because of the potential for a 30 percent tax credit. Solar generation is strong proof to tenants and your community of your commitment to green energy. And it has the potential to significantly reduce your energy costs. Depending on how much space you have to place panels, and whether you're able to store the solar energy you capture, you'll be generating a portion of the electricity your building uses. And that means not having to purchase it from the utility or an energy supplier. You'll shield yourself from some of the risk of the energy market, and will have a back-up solution in case of power outages.

9) Wind Turbines 

Is your business located in a windy climate? If so, wind turbines might be the perfect way for you to take control of your energy generation. Wind turbines are surprisingly low maintenance, generate a steady supply of sustainable power and look pretty great on your roof or lawn. Remember, they don't have to be as big as the ones you've seen at wind farms. Private turbines can be quite small and compact, allowing you to place a cluster in your best windy spot. Not only will these supplement your electricity supply; they are also a great way for you to advertise your green business practices.

10) Micro-Grid Infrastructure

The most sophisticated commercial green energy users might be interested in an even bigger upgrade: micro-grid infrastructure. A micro-grid enables you to rewire your space and incorporate a battery bank alongside generation solutions like wind or solar. That means you'll run sustainable energy through your building to supplement or replace traditional energy supply, fill batteries or engage in strategic net metering. While it's easy in comparison to add a solar panel or wind turbine to your roof, setting up a high quality micro-grid is an intense, but high-value upgrade that can earn you major points when it comes to tenants, public relations and resale. 

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Posted: March 17, 2018