According to the study, owners are also committing to green operations and maintenance (O&M) practices, with nearly two thirds (65%) of retail owners reporting high green O&M activity, and an even stronger 73% of hotel owners reporting the same.
Owners note strong business benefits from green building investments and green O&M practices, helping to drive this growth. Most notably, they report the following when comparing the performance of their green buildings to traditional buildings:
• Annual operating cost reductions: Reported by 66% of retail owners (at an average reduction of 8%) and by 51% of hotel owners (at an average reduction of 1%)
• Energy use reductions: Reported by 58% of retail owners and 67% of hotel owners at an average reduction of 15% for both
• Asset value increases: Reported by 61% of retail owners (at an average increase of 7%) and by 71% of hotel owners (at an average reduction of 11%)
• ROI increases: Reported by 67% of retail owners (at an average increase of 8%) and by 85% of hotel owners (at an average reduction of 14%)
“Green building has taken such hold in the industry that even sectors with unique challenges, such as retail and hospitality, are making stronger investments,” said Harvey Bernstein, vice president, Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw Hill Construction. “Clearly the benefits that owners are reporting are key reasons for their green building investments, and as they find better ways to measure those impacts and quantify the value to their sales velocity and to the well-being of their staff, customers and guests, we expect even more rapid engagement in green.”
There are many factors driving these owners toward adoption of green building investments and practices. While operating cost reductions are the most highly reported reason for going green (by 66% of retail owners and 73% of hotel owners), there are several other factors considered highly important in their decision-making process:
• Utility rebates: according to 63% of retail and 70% of hotel owners
• Protecting/enhancing brand: according to 51% of retail and 73% of hotel owners (for hotel owners, this is as important as operating cost decreases)
• Improving ROI: according to 52% of retail and 67% of hotel owners
However, business factors alone do not account for the increasing commitment to green building. Forty four percent of retail owners and 50% of hotel owners find that human impact benefits have also been an important factor in encouraging their decision to invest in green building projects. Seventy percent of retail owners see meeting government regulations and standards as a key factor in their decision to do green projects in the future, and 70% of hotel owners consider water use reduction an important factor in that decision. In addition, over half in both sectors report that improved environmental health and well-being has a strong impact on their decision to make future green investments.
Key factors posing challenges to increases in green building investments include higher initial implementation costs for green practices (47% retail, 43% hotel); budgeting challenges (37% retail, 40% hotel); and getting corporate leadership buy-in (30% retail, 50% hotel). However, it is notable that no challenge was reported as having a high impact by more than half the respondents.
While energy efficiency is a key factor behind engagement in green building investments and practices, other aspects of green building also hold weight. For retail owners, 62% report recycling and waste management of critical importance; 63% of hotel owners report the same. These owners are also placing green building requirements on their contractors and suppliers—77% of retail owners and 73% of hotel owners say they require green waste handling practices from their contractors, and nearly the same percentages report requiring recycling and composting from their O&M contractors.
“These findings suggest that consumers feel better when they purchase a product from a company they know is contributing to a better planet,” said Jane Sumner, vice president, Waste Management’s Food & Retail and Construction segments. “Waste Management has been transforming its business to tap into this growing market and we are helping owners in the retail and hospitality space to do the same.”
The report also includes opinions from the construction community. In fact, contractors are reporting increased requests from their customers for green projects, reinforcing the findings reported by the owners.