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Why do green buildings cost more than conventional buildings?

This is not necessarily true. Comparing different types of building, i.e. one with solar panels vs. a traditional building will show an initial upfront cost but the operating costs will be much more economical. This return on investment should cover and offset the initial upfront costs compared with a traditional building.

The environmental benefits are nice but what can I do to conserve electricity costs in my office?

Turn off electronic equipment that is not in use. Energy savings is an essential part of being “green”. An easy way to start is to simply turn off electronic equipment that is not in use. For example turn off printers, computers, radios, lights, etc that aren’t in use. This should also include unplugging chargers that are not in use. While still plugged in chargers still use a small amount of energy. Using “Energy Star” office equipment or equivalent for all new equipment purchases will help reduce the amount of electricity used. Using motion sensors inside your building will reduce the amount of time that the lights are in use.

What is “green”? And what is LEED?

Green is a term used to describe anything that’s environmentally friendly. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The United States Green Building Council created LEED as a method of scoring buildings to show how “green” they are. Since it has been instituted LEED has become the benchmark for green building in the United States.

How can I conserve water?

Use water efficient fixtures, flow restrictors on existing fixtures, low flow toilets or waterless urinals. Lowering potable water use for toilets, showerheads, faucets, and other fixtures can reduce the total amount withdrawn from natural water bodies. Water efficiency cuts costs by reducing the amount of water that must be treated, heated, cooled and distributed all of which requires energy.

How can I help the environment in my office?

Purchase office supplies from local companies. Purchase/lease low emission vehicles and provide a written policy on all future vehicles. Environmental concerns related to building include vehicle emissions and the need for vehicle infrastructure as building occupants travel to and from the site. There are a number of ways to mitigate these emissions. Among them are hybrid vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, carpools and mass transit. Provide incentives (if possible) for carpooling, biking or using mass transit.