Posted June 25, 2015 by Gabriel Posternak

It’s time to convince small offices to go green

Last year, commercial buildings consumed up to 20% of the U.S. energy which, put into everyday terms, it’s a lot of energy. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. Office buildings have always been wasteful consumers of energy, with their big empty offices lit up throughout the day. So, why aren’t we asking them to watch it? Frankly, because they don’t need us to – at least when it comes to big office buildings. As for small offices, well...

According to a recent report published by CBRE Group and the Maastricht University in Netherlands, 39% of office buildings in the 30 top U.S. markets already have LEED or Energy Star certifications. And while that feels as good news, it gets into perspective once you learn that that percentage is comprised by big buildings whose landowners were already convinced about the benefits of sustainability. Basically, the owners of large office buildings are going green faster than smaller buildings.

The problem is that the remaining 61% is comprised mostly by small office buildings. Researchers studied more than 24,777 buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet but only 879 buildings that 500,000 square feet or larger. Thus, it’s obvious that the future of commercial sustainability is to be found in small offices, not on the big ones. And, according to the study, that will certainly be a tough fight.

That’s because large corporate tenants occupying the big buildings are already aiming at sustainability as a part of their mission. In fact, most big corporations have staff member dedicated exclusively to the subject, which puts them in a better position to influence their landowners. Small businesses who rent small offices don’t have that chance.

The study doesn’t offer many answers about how those small landowners can be motivated to go green. It seems as if the energy efficiency message isn’t enough and that we need a new one to get to those small office owners. For one time, the possibility for a change for better is in the hands of the little guy. Perhaps by spreading the benefits of going green and adopting a sustainable model, the word can get to them to finally make that change.

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