Going green isn’t an option anymore, it’s a requirement. Environmentally friendly buildings are financially superior in nearly all aspects. Green buildings don’t just cost less to run; they can also increase the value of the property by a significant amount, with proper sustainability reporting. As climate change goals become stricter and investors increase interest in green developments, sustainability initiatives are increasingly coming into focus. Here are the top five sustainability trends we are experiencing in 2017.
1. More Businesses Turn to Energy Management Services
Energy management software provides a variety of tools, with a focus on the simplification and consolidation of energy reporting. In addition to increased convenience, advanced analytics provide insight into where adjustments can be made to minimize energy costs and decrease emissions. Complex utility data and rate structures are analyzed, providing actionable and meaningful results for the user. As companies realize the significant ROI gained from an energy management service provider, these services will continue to grow in popularity.
2. Growing Corporate Support for Clean Energy
There will be a bigger push in boardrooms for renewable energy. Increased support will be driven in part by greenhouse gas reduction targets, but it will also be led by the cost-effective nature of green energy. The cost of renewable energy is becoming increasingly competitive for much of the country.
3. Renewable Energy Investment to Increase
Both small and large corporations will increase their investment in renewable energy sources, helping the U.S. to become more self-sufficient. Companies like Google, IKEA, and Amazon lead the way, but small and medium-sized businesses can also increase clean energy consumption with the help of energy management services.
4. Companies Aim for Net-Zero Energy Buildings
A net-zero energy building produces the same amount of energy as it consumes. This is achieved through a two-step process. First, energy efficient upgrades are installed to minimize energy consumption. Once this has been achieved, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, are employed on-site to generate power. The building still receives energy from the grid, however, and the renewable energy is sold back to suppliers to offset costs.
5. Solar Power Continues to Evolve
Despite the rise of solar power, the technology still has room to grow. There are over one million photovoltaic arrays now in operation in the U.S., and engineers are still developing new concepts. Printable cells are gaining prominence with the goal of being both lighter and cheaper than current options. The renewal of federal tax credits will also be a big boost to the industry. Benefits were due to expire in 2016 but have been renewed until 2020.
Organizations stand to gain significantly by implementing the trends discussed above. Improving corporate reputation, meeting government targets and increasing profitability can all be achieved if sustainability teams manage to drive through environmental initiatives at boardroom level.