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The goal of sustainable commercial design is to reduce the negative impact of a development on the environment as well as the health and comfort of those living and working within it. Good sustainable design will work to reduce consumption of energy and other resources, minimize waste, and create a healthier and more productive environment.
A commercial building that has been designed with sustainability in mind will work to optimize the potential of the site it is developed on by minimizing its consumption of resources such as water and electricity. It also prefers to utilize environment-friendly products in its construction and operation. It should also have a positive influence on the surrounding area, enhancing the local environment as well as the indoor environmental quality by optimizing operational and maintenance practices.
This sustainable design philosophy should be adopted and implemented at each stage of the design and development process, influencing decisions from the start right until the keys are handed over to tenants. If done properly, there need not be any trade-offs between sustainable building design and the goal of the development which is profitability.
Sustainable building design has become popular in recent years and has initially been profitable to developers simply as a promotional tool. Companies and businesses looking to portray a more efficient and environmentally considerate image always opt for sustainably designed buildings. Since then, the very real benefits of sustainable development have been seen more as the cost of developing sustainable buildings decreases to a level comparable with traditional buildings.
In addition to savings far exceeding the initial cost of sustainable building design, further benefits have been revealed in the form of healthier and more productive workers. With cleaner air, more natural lighting, temperature controls and less chemicals present, the increase in staff performance makes the initial costs all but negligible in the long run.
* Sustainably designed buildings minimize energy consumption
* Cost of developing green buildings today similar to traditional ones
* Benefits include cleaner air; healthier, more productive workers
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Source: Nicholas Baker, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer