"Going Green" - Good for the Environment and Good for Business

Published on March 15, 2014 in Areas of Expertise

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Imagine if you could help the environment, and at the same time benefit your business. Going green with the LEED certification program offers business owners the opportunity to have a positive impact on the world around them while opening the door to a variety of options which can lead to increased profit. The LEED rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides independent 3rd party verification that a building is designed and built with best in class green standards.

Expenditures related directly to LEED certification can increase the initial cost of a project. However, pursing a LEED certification (rather than simply “building green”) provides significant long term returns on that investment. The widely respected and internationally recognized LEED mark of excellence gives customers, employees and other business partners solid proof that they are working with a company that truly stands behind its commitment to the environment and values the welfare of the people around it. Other benefits include:
  • Saving money through operating efficiencies
  • Improving employee wellness and retention
  • Increasing property value
  • Becoming eligible for a variety of governmental incentives
  • Realizing valuable promotional benefits
  • Gaining the ability to draw from a quickly expanding customer base that demands environmentally conscious business practices
Phillips Edison & Company Committed to Sustainable Building

At Phillips Edison & Company, we are committed to being a leader in green building practices. Earlier this year our Salt Lake City corporate office was awarded LEED Silver certification for commercial interiors. The build out of this space was not initially planned for LEED certification. However, as we developed plans for the office, our team quickly found that many of the green components already incorporated into the plans were also included in the LEED certification requirements. Taking the extra step to pursue certification required very few changes to the design, had only a minimal impact on project cost, and now gives us absolute confidence, with the LEED name backing us up, that we have completed the build out in the most environmentally friendly and financially efficient way. 

Some of the office build-out projects included:
 
  • Building materials with recycled content were used throughout the building in areas such as door frames, doors, hardware, insulation, aluminum, drywall, carpet, window shades, grid ceiling and ceiling tiles. 
  • The lighting and mechanical systems offer comfort by providing natural light, clean air and thermal comfort, and are controlled by motion and sound sensors. Lighting automatically dims or brightens based on the amount of natural light entering the space. Lights and HVAC automatically shut off at the end of the day unless they sense sound or movement indicating that the space is still occupied. ENERGY STAR-rated equipment and appliances equal to 77 percent, by rated power, have been installed.
  • Existing office furniture materials and decorative glass were re-used whenever possible.
The Green Dream Team

Phillips Edison & Company has also established the Green Dream Team to actively seek out innovative ways to incorporate cost-effective, green initiatives throughout the company’s portfolio of properties. This includes utilizing the LEED protocol to implement things such as:
 
  • Installation of white reflective roof membranes
  • Retrofitting lighting and lighting management systems
  • Replacement of HVAC units with energy efficient units
  • Recycling
  • Xeriscaping landscaping to reduce water usage and smart irrigation controls
  • Use of alternative energy
Eric Richter, Vice President of Property Management and head of the Green Dream Team explains, “In some cases, these initiatives have allowed us to increase rental revenues and lower operating costs. They have also generated terrific outpouring of local and neighborhood support.  In the end, we are proud to be able to say that we have gone the extra mile to invest in two of our company’s most strongly held values – giving back to our communities and taking care of our people.”

LEED Status is Pride of Community at Red Maple Shopping Center

One example of these efforts is Red Maple Shopping Center, a LEED certified center managed by Phillips Edison & Company.  Some of the sustainable and green options offered at this property include:
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  • Developed with, and requires all future construction to use, low emitting finishes that contain minimal amounts of off gassing substances which can negatively impact the indoor air quality of the building.
  • Roof materials are designed to reduce high solar reflectance which minimizes the impact on the surrounding habitat, and construction waste removal follows specific protocol that diverts material from entering landfills and requires it be distributed to appropriate recycling facilities.
  • Encourages shoppers to “go green” by offering amenities such as excellent access to public transportation and strategically located parking stalls designated only for use by low emitting and fuel efficient vehicles.
“Sustainability in building design has been a growing trend. It’s beginning to play a significant role in how and where customers choose to shop as they become more educated on the environment and work to incorporate green practices into their everyday lives,” says Jessica Hall, Senior Renewal Coordinator for the property.

“This customer demographic makes the conscience decision to shop “green centers” and is willing to pay a little extra in an effort to support initiatives and do their part to help minimize environmental impact. The tenants of these centers are in turn willing to pay a bit more in rent, as they benefit from customer loyalty to the center and higher sales volumes,” added Hall.