Why green building labels are highly relevant for architects
In the future, buildings will be fully constructed with sustainable materials. To secure a livable future for the generations to come, this level of green construction is imperative. It is with this in mind that architects, contractors, and manufacturers are increasingly committing themselves to sustainable design and practicing sustainable business. Architects and contractors demonstrate this commitment through the acquisition of green building labels for their constructions. In this blog, we describe why green building labels are so interesting for architects and architect firms.
The importance of green building labels to architects
So, why are green building labels so relevant for architects? Aside from the clear environmental benefits, we believe that the reasons for this relevance are twofold:
The importance to clients and investors
The relevance of green building labels for architects is directly related to the interest that clients and investors have in green building certifications.
A green building certification enables clients and investors to establish the quality and value — and therefore the competitiveness — of a new building beforehand. Clients and investors will increasingly require buildings to be sustainable because they generate less maintenance and operating costs. Sustainability positively affects the market value of the property.
In addition to a considerable image boost for property owners and occupants, green buildings also offer a healthy work environment for employees, which has substantial (financial) benefits for a company. A work environment with the right temperature, sufficient air quality, and a certain level of flora positively affects the wellbeing and productivity of employees.
For example, the productivity of employees goes up by 2 percent if the temperature is decreased from 26 °C to 25 °C. This higher level of productivity not only represents an increase in the amount of work, but also an increase in the quality of the work. That’s a major gain. But increased productivity is also important cost-wise:
When evaluating the lease of office space, it is common to look at housing costs: the initial investment and the monthly rent fee. But housing costs only amount to 2 percent of total operating costs, while personnel expenses make up for 75 percent of total operating costs. An example to illustrate the difference: a 1 percent increase in productivity would allow the housing costs to go up 50 percent without increasing the total operating costs.
If the properties of a building are designed to facilitate (a smooth adjustment of) favorable working conditions, they contribute to the bottom line of the company — an important variable for clients that want to occupy a new building and minimize total operating costs. These type of building properties are equally important to investors who want to acquire tenants, as it increases the market value of the property and the amount of rent investors can charge.
An effective way to backup design and product choices
Sustainable construction also provides architects with leverage to back up their design and product choices. Convincing a contractor to implement the design exactly with the pre-defined materials is challenging, but the argument of contributing to the acquisition of a green building label is highly powerful. Most likely, the contractor has received requirements regarding sustainability from clients or owners, so it is in their best interest to acquire the necessary labels as well.
Architects benefit greatly from investing in green construction. Catering to the commercial interests of clients and investors — and, therefore, demonstrating professionalism and value — is the most prominent benefit.
But architects who possess knowledge about green buildings and green building labels should also be able to see the bigger picture of a project better, and understand why sustainability is an important and valuable topic in their field. The obtainment of effective methods to backup design and product choices provides great additional value.
If you would like to receive more information about green building labels, we recommend our whitepaper on the topic. You can download your free copy here.