Atlanta is moving up, and now ranks fourth in the 2015 Green Building Adoption Index, an initiative to quantify and understand green building in the top 30 US markets . The US uses the Energy Star ranking and LEED certification to identify sustainable building in commercial real estate. Of Atlanta’s office space, 57.9 percent is considered “green” where the national average is only 38.7 percent.
Both inside and out, green buildings positively impact the environment by using resources such as water and energy more efficiently and thereby reducing waste and pollution. Developers also incorporate sustainable building materials with minimal product emissions, which protect workers’ health and ultimately improves employee productivity. Additionally, landscaping and native plant selection for outdoor spaces help reduce water usage and increase greenspace in urban areas.
This increase in green building is applauded for its obvious environmental benefits, however its economic impact is also becoming more widely realized. Initially, green building was assumed to be more costly and time consuming. However, with the right research, evaluation and planning, many green products and materials cost the same or less than conventional ones. Energy efficient design can often result in the use of smaller HVAC equipment which provides additional savings. What’s more, there are federal tax credits for specific energy efficient building and states are establishing tax benefits as well.