The Greening of Your Workspace

By Bob Andelman
Maddux Business Report
June 2008

Go ahead – be skeptical and suspicious of the “green” building concept. But while you do that, better look over your shoulder because the competition is already cashing in.

“If somebody really doesn’t endorse or embrace it, it’s a hard sell,” says Rod Collman, president of Collman & Karsky Architects in Tampa. “I never try to preach anything to the non-believers. It’s not going to work until they can experience it first-hand.”

Collman says the biggest and best in business are going green – and wonders what more anyone needs to hear than that?

“To me, it’s easy to understand the principles – and the benefits. There have been many studies done about daylighting and productivity. Wal-Mart sees the benefits of bringing in daylight because it causes people to purchase more products. I don’t think Wal-Mart would do it unless they felt it would increase sales.”

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the United States account for:

• 65% of electricity consumption,

• 36% of energy use,

• 30% of greenhouse gas emissions,

• 30% of raw materials use,

• 30% of waste output (136 million tons annually), and

• 12% of potable water consumption.

With those figures in hand, advocates of green building practices are emerging from the underground and converting more establishment businesses to their cause every day.

“You have Option A and Option B,” says Dallas Whitaker, president of Greystone Equity, LLC in Tampa and this year’s president of the Tampa Bay chapter of NAIOP. “The difference may be as little as 50 cents a square foot. For an existing building, lighting retrofits represent a huge upfront cost. But the payback is very quantifiable. One to two years is a reasonable payback period.”

Whitaker says he was surprised how rapidly green practices overtook the development industry.

“In 36 months it went from idea to a mainstream function of what we do,” he says. “If we don’t start embracing these things on a global basis, we’re heading for trouble.”

As little as a year ago, green building practices were still being pitched as good primarily for the environment and public relations. But as you’ll see in this annual NAIOP/Tampa Bay special report, area developers, construction-related companies, and businesses of all kinds are adopting green practices because there is money to be made – and saved.

“Even if you don’t see the value in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification,” says Josh Bomstein, vice president business development for Clearwater-based Creative Contractors, “there’s still value in green.”

Simple as that.

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All stories and interviews (c) 2008 by Bob Andelman. All rights reserved. Some stories may appear in unedited versions that are different from their print counterparts.