The business case for energy efficiency

April 5, 2016

Consuming 40 percent of the nation's energy, releasing 30 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions and using nearly 13 percent of all safe drinking water in the U.S, the building sector is the country's largest energy consumer and emitter of greenhouse gases, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

While this alone might seem like enough incentive for the design and construction industries to prioritize energy reduction, the scale of such a shift would be so massive that most companies end up intimidated by the investment they would need to make to achieve net zero energy usage.

To combat this natural hesitation, it's helpful to consider the business benefits organizations can expect from following energy efficiency best practices.

"Green building can improve efficiency by 30 percent."

Energy Savings

As energy prices continue  their steady climb, building owners stand to gain significantly from going green. According to Gregory Kats' Greening Our Built World, green building can improve efficiency by as much as 30 percent over conventional buildings. While it can cost between $3 and $9 more per square foot to build these spaces, Kats estimates the savings total four to six times the original cost.

Occupancy income

Achieving energy efficiency certification can also help buildings improve their occupancy rates. According to a Department of Energy report, LEED certified buildings have 16 to 18 percent higher occupancy than non-rated buildings, and Energy Star buildings experience 10 to 11 percent higher occupancy. The same report also notes that high-efficiency buildings display significant premiums on rent. Paired with higher occupancy rates, this additional income would help offset the cost of green building even sooner.


In addition to making physical improvements to a building, businesses can further increase their profitability with the benchmarking process that commonly accompanies such changes. Successful benchmarking programs identify key metrics for assessing building performance as well as establish performance baselines and goals. Not only does this help identify the key drivers of energy use, but it also provides an important diagnostic tool for improving performance. Armed with the data from a benchmarking strategy, businesses can optimize their investments in energy efficient technology, boosting the above benefits.

Working with energy consultants can help your organization maximize the business impact of its efficiency efforts. To learn more, contact Benningfield Group today!