How Valued is Green?

Increasingly we see the benefits of “green” buildings being hailed. Whilst mostly new office buildings, there are also examples of green aspects of industrial buildings lauded in the press.

Is this trend just virtue signalling? Or is it something real that we should be incorporating into the way we do business?

When a major oil company covers the roof of their gas stations with solar panels we are confused by the mixed messages. It is OK to sell oil products for polluting internal combustion engines, but we should be using the sun to power our lights. Or the government taxes the ute we use to pull heavy machinery around because it is polluting the environment, but then gives the taxes (sorry, if we were PC we would say “fee”) to EV drivers who power their cars from coal burning electricity generators.

There are solid economic reasons for building in green aspects to many buildings. Better insulation saves on heating costs. LED lighting cuts power bills without reducing illumination.

We know to a great extent what aspects of a building that tenants value: Access, stud height, parking, kerb appeal, quality kitchens and bathrooms. And of course a classy private office for the boss.

But would tenants or owner-occupiers pay more for an equivalent building with more green features? Would solar panels and solar control glass and use of non-toxic, ethical and sustainable materials and waste reduction measures and water recycling and storage make anything of a difference to the price the average industrial tenant or buyer would buy?  Perhaps the time is approaching where we have to test the concept that consumers will pay more for ethical, sustainable and environmentally kind. Or is it just one of those things that looks good on a LinkedIn bio and to the marketing department?