Today’s technology companies — especially start-ups — are increasingly embracing the idea of sustainability. They are industry leaders when it comes to green buildings, green work spaces, and environmental stewardship. Established companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook are already on the technology cutting edge so it seems like a natural fit that their offspring also support innovative, energy-efficient building technology.
As Boss Magazine points out in a recent issue, the building industry should pay attention to this trend. The global tech market is expected to grow another 4% this year, making it a $3 trillion industry. Technology continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy.
Technology companies also lease a reported 42% of all the commercial square footage in the major metropolitan markets of North America. For comparison, that’s double the space leased by the financial industry.
Going green is being driven by many factors in the tech company landscape.
Millennial employees and consumers prefer green companies: Both are a target market for most technology companies. The Millennial generation is more environmentally aware; they are looking for business practices that reflect an awareness of climate change. A recent poll indicated that three out of four millennials are willing to pay more to do business with enterprises they perceive as championing sustainability whether it with be solar-powered data centers, urban roof gardens or recycled building materials.
Saving money on energy costs: Early-stage tech companies are often strapped for cash; it behooves them to save on energy costs. Alternative energy sources, more efficient lights and appliances, can make a difference. For a start-up, amortizing an initial investment in energy efficiency can make for significant cash savings over time.
Remodeling is trending: Prime commercial real estate is difficult to find in high-demand areas. Start-ups looking to lease a space, as well as giants like Amazon looking to expand, may consider recommissioning an older building versus buying or building a new one. It can sometimes be more economical to remodel and incorporate new, green, energy efficient systems into an older building. But not always! Buyer beware.
Environmentally friendly practices: In addition to supporting green building and eco-friendly operations, many new tech companies also produce goods or offer services to help others become more environmentally conscientious. Many tech companies not only practice eco-friendly operations, but also produce goods or services that help others live a greener lifestyle. In fact, the demand for green building has driven growth in a new sector of tech startups – those focused on producing energy efficient systems and materials.
Tax incentives: Tax credits and rebates, at both the federal and state levels, are also driving green building. Financial incentives for green upgrades such as loan programs with reduced rates, grants, and rebates, can help improve a growing company’s bottom line.
Worker morale: Public health researchers have found that green-certified buildings improve employee decision-making and daily performance. One recent report indicated that people working in green buildings had 26 per cent higher cognitive function and 30 per cent fewer incidences of what’s come to be known as “sick building syndrome.” Healthy, happy employees are crucial for a company to thrive.
A Clear Trend
Green building for rapidly-growing tech companies makes good sense on many fronts. A green, environmentally conscious start-up can attract high-caliber employees in a highly competitive market where young companies are vying for employees with tech giants.
Using sustainable materials and reducing their carbon footprint also allows tech startups to resonate with new customers who are more environmentally minded. Most importantly, it also allows them to save money on recurring energy costs. And being profitable at the end of a start-up’s first year keeps investors happy!
It’s not just a “best practice” for new companies. More and more businesses are embracing sustainable, green building. Leaders in the built environment – architects, developers, construction and building material companies — are increasingly committed to using sustainable materials and buying from manufacturers with eco-friendly practices.
It’s all good news for Mother Earth!