This is a guest blog by Holly Welles
As an engineer, you’ll meet tons of clients who all feel differently about sustainability. Some will be for it, while others may need a little persuading. Luckily, getting others on board doesn’t have to be hard. The benefits of green buildings are abundant and can appeal to even the staunchest refusals. You simply need to know how to sell your case. If you don’t know which selling points to hit, you’ve come to the right place. Discover six ways to win over clients with facts about sustainable building.
1. Focus on Your Client’s Reputation
People have a growing commitment to preserving the environment, and they want to help wherever they can. Studies show people tend to assign higher comfort ratings to buildings they assume are green. Parts of people’s brains even light up in response to eco-friendly labels, suggesting an influence on the internal reward center.
By implementing sustainability within building plans, clients can impress tenants, residents, and customers as well as boost revenue. This trend is only going to become more important as time passes, meaning your client can benefit from lasting support.
2. Emphasize the Monetary Benefits
Many people believe that constructing sustainable homes lies outside their budget, but this isn’t true. A lot of green projects only look costly. For example, wooden features give natural character to a house. You can replicate a similar look with reclaimed wood, which often costs much less than virgin lumber.
If adding eco-friendly features to a house, office or other property is costly upfront, these components will quickly earn back their investment. Green buildings require less power to sustain themselves, resulting in less maintenance and energy consumption. Better quality materials also mean less wear and tear and fewer repairs.
3. Point Out Improved Health
Sustainable buildings don’t just affect your client’s pockets — they also benefit health. A structure with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or toxic materials is safer than one with those features. Fewer chances exist for tenants to encounter allergens or harmful chemicals.
Surprisingly, productivity also rises. One study revealed that participants score 61% higher on cognitive tests when they work in green buildings. Working on a green commercial space? Your client may look forward to increased worker productivity when the job is done.
4. Demonstrate Energy Efficiency
Energy Star structures consume 35% less energy than your typical uncertified building. Tangible advantages come to the forefront when people switch to sustainable engineering. Improved energy efficiency means less pollution and harm done to humans and animals. Decreased water consumption leaves more H2O for groundwater sources.
There is monetary benefit to these initiatives, too. The increased savings from fuel-efficient structures can go toward other much-needed initiatives or business upgrades.
5. Talk About Regulation Standards
Green buildings must fall under strict criteria for organizations to consider them certifiable structures. If someone hires you to construct a green building, they can be sure that’s what they’ll get — no corners cut.
Some buildings fare better from undergoing a renovation than a complete teardown. However, the result is still energy and monetary gains. Some certifications to aim for include LEED, GRESB, ParkSmart, and the Living Building Challenge.
6. Remind Clients of Tax Incentives
The federal government offers various tax incentives to business owners who introduce sustainable components to properties. For example, many owners gain tax benefits by installing solar panels and other renewables on their land. They can also look into state and federal loan programs and grants.
The USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, for example, can provide someone anywhere between $2,500 and $500,000 for implementing renewable energy in qualifying areas. Eligible technologies include geothermal heat pumps and hydroelectric power.
The Complete Guide to Selling Sustainable Initiatives
You know the benefits of eco-friendly engineering, and hopefully, your clients will too. Who can say no to more money in the bank and better health? Introduce them to sustainable building, and you’ll both reap the rewards.
Holly Welles is a real estate and construction writer with an interest in emerging market trends. She is the editor behind The Estate Update, and even more of her work can be found via Twitter @HollyAWelles.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on how you implement sustainable building in your engineering projects.
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success