Leave it to Jerry Yudelson to write what is probably the clearest articulation of the business case for green buildings you could ever read.  Jerry Yudelson is the author of several books that we've given away in the past, including Green Building A to Z, The Green Building Revolution, Choosing Green, and Green Building Trends: Europe, as well as about six others worth reading, too.  He was a board member of the USGBC and chaired Greenbuild for about five years; he now heads Yudelson Associates, a consulting firm that is dedicated to "growing the business of green building."  Most recently, Yudelson authored The Business Case for Green Buildings, and this is his conclusion:

"The business case for green buildings is solid, no matter whether one builds directly for a corporate client or constructs speculative office or commercial space.  By 2012, certified green buildings will hold the dominant market share of new commercial buildings.  Now is the time to begin getting experience … "

Most people think the business case for green buildings is purely economic or financial, but Yudelson explains that the business case actually rests on five legs: (1) economics, (2) risk management, (3) marketing, (4) government relations, and (5) employee relations.  Further, there are at least 10 major benefits of green buildings, each of which could be assigned to at least one of these five legs:

  1. Energy and water cost savings;
  2. Increased building valuation from higher profits owing to savings;
  3. Possible incentive payments from government and utilities;
  4. Increased rent and occupancy;
  5. Productivity and health benefits for office occupants;
  6. Risk management (economic, financial, market, legal, political, etc.)
  7. Marketing and public relations;
  8. Increase in reputation value for public companies;
  9. Recruitment and retention of key personnel; and
  10. Access to capital from responsible party investing funds.

Of course, a serious analysis of these benefits must necessarily occur from the perspective of the stakeholder because some benefits only accrue to certain parties.  For example, a tenant may not benefit from increased building valuation, or the landlord may not benefit from productivity or health gains of tenant employees.  For this reason, the business case is particularly strong for buildings that are both owned and operated by the same party, such as with government, school, and large corporate buildings. 

In any event, if you're looking for a succinct and sufficient enunciation of the various business benefits to green buildings, make sure to download and read The Business Case for Green Buildings by Jerry Yudelson.  You'll be glad you took the time. 

[pdf] The Business Case for Green Buildings by Jerry Yudelson.