Building Retrofit and Energy EfficiencyOver the last 12 months, a number of strides have been made in making the buildings that many United States companies call home more efficient.

Commercial energy efficiency is one of the best ways for businesses to reduce overhead expenses and see fast returns on investment. Improvements have been made in a variety of areas. For instance, building management systems are able to effectively manage how much power is used in a building, while developments in commercial solar have been able to reduce these facilities on fossil fuels.

The past year has been a monumental one for sustainability in the commercial sector, as a number of projects have come online, making the country and the economy more environmentally friendly. By being able to adhere to strict codes, regulations and certifications, many companies have not only seen their environmental impact decrease, but also their utility bills.

USGBC’s 20,000th project
One of the foremost authorities in the commercial sustainability sector has been the U.S. Green Building Council. In efforts to increase the amount of buildings that are taking advantage of energy savings tools, the organization developed its LEED certification program, which provides buildings with various accreditations based on their abilities to meet certain criteria.

In December 2013, the organization approved its 20,000th certification for a commercial project. The award went to the offices and staff services of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. in Knoxville, Tenn. The project makes use of a high-efficiency HVAC system and recycled building materials, along with intelligent building controls.

“The 20,000th LEED certification belongs to an organization that shares our social and environmental values, and we applaud GMCR on its accomplishment,” said USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “This is an important milestone in our mission to drive market transformation in the built environment to practices that make healthy, high-performing buildings a fact of life.”

The “most sustainable building”
Other strides were made during 2013 around the country. For instance, Seattle’s Bullitt Center was recently named the world’s most sustainable building by World Architecture News. A number of advancements helped make this possible, according to Seattle PI.

The news source noted that 100 percent of the energy needs of the commercial office building are generated on site through renewable energy sources on a net annual basis, effectively providing more energy to Seattle’s electric grid than it uses.

For a company looking to implement a sustainable solution, these kinds of accolades could act as models for which these businesses should strive.

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