A September 3rd article by the Chicago Tribune declared “Businesses see advantage in green buildings”. Restaurants, cafés and grocery stores using green building practices are motivated by energy savings, customer goodwill and marketing. Buildings that utilize building automation, lighting control, energy efficient HVAC systems and other methods of energy management are reaping the benefits.
Some Subway sandwich shops are using wall coverings made from recycled materials, bathroom sensors to control water flow, timers for lighting control, low-flow toilets and energy-efficient HVAC control systems. Starbucks cafés are using manually operated hand meter faucets to conserve water, and Starbucks corporate has announced that all new company-run stores will meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standard by the end of the year.
Stores are grasping to the idea that green buildings resonate well with consumers, so they can retain and grow their customer base. “Consumer interest in a corporation’s environmentalism is five times greater that it was a decade ago… Green buildings resonate with consumers even more than corporate pledges to recycle or purchase carbon offsets,” says Robert Passikoff, founder of Brand Keys, a consultancy that measures customer loyalty.
Green buildings not only save businesses money on energy bills, but can be used in a company’s marketing approach, generating goodwill for continued and increased business. A Subway franchise owner in Chicago estimated his green store cost 45% more to build than a traditional Subway restaurant, but energy savings will offset the additional costs in about 5 years. Another Subway owner in Illinois said her utility costs are down 40% to 60% and sales are up 30%, in part due to goodwill generated from being a green building.