By Nancy Tran
In an effort to protect the environment, many companies have begun developing sustainable business practices. By implementing green and sustainable practices, many have found that they can make choices that help the planet as well as their profits. Sustainable business is a relatively new concept for many companies, but it has grown in popularity and use over the past decade and considerable advances are expected for the future.
Sustainable business requirements
Not just any company that chooses to recycle is meeting sustainable business standards. There are certain requirements that must be met in order for a company to be considered part of the green business world. These include:
- The business must be considered more environmentally friendly than traditional businesses
- Sustainability is at the forefront of business decision making
- An observable commitment to green practices has been implemented across the board
- Services and products offered from the business are environmentally friendly or meet the public demand for sustainable products.
Because green practices, standards, and demands are always changing, it is important for businesses that employ efforts to stay green to keep up with changing technology.
One area that has been growing even more than others is green building and construction. In many instances, by creating homes, offices, and public buildings that are environmentally friendly, the costs of operating said buildings can be extremely low, and many companies are moving to this form of building.
Green building standards
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is the government organization in charge of overseeing the green design and function of buildings across America. By constructing buildings with efficient and supportive designs, the USGBC believes that they can help minimize the energy crisis and create jobs.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) concept has changed several aspects of the way green construction and sustainable business practices are run. This international standard is offered as a reward to the building owners who operate their companies within certain standards of excellence in this field. With LEED in mind, many property owners are able to implement sustainable business practices, green construction, efficient building design, and maintain daily operations in an environmentally friendly manner.
Similarly, the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) is available to help improve environmental awareness within industry, government projects, and business ventures. This non-profit organization is part of a worldwide group of councils that are partnered with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. These organizations work across the globe to promote sustainable business initiatives on a worldwide scale, but their impact can be felt locally.
The future of green building
At this point, sustainable building programs are the fastest growing aspect of green business. The standards are regularly being refined, but there are thousands of buildings and businesses across the U.S. that are considered sustainable. In order for a building to qualify as a green building, it must have:
- Healthy indoor living space
- Clean air circulation
- Efficient energy use
- Sustainable site development
- Water conservation efforts
- Construction involving efficient materials
Sustainable living efforts must be a comprehensive plan from the very beginning of a building project in order to be effective. Once design plans are set and approved by the architects, engineers, environmental scientists, and the client, they can be put into motion. Even after the construction has begun, green building efforts must be inspected regularly.
Many building owners have their buildings checked every year in order to ensure that their air quality, safety precautions, and energy use are up to standards.
How this may affect you
Green building and sustainable business is a growing trend across America and the entire world. By participating in this type of environmentally friendly program, many people find that they become more aware of the changes they can make in their personal lives. It is safe to say that this type of initiative will only gain strength and create unique opportunities for individuals and businesses in the coming years.
Nancy Tran is a full time blogger who regularly writes to help with green construction executive recruitment. Her other professional interests include sustainable living programming, construction, and architecture.
image: Jude Doyland via Flickr cc (some rights reserved)