Business CO2 Emissions Green Quiz Challenge

According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), American businesses account for what percentage of annual CO 2 emissions?

- 38%
- 52%
- 25%
- 86%

Answer: 38%.

From improved air and water quality to reduced operating costs, the benefits of green buildings are indeed rich. Read on to learn how you can get your office building fit for the greens.

The Benefits of Green Workplaces

The benefits of green workplaces—those that are designed, built and operated in an environmentally and socially responsible way—are substantial. They include:

- Conservation of natural resources
- Enhanced protection of ecosystems and biodiversity
- Reduced solid waste
- Improved employee productivity
- Minimized strain on local infrastructure

In recent years, more business and real estate developers have recognized the value of building with the environment in mind. According to McGraw Hill Construction’s 2009 Green Outlook, the overall green building market is anticipated to double between now and 2013. That’s an estimated $96-140 billion anticipated green building spend by 2013. Furthermore, the value of green building construction is projected to increase to $60 billion by 2010—up from $12 billion in 2008.

The demand, according to the USGBC is due to a serious uptick in government initiatives, a heightened residential demand for green construction, and improvements in sustainable materials.

As a result of earth-friendly construction and operation, green workplaces can expect:

- 8-9% decrease in operating costs
- 7.5% increase in the value of the building
- 6.6% increase in ROI
- 3.5% increase in occupancy ratio
- 3% increase in rent ratio

Among their case studies, the USGBC found that improvements to Adobe Systems Incorporated yielded:

- 37% energy savings
- 41% water savings
- 94% waste diverted

Similarly, JohnsonDiversey Incorporated’s headquarters enjoyed:

- $90,000 savings in annual energy costs
- 32% water savings
- 49% waste diverted

Becoming Green Certified

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a well-known independent third-party that evaluates and provides verification to ensure that building projects meet the highest environmental and performance standards. LEED’s Green Building Rating System factors five key areas, including:

- Human and environmental health
- Sustainable site development
- Water savings
- Energy efficiency
- Materials selection
- Indoor environmental quality

LEED experts evaluate these areas using an operations and maintenance checklist, by which points are distributed. The total sum of the points determines the cost of sustainable building or modification. Take a look at LEED’s information for existing buildings and new buildings to learn more about the rating system and to start the certification process in your green workplace.

Green Businesses for the Future

In addition to being responsible for 38 percent of the country’s (CO 2) emissions, buildings are also responsible for:
- 72% of electricity consumption
- 40% of raw materials consumption
- 136 million tons of annual waste output
- 14% of potable water consumption 

Recent studies have found that green buildings not only save the planet from additional CO 2 emissions and wasted energy, but that they have a profound impact on daily operating costs and the overall quality of office life.

Whether you currently run a business in healthcare or are thinking of building a new retail establishment, going green can yield maximum long-term benefits for your bottom line and the environment.

Is your office interested in doing more for the environment? EarthShare’s workplace giving program might be right for you. Learn more.


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