Why LEED Buildings Make Financial Sense

The University of Notre Dame chose sustainable, LEED-approved construction options and why you should, too.

Recently, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded the University of Notre Dame with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification for the design, construction, and operation of three buildings attached to Notre Dame Stadium. These building are Duncan Student Center, Corbett Family Hall, and O’Neill Hall. Your next statement may be “So what?!” Why should the folks at Notre Dame care, and why should anyone else involved with owning, managing, and operating a commercial building care?

The answer? Money.

LEED Gold Certification seal from the U.S. Green Building Council

According to research from the U.S. Department of Energy, LEED buildings consume 25% less energy and 11% less water than non-LEED buildings. That translates to lower utility bills. If you could build the same facility but pay 11-25% less in operating costs, why would you choose otherwise? And this isn’t even taking into account all the environmental benefits of LEED buildings!

If the decision is made for the non-LEED option, then that is saying you know you could spend less operating this building, but you want to pay more. You know you could improve the income flow of your building, but you choose to make less. Why? 

LEED Buildings: Financial Common Sense

Perhaps the concern is that a LEED building might cost more to construct than a non-LEED building. Depending on where you are building, there are notable tax benefits and incentives from states and municipalities (AKA free money). Choosing to build a non-LEED building is essentially saying you don’t want free money.

Finally, since a commercial building is an investment, the core factors of occupancy rates, lease payments, and long-term tenants are very important to cash flow. Citing the USGBC, LEED buildings retain higher property values than non-LEED buildings. LEED buildings are healthier for the occupants, and 79% of employees say they would choose a job in a LEED building over a non-LEED building. All of these point to greater demand (occupancy), longer term leases, and higher property appreciation. Money, money, money.

LEED Building infographic from U.S. Green Building Council
Source: USGBC

Intelli-Hood: A Solution for LEED Buildings

As I write this from Melink’s own LEED Platinum-certified headquarters, nicknamed HQ1, and across the street from our newly opened HQ2, which is a Zero-Energy Building, I am very happy for Notre Dame. I am also very PROUD that Melink’s Intelli-Hood® variable speed kitchen hood controls were a part of all the conservation measures that helped them achieve this certification. Within the three buildings that achieved LEED status, Intelli-Hood was installed on eight kitchen hoods. Intelli-Hood is now standard on any new hood installations, as well as retrofits, at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame opted for the sustainable, energy efficient, and financially smart option of LEED construction. What will you choose?

 

Melink Completes Zero-Energy Building at Super-Green Campus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CINCINNATI, OHIO — Melink Corporation has completed construction of HQ2, its second Zero-Energy headquarters, at its super-green business park in Milford, Ohio.

The Melink HQ2 is a Zero-Energy Building (ZEB), meaning that the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is less than or equal to the amount of renewable energy generated on site. The cutting-edge project serves as a prototype ZEB for architects, engineers, and owners to help mainstream Zero-Energy best practices.

“Our goal is to show the world that new and existing buildings can be made Zero-Energy at a cost premium of less than 15%,” said Steve Melink, who founded Melink Corporation in 1987.  “The benefits are not only significant energy savings but a reduced carbon footprint and enlightened corporate brand that attracts and retains customers and employees.”     

To achieve Zero-Energy, also commonly referred to as “Net Zero,” HQ2 features several innovations, including a super-insulated envelope, super-geothermal heating/cooling system, an intelligent ventilation system, automatic lighting and shade controls, and a solar PV canopy in its parking lot with charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs).

Businesses, schools, and government agencies are invited to tour the Melink HQ2. Melink’s purpose is to educate and inspire other leaders who can further accelerate and capitalize on the shift to a clean energy economy. A grand opening celebration for HQ2 is being planned for late spring.

HQ2 is the second building on Melink’s campus. HQ1 was constructed in 2005 as a LEED Gold facility, and in the following years it was improved to Net-Zero Energy, Energy Star 99, and LEED Platinum. Also, Melink’s fleet of vehicles consists of all hybrid and EVs.

Melink Corporation is a global provider of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for commercial buildings with five offerings: Intelli-Hood® Kitchen Ventilation ControlsHVAC Test & BalanceSolar PV, Geothermal HVAC, and PositiV® Building Health Monitor. For more than 30 years, Melink has helped companies save energy, increase profitability, and make the world more sustainable. In 2018, Melink became an ESOP and is now 100% employee-owned.