Most good leaders will tell you that sometimes you just have to trust your gut. But when it comes to making big decisions in business, your feelings don’t hold much weight. That’s where data comes in. If you can quantify payback, you’ll have a much easier time getting approvals and advancing your business.

In the case of green building, we’ve spoken in theories for more than a decade. It’s been a ‘trust your gut’ situation based on some educated guesses – i.e., the payback should be X. But only in the past couple of years have we seen validation of our theories, thanks to organizations who are doing an excellent job of collecting and analyzing real-life data.

In particular, many studies are coming out showing compelling payback for building or retrofitting sustainable building components, including reports from Netherlands-based GRESB, USGBC/LEED  and BREEAM. The EPA and DOE also have data collection, such as the ENERGY STAR Industry Partner Program and Commercial Partner Program, both of which reinforce the importance of data-based decisions.

The studies are solidifying the idea that green building has a definite payback in terms of energy savings and other metrics related to higher rents, tenant retention and satisfaction, and lower long-term maintenance costs. Regulatory efforts, such as the Paris Climate Agreement, are also accelerating the green movement by helping to set minimum energy-efficiency standards.

The View from Here is that adoption of green building and retrofitting in both the residential and commercial markets is no longer a nice-t0-have. It’s a must in order to ensure ROI and adherence to regulatory requirements. Numbers don’t lie and, ultimately, data and dollars will be the reason developers and building owners choose sustainable design for their projects.

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