One of the best ways to boost the bottom line in the Salt Lake area's commercial real estate market is to "go green," according to a local analyst.

"Going green makes green," was the phrase Alexander Lofft, a broker for Corporate Realty Group, used to open his remarks Thursday to the monthly meeting of Commercial Real Estate Women Utah. He said the primary object in commercial real estate is to maximize net operating income by reducing operating expenses.

"Any place you can suck out operating expenses — whether it's water use on your landscaping or interior lighting — that turns around and inflates the value of the building," he said.

By showing potential clients the bottom-line impacts of energy efficiency, they can realize long-term financial benefits, he said.

Other advantages of green commercial renovations include increasing the desirability of a building, according to Katie Noble, senior associate with Corporate Real Estate Group.

She said companies are becoming more environmentally conscious, making them sensitive to issues like their "carbon footprint" and the health of their workers, who sometimes suffer from "sick building syndrome."

Noble said making appropriate renovations on the interior of commercial property can certainly make a positive difference on employees, while exterior changes can also have great value.

"A green roof is an excellent way to go, xeriscaping will save a lot of money in water, replacing windows is big, adding insulation and replacing your light bulbs," she said.

She noted that insulation has recently become even more environmentally friendly with the use of recycled denim blue jeans as insulation that improves heating and cooling efficiency, and also provides good sound-proofing.

The financial and energy advantages of the green movement have resonated in government circles, as well. Salt Lake County has implemented a plan to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent by the end of 2009, according to the county's environmental quality coordinator, Ann Ober. The county's goal is to attain a gold LEED standard for each of its new buildings, she said. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council promotes environmentally sustainable building design and development. Ratings begin at basic and rise to silver, gold and platinum.

"The country is facing a crisis, and we need to do our part," Ober said.


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