Increased visibility
The recent release of publicly disclosed building use in New York City is likely to set up a trend for other U.S. cities, making businesses more accountable for their utility use. Building product manufacturers are catching on, too, offering increased transparency with environmental product declarations.

Net zero
While a net-zero building status once seemed impossible to obtain, it’s now becoming more common as the industry moves past LEED and ENERGY STAR certifications that no longer offer a competitive advantage for businesses. Now, commercial building developers and architects are starting to showcase Zero Net Energy designs as a means of differentiation from competitors.

Alternative energy sources
More businesses are turning to alternative energy sources in efforts to lower utility costs, meet green building standards and generate their own electricity. One increasingly popular choice is solar power, which allows them to harvest the sun’s free, clean energy to power their building’s HVAC, lighting and more—all while substantially lowering electric costs and impact to the environment. Lennox’ SunSource Commercial Energy System, for example, is a commercial HVAC system that integrates directly with solar power, providing up to 34 SEER and beyond.

An increasing number of new building designs and retrofits rely on daylighting to reduce energy costs by up to one-third, positioning windows, skylights or other openings and reflective surfaces to take advantage of the sun’s natural light. This method also relies on a daylight-responsive lighting control system that automatically adjusts brightness when daylighting is inadequate, helping to keep energy use and costs in control.

High-efficiency HVAC
HVAC can account for 40–60% of a building’s energy use, making it an obvious first item to tackle in greening efforts. High-efficiency HVAC units, such as Lennox’ Energence and Landmark rooftop units, are not only equipped to meet current building efficiency standards, but also are built with features like MSAV (multi-stage air volume) supply fan technology that can boost overall comfort while dramatically reducing electricity costs.

Local sourcing of raw materials
Many companies are opting to purchase materials locally in efforts to support green commercial building trends while reducing impact to the environment. Local material sourcing reduces the amount of energy involved in transportation to the building site, resulting in lower carbon emissions.