Myths or Facts? Let’s Talk Green

Beth Machen, CPM, knows green. The IREM Past President and head of Machen Advisory Group in Charlotte, also has her LEED AP certification and was instrumental, when she was an IREM senior VP, in establishing the group’s sustainability mission.

So we thought it appropriate to chat with her about some of the myths and realities surrounding the concept of energy efficiency.

MYTH 1: Higher Upfront Costs. Says Machen: “That is true. It’s not a myth. There is more expense, especially upfront. And whether you’re doing new construction or working in an existing building, you’re looking at anywhere from a 1% to 4% increase.”

MYTH 2: Difficulty Measuring Returns. Untrue, says Machen…if you’re careful. “To really see your cost/benefit, you’ve got to benchmark your building,” she says. “You need to know where you’re starting out before you do any retrofitting.” Making the plan work takes a trained and dedicated team.

MYTH 3: Green Means a LEED Plaque on Your Door. Nope. “There are many programs out there,” she says. “LEED is geared more to class A.” She adds that her company did a LEED application a few years back and while they achieved LEED Gold and learned a lot along the way, “it was a lot of work.” Not every building is meant to be LEED-certified, she says, and recommends Energy Star as another “great program.” So is the association’s own IREM Certified Sustainable Property program, launched during Machen’s presidency.

MYTH 4: You Have to Be Big to Be Green. No again. “You’ve got to get your building as green as it can be as soon as you can,” she says, “and “you don’t have to have a lot of money to make it happen. You just have to be committed and learn how to do it.”

But don’t wait or let old myths stand in your way. “Start with a plan and tackle it,” she says. “The sooner you get on the program the better you will be.”

[This article was excerpted from The Facts and Myths of Green, in the July/August 2015 issue of JPM.]

About the Author
John Salustri is one of the nation’s most respected writers in the field of Commercial Real Estate. A multiple award winner for excellence in journalism, John is the founding editor of, the nation’s premier news and information site for the commercial real estate industry. Today John is a freelance writer and editor, focusing on helping companies boost their industry presence through enhanced web and print content. 

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