Report Report: What is the actual value of going green?

Report Report: What is the actual value of going green?

According to some reports, the value of green and sustainabile initiatives are steadily rising. Why is this happening? 

The Report Report brings you highlights from recent reports that are worth a look. Too often, reports from business groups and analysts gather dust on desks, or virtual dust in email inboxes. That's a lot of wisdom left untapped. Watch for more of our roundups of reports in the months to come, and share your own reports by emailing us here.

A Survey of Energy use in Water Companies

Source: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the National Association of Water Companies

ACEEE report

What they say:

“The relationship between water and energy is a close one.… Despite this strong connection, the energy intensity of water and wastewater systems is relatively undocumented.”

This 21-pager highlights the results from a survey on both public and private water companies' energy usage. Although there is a strong relationship between water and energy usage, there is little data that quantifies this relationship.

The report documents this relationship, in part, by detailing how much energy is used by each water source (such as groundwater or surface water). In the survey, water companies that source their water from groundwater on average use more water than surface water, although the maximum amount of energy that surface water can produce is higher. 

What we say:

As the drought in California lingers on, water is indeed one of the most pressing issues for businesses. But although there are many reports coming out on water, this report documents a lesser discussed but equally important side of the water debate: energy usage.

Not only does the report highlight energy usage, but it also discusses what water utilities are doing to improve energy efficiency and ways that they can improve efficiency. 

The end of the report also includes interesting ideas about ways that energy and water utilities can make use of joint programs to reduce energy. However, the report’s findings show that little if anything is actually being done by the utilities to collaborate to solve their energy problem.  

Valuation of Green and High Performance Property: Background and Core Competency

Source: The Appraisal Foundation

appraisal foundation

What they say:

“What is a green building? A significant challenge of this voluntary guidance has been to address this very broad reference and specifically focus on the knowledge and skills necessary to apply recognized valuation methods and techniques.”

The appraisal foundation’s report provides a guide for any property owner or real estate investor as to what a green building actually entails as well as how to appropriately value a green buildings. This 47-page document also looks to show how the value of a green building goes beyond just energy efficiency, and why sustainability is important in appraisals.

What we say:  

What makes this report useful is its emphasis on details, while simultaneously being extremely comprehensive on the different aspects of green buildings. The report also does a nice job of providing an overview of an aspect of green buildings, such as green building rating systems, and then narrowing in a succeeding section on why the systems are relevant for appraisers.

Given that there is no uniformed rating system for green buildings, and there is indeed a plethora of different rating systems, the appraisal foundation provides the reader a great service by comprehensively evaluating the best rating systems.

The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States

Source: The Analysis Group

Analysis Group

What They Say:

“In this report, Analysis Group has tracked the path of RGGI-related dollars as they leave the pockets of competitive-power generators who buy CO2 allowances to demonstrate compliance, show up in electricity prices and customer bills, make their way into state accounts, and then roll out into the economy through various pathways.”

This report documents and analyzes the impacts of the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI), which was started in 2009 to minimize carbon dioxide emissions in new and existing power plants. The report not only looks at how much carbon emissions decreased but it also discusses the net economic impact of the program for the region.

According to the report, because of the initiative “Energy consumers overall – households, businesses, government users, and others – have enjoyed a net gain of $460 million, as their overall energy bills drop over time.”

What we say:

As states prepare to potentially adopt the Clean Power Act, they might want to take a look at this report to show how nine states were able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, while also bettering the regional economy. This report by the Analysis Group is extremely nuanced and detailed, and does an excellent job of explaining to business leaders how the RGGI affects different aspects of business.

Renewables 2015: Global Status Report

Source: Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21)

REN21

What they say:

“Despite rising energy use, for the first time in four decades, global carbon emissions associated with energy consumption remained stable in 2014 while the global economy grew; this stabilisation has been attributed to increased penetration of renewable energy and to improvements in energy efficiency.”

In this encompassing overview of the state of renewable energy, REN21 examines the different types of renewables (hydropower, biomass, solar, geothermal and wind). The report also looks at how those renewable energy sources are currently being used and will be utilized in the future as renewables.  According to the report, renewables accounted for 27.7 percent of the world’s power generating capacity in 2014.

What we say:

For anyone looking to have some understanding on where renewables stack up, look at this report. Perhaps what makes this report so intriguing is that it examines the renewables landscape around the world. It spotlights developing countries and areas of the world not generally known as renewable hotbeds. It mentions how East Asia has now become the largest consumer of renewables, with China accounting for 80 percent of that consumption.

The report is also well presented and is broken down so that the reader can see specifically where the power sector is using renewables as compared to the transport sector. It also gives a detailed look at what impact policy has had in the current state of renewable energy as well as what may happen in the future.