Blog August 30, 2019

Benchmarking sustainability to drive value to your assets

By Chris Vroman

“Green” building certifications are an important factor in asset valuation and Class A office space classification. Gone are the days when being a sustainable company served only as a marketing tool. Instead, guaranteeing the efficiency of your commercial properties through benchmarking sustainability is now a necessity to investors, governmental bodies, and consumers.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is about far more than simply boasting of a “green” or “eco-friendly” property. In the past 20 years or so, property and company efficiency in environmental, social and governance (ESG) realms has become the new standard by which responsible investors evaluate new opportunities.

Whereas companies used to exercise voluntary adherence to “eco-friendly” policies, property managers are now expected to be in compliance with sustainability regulations. Plaques and certifications awarded to organizations for environment-friendly practices have been replaced by an actual, regulatory need for sustainability performance tracking.

Why sustainability?

Sustainability isn’t just something that looks good on a list of amenities – it’s actually valuable.

Investors are calling for a focus on ESG in the workplace because they are seeing money being left on the table when it comes to cost efficiency. Small things start to add up – when someone leaves a light on in the office overnight, or if a faucet is leaking, it costs money. ESG in the workplace saves investors money in the long term, which makes properties more valuable. In addition to this, properties with high sustainability scores such as the GRESB Score and the ENERGY STAR Score can boost the value of an investor’s portfolio.

Many government entities on both the federal and state levels have set new legal, investment and lending requirements and regulations for sustainable workplaces. On top of these regulations, some entities have incentive programs to reward companies that have made ESG an essential part of their business.

Energy efficient, sustainable workplaces have become important for millennials and young professionals looking for a workspace. By moving your business in that direction, you stand a better chance of attracting talent.

Why is sustainability benchmarking important?

It’s not enough just to say your business is sustainable – you’ve got to have the data to back up that claim. Through various certification programs, green initiatives, and sustainability scores, you can use sustainability benchmarking to drive value to your assets.

Benchmarking sustainability at your organization is a complex process that includes collecting data from multiple sources, identifying key metrics, generating accurate reports, and measuring against industry peers. But property managers that successfully leverage reliable data in sustainability processes and establish performance benchmarking are well positioned to stay competitive and understand how they measure up against others in the commercial real estate space.

To learn more about sustainability benchmarking and how you can use it to drive value to your assets, check out the webinar presentation we did with our partner, Measurabl.

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