Over the past few decades, businesses “going green” and building sustainability have transformed from simple marketing gimmicks into full-fledged market trends. Industries across the globe – from transportation to food production and even clothing – have seen companies with environmental responsibility at their center grow dramatically in market share. Sustainability isn’t just “in” right now – it’s here to stay, and every industry will need to address their carbon footprint.
As companies commit to reducing their environmental impacts and promise deadlines for going “carbon neutral,” commercial real estate businesses will also need to move towards sustainable operations over the coming years.
What’s driving the sustainability market trends
Even outside of regulatory requirements, companies across the globe have spent the past few years making and executing on sustainability promises. In March 2021, 30 of the UK’s FTSE100 companies committed to go carbon neutral by 2050, setting the stage for businesses across Europe (and beyond) to follow suit.
Another factor driving the sustainability market trend is a shift in affordability. While technology aimed at reducing carbon emissions was once considered prohibitively expensive, the cost of monitoring energy usage has been going down steadily over the past several years. Conversely, the cost of fossil fuels has only gone up. Green energy technologies like solar and wind are proving to be reliable while the price of oil continually fluctuates.
The real estate industry has also begun feeling the effects of sustainability demands. Commercial real estate investors have begun including “green clauses” in their leases, which stipulate that owners and operators need to benchmark and report their energy usage. Even as these clauses currently exist on a case-by-case basis, the direction of local and federal regulation points to a future where reporting on building sustainability practices will be required by law.
What CRE businesses can do to make spaces sustainable
Considering that real estate companies will be held responsible for their building sustainability, businesses should be decreasing their energy usage now in order to stay ahead of the curve. Even without having specific regulations or investor expectations in mind, here are a few things your property business can be doing to become more sustainable.
1. Increase the efficiency of assets in your building
Tracking and lowering the energy that your building uses on a regular basis is the foundation of increasing your building sustainability. Newer spaces built within the past decade or so may already come equipped with “smart” technology designed to save money and energy. These Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as thermostats, lights and even faucets, help to keep energy consumption costs down. Older buildings might not have many of these features currently installed, but with the help of your facilities management team, you can begin implementing these solutions to start cutting down on waste right away.
2. Understand how you utilize your office spaces
Over the past year and a half, the traditional office layout has become a thing of the past and businesses across the globe are enabling their employees to take advantage of hybrid work schedules, with some time spent in office and some time spent working remotely. With these changes, spaces that were in full use every day of the week might now be using the same amount of energy as before with no one onsite to require it.
By utilizing space and presence management solutions that give you a comprehensive view of how space it utilized, you can decrease energy usage in parts of the office that aren’t in use. Increasing building sustainability means knowing what usage is necessary, and what might simply be waste.
3. Invest in technology to enable reporting
As mentioned before, investors across the commercial real estate space can see that sustainability drives value to buildings. The rise of smart devices has highlighted the cost of wasted energy and a younger generation is entering the workforce, bringing with them expectations for environmentally friendly business practices. Even where building sustainability benchmarking isn’t yet required, businesses need to be able to report their energy usage to key stakeholders.
By investing in energy monitoring solutions that decrease operating costs, reduce environmental impact, and improve facility performance, commercial property owners, operators and occupiers worldwide can both better manage their energy consumption and report their savings to investors.
As the market continues shifting in favor of environmentally conscious businesses, organizations across the commercial real estate industry need to be preparing for a future where building sustainability is key and answering for energy usage is common practice. With the right technology solutions to help you understand where energy usage can be decreased, where money is being left on the table, and where your building stands in terms of sustainability, your organization can rise to the occasion and stay ahead of the competition. Learn how MRI Software and eSight Energy can help.