The bottom line of green building practices

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Understanding the true value of green building practices – from employee satisfaction to environmental performance – has long been a real estate holy grail. Two new studies bring us closer than ever to seeing its value across the real estate spectrum.

A U.S. Department of Energy study, Utilizing Commercial Real Estate Owner and Investor Data to Analyze the Financial Performance of Energy Efficient, High- Performance Office Buildings, tries to get an understanding of how sustainable design impacts value by correlating energy efficiency and financial performance. The dataset includes 131 properties throughout the U.S. with an aggregate area of 25 million square feet. The regression analysis shows that green properties experience a 28.8 percent increase in Net Operating Income per square foot, and a 17.6 percent reduction in operating expenses per square foot when compared to non-green properties.

The recent Continental Automated Buildings Association study, Improving Organizational Productivity with Building Automation Systems, takes a different approach. It compares the benefit of green building improvements – such as improved ventilation, enhanced lighting conditions and green building certification – to other organizational initiatives such as workplace health programs. The study shows that green building strategies provide benefits comparable to the benefits from other corporate programs. The study notes that many corporate strategies (such as health programs) have ongoing costs to the organization, whereas most of the green building improvements also produce energy savings and reduced operational and maintenance costs.

With the growing evidence of the benefits of green building strategies, organizations that seek to improve their overall productivity or enhance the value of their assets would do well to consider these results as they make their strategic choices.

About the author:

Jiri Skopek is a Managing Director of Energy Sustainability Services at JLL. Skopek provides advice to owners and managers of large portfolios on sustainable development in the fields of design, asset and facility management, emergency preparedness, business continuity and smart building intelligence. Skopek is best known for developing Green Globes environmental assessment tools, which include modules for Design of New Buildings, Sustainable Interiors and Operation and Management of Existing Buildings (BOMA Canada/ GBI US), University Campuses (APPA) and Building Intelligence Quotient (BIQ).


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