Frankly, sustainability is a term you’re probably tired of hearing. Even though it’s overused, this concept is here to stay. Despite the slow start, commercial real estate is finally catching up.
Sustainability in commercial buildings is really a push for the triple bottom line: Planet, People, Profit. Your tenants will appreciate the sustainability efforts that are tied to health benefits – so much that they are actually willing to pay up to 35% more for green building office space. Your shareholders will appreciate the drop in operational costs. You can’t lose in these efforts, so it’s time to get started.
Tenants are increasingly demanding sustainability features as part of the expected amenities of the building. Energy efficiency certifications have developed into the norm –now, to stand out, you must offer more. Sustainability also makes good business sense; just ask USPS. Many “green” choices and investments actually save money, and some efforts have quick returns on investment.
Green leases have been growing in popularity in recent years because they allow tenants to choose an office space that fits their mission and values. Energy efficient fixtures are a win-win: lower utility bills, responsible corporate choices, and a reason to be proud of the office space. Water-conscious appliances offer effective, sustainable options, timely with the drought in the West.
But, these actions can only do so much. In today’s information-driven age, metrics and data are vital for any new initiative. Proving your progress with collected data is so much more powerful than simply saying you care about the environment.
Particularly in the corporate world, decisions are driven by their ability to create value for the company.Incorporating data into these decisions can both prove value for the company and provide information for benchmarking to maintain your competitive advantage. By tracking sustainability key performance indicators (KPIs), you’ll be able see the physical and numerical results of your efforts. Here are the sustainability KPIs you need to track:
1. Utility Consumption:
Your primary inputs to your building are electricity, water, and gas consumption. Tenants want to know how much they’re consuming, leading to a focus on water and electric use. It would be great to know how much your building is consuming and–even better–how much specific tenants are consuming.
Also known as outputs. Where your waste goes can really change the “green-ness” of your building. After understanding how much and where you’re wasting, you can make calculated efforts to address these issues.
Knowing your inputs and outputs is important, but that information can only take you so far. With the ability to see where your energy, water, and gas consumption flows, you’ll be able to develop targeted efforts and track your progress internally.
Although renewable energy has been around for a while, it has recently become an individually available target. Some places like California have even invested in zero net energy initiatives in both commercial and residential buildings that include utility sources. Using renewable electric sources (think: solar) or sustainable water use (gray water for outdoor fixtures) are big ways to make a statement about your commitment to sustainability.
Why use machines that are consuming unnecessarily? Track the efficiency of your equipment through monitoring the consumption, then comparing this to other available technologies.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it.Sustainability reports highlight the effort you put into making your building better for tenants and the environment. KPIs on sustainability may one day make it into annual reports; until then, you’ll need other ways to track the effectiveness of your efforts and the realized savings.
When it comes to your bottom line, sustainable data-driven choices are the smartest option.