The annual gathering of all those in the real estate sector interested in sustainable buildings and green architecture is underway at EcoBuild in London this week. About 50,000 people will visit EcoBuild over the three days to see all manner of technologies which can help to reduce the environmental impact of buildings, lifestyles and businesses.
During EcoBuild, thought leaders assemble to discuss and debate the latest trends in sustainability in the property sector they forecast where policy and practice is likely to go in the future.
I was encouraged to spend an hour discussing building assessment regimes with some other real estate practitioners. To be honest, I can’t really see the fun in that, nor much advantage in describing the nuts and bolts of BREEAM or LEED with people who already know about such things. I decided therefore to focus on the fact that businesses – those that occupy commercial properties – don’t tend to know about such assessment regimes and they’re far more interested in how to ensure their premises are best for their organisations.
Increasingly, organisations want to know how to reduce energy costs – but these still only account for maybe 1% of the total occupancy cost of an office in London. What they should be more interested in is knowing how to make their premises more productive. In other words, how can they manage their buildings so as to encourage more output from their staff or sales per square metre, or even higher attainment levels for students. So, I focused the discussion on how can we identify the factors which make for a more sustainable building in terms of productivity.
The key take aways from the session are as follows:
* There is an increasing body of research which identifies how 'green' buildings are more productive buildings.
* This is often because green buildings provide more comfortable ambient temperatures, more daylight and more fresh air to occupants.
* It will increasingly be important for building developers and landlords to cater for occupants who want better productivity and more sustainable buildings.
* Developers and landlords will have to understand precisely what motivates different occupiers in order to differentiate their space in the market. Taking a traditional property perspective will not work in future - they will have to understand how organisations motivate their own talent.
It will be fascinating to see how this issue pans out. I’m pleased to say that I’ve recently been appointed as Chairman of a World Green Building Council project on Productivity in Green Offices which is looking at precisely these matters – more about that perhaps in a later blog - so we'll be placed centrally within this space.
Miles Keeping – Partner, Deloitte Real Estate and Head of the Sustainability team - Miles works with a range of clients helping them to identify and benefit from financial and corporate sustainability opportunities. He is frequently asked to advise government on environmental policy issues and Chairs a number of industry bodies in this area. LinkedIn
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