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Commercial real estate is having a huge impact on the revolution toward more sustainable building projects. Today, all parties are being called on to meet or exceed LEED standards. Sustainability in commercial real estate (CRE) is no longer just important, it is imperative. Property owners are well advised to work toward adding sustainability into their projects, ranging from the building design to the building materials. In addition to saving money and protecting the environment, tenants are attracted to sustainable buildings. Here are four factors to consider.
- New Sustainability Ratings
Most people are familiar with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000. CRE professionals should be watching for new ratings systems that go beyond the LEED standards. Two new programs in particular build on the water, energy, efficiency, environmental, and design innovations set by the LEED standards. These pilot programs are aimed at helping entire communities and cities achieve even greater energy savings and environmental protection.
- Sustainable Parking Structures
The effort to expand sustainability from simply building to building instead incorporates city planning and designs for overall sustainability. This initiative is changing the way parking structures are built as they become part of this larger movement. Fewer parking garages plus creative parking designs that decrease the carbon footprint and increase walking areas are part of citywide efforts to improve sustainability.
- Increased Stakeholder Interest
Tenants aren't the only ones interested in what builders are doing to improve sustainability. Other stakeholders like investors and vendors also are interested in seeing measurable results from sustainability initiatives. The more sustainability measures that you pursue the better. If your properties already meet LEED standards, it is time to address the new criteria coming online. These endeavors not only will help you market the efficiency of your building projects but also will enable you to show your stakeholders that your measures are effective.
Waling scores are part of overall sustainability ratings. New ratings systems judge transportation systems as part of a city's overall sustainability as well, which are helping to make measuring progress even more accurate.
- Architecture that Incorporates Sustainability
From the materials used to the environmental impact of new buildings, developers are charging architects with building sustainable features into the architecture. Energy-efficient toilets for large office buildings or SMART HVAC systems in condo complexes are just a couple of ways that building developers are pushing the trend toward sustainability even further.