Going Green In 2019

    Having a sustainable property was once a choice. In the year 2019, it has become a priority. The escalation of the trend to “Go-Green” in combination with the evidence of climate change has made sustainability a talking point for developers, investors, tenants and managers alike. Many properties have been able to take a strong step toward environmental consciousness with efforts like renewable energy resources, LED lighting, recycling programs, and more. But what’s the next wave of sustainability? Where do we “go green” from here?

    Reporting & Analyzing

    Gathering and analyzing data on properties is already common practice, but what if you approached your reporting on sustainability with the same scrutiny as you do other aspects of your portfolio. Knowing the numbers and cost behind various eco-friendly efforts can help improve your portfolio’s sustainability and quite possibly its profitability. “The right metrics can preempt potential sustainability risks and help companies take appropriate and timely steps to remediate existing ones,” says Surabhi Sheth, research leader for Real Estate at the Deloitte Center for Financial Services. Concentrated efforts in this area can help underperforming buildings improve and give longevity to buildings that are already at a higher level.

    Work with Environment-Minded Vendors

    When reviewing bids from service providers, many factors should be considered including pricing, reputation, timeline, and customer service. Another element that often is overlooked but will be increasingly important in “going-green” is considering a vendors sustainability efforts. “By choosing suppliers and service providers with strong sustainability practices, you can extend your GHG reduction efforts.” says Richard Batten, Global Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at JLL.

    Tenant Participation

    We know the environmental consciousness of a building is increasingly significant in a tenant’s decision to sign or renew leases. Why not take it a step further than just offering an eco-friendly office space? By hosting “ride-share to work” days or promoting practices like bringing a reusable water bottle to the office, you can engage your tenants with your efforts to be a more sustainable property. Another great benefit of these efforts is you can create an emotional connection between your customers and your property.


    While there isn’t a single, nationally recognized certification for sustainability in commercial real estate, there are a handful that are highly regarded. Programs like LEED, ENERGY STAR, IREM Certified Sustainable Property, and others not only give your building an edge over the competition, they do the heavy lifting for you. These programs do the research and all you need to do is meet their requirements. While it’s not easy to get these certifications, it is a way to ensure your sustainability efforts are being focused in the right areas while earning you a marketable benefit.

    CEL & Associates recently published a Real Estate Forecast for the year 2025. Within this paper, President & CEO Christopher Lee sites the key components for successful real estate firms as “inspiring vision, challenge the status quo, model a way to a sustainable future…” If your portfolio, your firm is going to find success in this future market, what efforts can you start putting forward today?


    About the Author: Lindsay Konlande currently serves as the Associate Director for Institute of Real Estate Management, Houston Chapter. Lindsay earned her Bachelor Degree in Communication from Texas A&M and has 8+ years of experience in marketing, public relations and copywriting.

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