The level of interest in and desire for ‘greener’ buildings is now pretty much mainstream. Consumers and businesses are taking seriously the benefits of operating in an environmentally responsible manner. As consequence it is becoming an expectation that companies will incorporate environmentally aware approaches in everything that they do, including their buildings.
So, why do it? Why does it matter and what is the business benefit?
- You have to: Increasingly stringent government building regulations in the area of environmental responsibility are here to stay, both in terms of energy efficient construction and disclosure to buyers and lessees. Currently a commercial building over 2000sqm must have its energy efficiency declared at point of sale or lease. This scheme is soon to be expanded to other property types in Australia.
- Your customers expect it: More and more consumers are paying attention to the sustainability of businesses and how they operate. The consequence of social media targeting of poor environmental practices in companies must be familiar to any person in business today. If good public image and relations are something a company is after, then being environmentally aware and public about what they are doing about it is becoming a necessity.
- Your employees expect it: Today’s (and tomorrows) employees are becoming reluctant to be associated with companies with poor environmental records. Most want to be associated with a company that takes its environmental and social responsibilities as seriously as it does its economic concerns. Being environmentally aware and managing the issues can help to attract the best talent.
- Your brand benefits: Through publicly displaying environmental credentials that demonstrate a company’s commitment. This has been shown to give consumers confidence in a company and its products.
- Your Investors are happier: Investors are now tending to prefer environmentally responsible buildings and companies to invest in. The perception is that an environmentally conscious property or company is one that is more innovative and therefore more competitive.
- Your efficiency improves: Studies have shown that environmentally sensitive work environments have a significant positive impact (a 40% reduction in sickness in one case) on the health and productivity of staff.
- Your assets’ value is enhanced: Buildings incorporating energy efficiencies and sustainable attributes have been shown to attract a ‘green premium’ in market value and rental yields over their traditional peers. Recent Australian research has demonstrated that market prices for ‘green’ commercial buildings attract a premium of up to 9% for highly rated NABERS buildings, and up to 12% for Green Star rated buildings.
It’s clear that Green commercial buildings are better in many ways. So where are they and how do you know they really are what they say they are? Look out for those rated by the Green Building Council of Australia or with high NABERS ratings. Others simply have excellent ‘green’ features so you’ll need to look closely and ask the right questions.
To make it easier a new tool, Green Commercial Property Listings (an initiative of Green Moves Australia), is now available that showcases the ‘green credibility’ of these special buildings. The aim is to promote highly efficient and sustainable buildings to the market. The feature property, Lifestyle Working Collins Street, is a great example of the next generation of commercial buildings becoming available as it covers off all elements of sustainability – environmental, social and, of course economic.
Through the Green Commercial listings, investors and companies now have a tool that helps them find environmentally sensitive, progressive and innovative properties quickly. This matters because we are all short on time and better buildings really can help to make a better business.