The Leader Magazine

SEP 2017

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ThE lEadER SEPTEMBER 2017 25 in green buildings had 38 percent higher focussed activity scores and 73 percent higher crisis-response scores 6 . Given that staff costs typically account for about 90 percent of a business's operating costs, businesses can realise substantial fi nancial benefi ts from increased productivity (e.g., fewer sick days, lower turnover rates, etc.) through relatively simple design- and fi t-out features. Workers are also increasingly fi nding that they have building performance data at their fi ngertips. With signifi cant advances in air-quality monitoring equipment, including wearable devices for the most health-conscious of employees, high concentrations of carbon dioxide or pollutants in the air will soon be deemed unacceptable. These innovations bring with them their own considerations: what might a CRE team do differently if everyone could know everything there is to know about a building and its performance? This democratisation of data is, in itself, fast becoming a reason to address environmental quality factors. The changing role of CRE teams The role of CRE teams is changing rapidly, and they're increasingly expected to deliver transformational change programmes fundamental to long-term business resilience. Sustainability provides a lens through which to incorporate such changes within a real estate portfolio – by allowing for human, environmental and fi nancial performance aspects to all be considered at once rather than in isolation. While this can present signifi cant challenges, especially as CRE teams are typically quite small, the ultimate prize speaks for itself – with reduced operating costs; healthy, happy, engaged staff; and high productivity levels fuelling commercial success. Unlocking these business benefi ts will ultimately be the key driver for business occupiers at large driving up demand for more sustainable buildings and workspaces as they use their purchasing power to demand strong performance. This is supported by emerging trends in global green building certifi cations, which continue to grow year-on- year across multiple markets and diverse certifi cation schemes 7 . What can be done differently? Transforming a real estate portfolio into a sustainable one is a complex and comprehensive task involving careful consideration of performance criteria throughout acquisition or investment, leasing, design, construction, operation and disposal stages. There are far too many potential interventions to list in a single article, but the principles below provide a simple starting point for those CRE teams seeking to embark on the journey. 1. Set meaningful targets. Corporate target-setting has gained rapid traction in recent years, partly due to the global Paris Agreement, which provides important certainty to businesses as to the global imperative to take action on climate (despite the recent U.S. dropout). There's also been signifi cant uptake of science-based targets, which track an organisation's path to decarbonisation in line with climate science.

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