Building Owners Lead the Way to Carbon Neutrality
Discover how commercial building owners are driving sustainability and carbon neutrality in response to the pandemic's impact, changing employee demands, and governmental directives.
Achieving carbon neutrality in buildings is a challenge that all commercial real estate building owners must address with clients. The steps that building owners are taking to transform their buildings not only help owners compete in the current business climate, but also address sustainability and energy efficiency in the fight against climate change.
Promoting sustainability and healthy buildings is a mutual concern shared by building owners, tenants and the employees working on site. The pandemic raised awareness in the public about the importance of good indoor air quality to keep employees healthy and to also help avoid the spread of germs and other viruses.
“Cities cannot reach net-zero without addressing the impact of the commercial real estate industry,” says Carey Sealy, global head of client operations-operational excellence, work dynamics, JLL. “In the race to net-zero, we’re seeing companies being more selective when deciding what space to occupy, as companies look to upgrade spaces with the sustainability profile needed to attract employees back to the office.”
The focus on sustainability and directives by local governments to achieve net-zero status has inspired commercial building owners to adopt new technologies such as fully electric buildings and solar power. Johnson says these kinds of innovations are a long time coming for the commercial sector.
“The strongest demand driver right now is actually the employees or users of the space,” says Brett Johnson, a principal in Ernst & Young’s transaction advisory services real estate group. “This is a positive for the industry as we aren’t waiting for regulators to deliver top-down mandates. Employee demand has created an opportunity for developers and landlords to generate value by implementing sustainable practices within their properties. The office buildings of the future will be held to much higher standards.”
Dave Lubach is the executive editor for the facilities market.