Aligning Certifications and Operations

There are many ways that building owners and managers can demonstrate their commitments to energy efficiency and sustainability. Third-party validation of a building’s design through programs such as LEED, Passive House, Living Building Challenge, and ENERGY STAR. However, design is only the first step in a building’s life cycle.

According to a recently published Bentall Kennedy report, green building certifications can help building owners/managers realize a rent premium:

LEED certified properties in the US enjoy an average of 3.7% rent premium and a 4% gain in occupancy over comparable non-certified properties, while ENERGY STAR certified buildings averaged 2.7% higher rents and 9.5% higher occupancy than non-certified buildings.

This is only a market trend that is set to continue with green building expected to double by 2018 driven by the goal of reducing real estate operating costs. Yet, there can be a disconnect between building design and performance. Just because a building is designed to be more energy efficient and sustainable it does not mean that it is well-prepared for changes that are happening to our energy grid.

Given that building green is now standard practice, building owners and operators need to look for ways to design and/or retrofit their properties to handle extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy and potential brownouts from the increasing demands on our electricity supply that are not necessarily incorporated into green rating systems. As an increasing amount of real estate supply becomes available, operational efficiency may increasingly become a key driver of leasing conversations and decision makers will want to look beyond a building’s sustainable certification plaque.

With stricter energy codes and increasingly savvy tenants/brokers, a higher bar is being set for buildings, especially new ones that are pursuing standards such as Passive House that focus on building energy performance. Yet, even the most efficient office or home still requires a reliable source of energy. Pairing renewable energy such as solar or wind power with battery storage enables building owners and operators to exceed the current standards for energy efficiency.

At the same time, buildings that have implemented battery storage solutions are well prepared for when grid power becomes unavailable and can take advantage of demand response incentive programs. In order to go beyond what is now expected of buildings, there is an opportunity to use the innovative, space-saving Novele Energy Board to further align the sustainability and business cases for green buildings.