We recently were awarded Energy Star status for one of our office properties – the second year in a row. This is a nice accomplishment for the property and shows our tenants and the community that we are focused on reducing our energy consumption.
There are many ways to reduce energy consumption in commercial properties – some are low cost/low risk while other methods are more expensive and intrusive. Regardless of the how you get there, reduced energy consumption is not your only benefit. More and more tenants are seeking to occupy energy efficient buildings and hope to gain more than just dollars from doing so. Is there a PR/public perception benefit for our customers?
Imagine an office property with 50% occupancy and little in the way of benefits or differentiation in the marketplace. What if the property owner put solar panels on the roof and wind turbines along the perimeter of the roof line? Even though the financial payback on an energy basis is probably too long, does it change the perception of the property and help lease the vacant space faster? If so, maybe the payback on the investment made should be calculated with both energy savings and leasing revenue.
I’d make the case that if sold effectively to the marketplace, just a few small to mid-size leases that result from these improvements will provide a great return on investment. How about trying something different that no one else in your marketplace is doing? With some good planning and thoughful execution, I’ll bet it works!