Better Buildings Better Business

12 July 2012

So whats the big deal? How can better buildings help you do better business?

Heres my view on why it matters so much.

  • Government regulations at all levels are increasing in the area of environmentalresponsibility and that includes building regulations for both commercial andresidential. Owning and/or operating from an efficient sustainable buildingdelivers both environmental and operating cost benefits. The energy efficiency ofa commercial building over 2000sqm must be declared at the point of sale orlease so that the perspective buyer/tenant gets an understanding of what it maycost to run. This scheme is soon to be expanded to other property types in Australia.
  • Better public relations sadly not everyone cares about environmental issues,but more consumers are paying attention to the sustainability of businesses andhow they operate. Social media has become a key tool in consumers spreading the word about a companys environmental responsibility, or lack of it! Just lookat the grief Apple is currently going through for its alleged human rights issuesand brown energy sources. If good public image and relations are something acompany is after, then being environmentally aware and public about what theyare doing about it is becoming a necessity.
  • Attracting employees is another area. Employees are becoming reluctant to be associated with companies with poor environmental records. Most want to beassociated with a company that takes its environmental and social responsibilitiesas seriously as it does its economic concerns. Being environmentally aware andmanaging the issues can help to attract the best talent.
  • Companies that walk the talk on sustainability by providing proof of theircommitment (eg: making their policies publically available) and operating frombuildings that compliment sustainable practices are considered to be keeping upwith the times and generally have an edge over others that dont. This also helpsto promote brand loyalty.
  • Encourages brand loyalty - through publically displaying environmental credentials that demonstrate a companys commitment. This has been shown togive consumers confidence in a company and its products.
  • Investors are now tending to prefer environmentally responsible buildings andcompanies to invest in. The perception is that an environmentally consciousproperty or company is one that is more innovative and therefore more competitive.
  • Reduced operating costs are a key benefit for the owner or tenant and not justin energy and water resource usage. Studies have shown that environmentallysensitive work environments have a significant positive impact on the health andproductivity of staff. One of many case studies found supporting this referred to aCollins Street retrofit in Melbourne where the number of sick days of staffreduced by 40% after the environmental refit was completed. Thats a major bonus for any company.

Asset protection and risk reduction. Buildings incorporating energyefficiencies and sustainable attributes have been shown to attract a greenpremium in market value and rental yields over their traditional peers. Forexample, in Europe green buildings are attracting a 7.5% higher market priceand in the USA up to 10% higher market price. Here in Australia, an IPD GreenProperty Index report found a clear benefit for owning/operating a greenbuilding. On top of that, a recent Low Carbon Australia study has demonstratedthat market prices for green commercial buildings attract a premium of up to 9%in Australia, with up to 3% higher rental yields. The Royal Institute of CharteredSurveyors are also currently reviewing their valuation methods with a view toincluding sustainability features.

Environmental sustainability in buildings is certainly here to stay.

So where are these Green Commercial buildings and how do you know they reallyare what they say they are? Some have been rated by the Green Building Councilof Australia, others have obtained high NABERS ratings while some simply haveexcellent green features. There arent that many of these buildings and they are notthat easy to find - until now.

Launching this weekend is Green Commercial, the business side of Green Movesproperty listings. The showcase property is Lifestyle Working Collins Street, adevelopment by Stable Group and Lend Lease in Victoria Harbour, Melbourne.

There is no green wash about this building, all benefits are tangible and measurablesaid Stable Group Chairman Ed Horton. Lifestyle Working is one of the mostinnovative commercial developments we have seen and we are very proud it is thecentrepiece for our Green Commercial launch said Danielle King, Director of GreenMoves. Our greatest difficulty is finding such properties to bring to the attention ofthe market she says.

Green Commercials aim is to promote highly efficient and sustainable buildings andbusinesses to the market place. Lifestyle Working is a great example of the nextgeneration of commercial properties becoming available as it covers off all elementsof sustainability environmental, social and of course economic.

Through the Green Commercial listings, investors and companies now have a toolthat helps them find environmentally sensitive, progressive and innovative propertiesquickly. This is important because we are all short on time and better buildings reallycan help to make a better business.

By Danielle King, GreenMoves

By Tim Dorey, GreenBizCheck


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