A close look at statistics on energy efficiency and sustainability suggest that proactive real estate firms benefit.
Toon Dreessen, the immediate past President of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), offered compelling evidence:
A study of Bentall Kennedy’s North American real estate portfolio of more than 300 buildings found that environmentally friendly office properties net 3.7 per cent higher rents. In their Canadian holdings, occupancy rates in environmentally certified buildings were 18.7 per cent higher than non-certified.
There is no mention of why the Canadian and American results differed so markedly. The study was conducted by the University of Guelph and Maastricht University of The Netherlands.
The study found that tenants in green buildings tend to stay longer, which reduces the costs associated with turnover, the story at The Globe and Mail says. The Business Development Bank of Canada, which supports 42,000 small and mid-sized companies, says that green retrofits pay for themselves in two to six years.
Dreessen said that commercial and residential buildings account for 17 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Ontario. Vehicles are big sources as well. Dreessen points out, however, that the usable life of a car or truck is far shorter than a building. Thus, special attention must be paid to buildings because of their longevity.
The work must be deep, Dressen writes:
Changing lightbulbs to LED and lowering the furnace a degree at night are important, but largely symbolic: renovation and retrofit are the real game-changers.
An infographic at Realty Biz highlights what it calls the world’s most innovative buildings. They are The Edge (Amsterdam), Pixel (Melbourne), The Bahrain World Trade Center (Manama, Bahrain), the Bullitt Center (Seattle), The Arcos Building (Fukuoka, Japan), The Crystal (London), One Angel Square (Manchester, U.K.) and Powerhouse Kjorbo (Oslo).