The performance gap, between how a building should operate and how it actually operates is an increasingly important issue for clients.
BREEAM covers a plethora of ‘working environment’ issues relating to occupant health and wellbeing, ranging from the quality of indoor air and thermal comfort, to good day lighting. This is a considerable benefit for organisations, as buildings perform better in use, occupants are happy, healthier and more productive.
But there are also other benefits. There is a greater ‘kudos’ associated with a sustainable building, and it is well known that tenants are more likely to be attracted to green buildings than those that aren’t, which means more competitive rental incomes. Recent studies reveal that sale prices of BREEAM rated buildings are increased by about 15-20% and rental rates between 20-25% higher than conventional unrated buildings, with an average increase of about 3% rent per rating level for LEED-certified buildings. For developers, the ‘prime benefit of sustainable real estate’ is preservation or increase of the value of the building, followed by reputation, reduction of energy costs, emissions and operating costs. These benefits, as well as those mentioned above, act as a tangible stimulus for developers to invest higher green building ratings.
As the industry will need to meet tougher Building Regulations to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the built environment, the case for sustainable buildings will become even stronger. However, the construction industry will need to invest in up skilling their workforce to meet the increasingly high standards of sustainable buildings. And new leaner construction methods and technologies will have to be embraced to decrease the costs of building these highly sustainable projects and maintain developer interest.