Commercial Property Seekers are looking for Energy Efficiency

MORE energy efficient buildings are a benefit not only to tenants, but to landlords of commercial property as well. In the last decade power prices have risen dramatically, and this has resulted in rises in costs when it comes to energy, and ultimately that very important bottom line.

When looking for commercial property, whether that be leasing or buying, energy efficiency is now emerging as one of the key factors when searching for that perfect property. 

Paul Loftus, Head of Sales at Powershop Australia, told Commercial Property Guide that it's important to make properties more energy efficient, because everyone will benefit. 

"Electricity is one of the largest cost items for commercial customers - so energy efficient buildings mean lower energy bills. This is an appealing factor for potential tenants," he said. 

"Given these tenants have limited options for efficiency improvements they can implement in a building, it’s generally up to the landlords to make improvements. The incentive is that this will lead to higher rent yields and demand for their properties." 

It's not only power savings that make energy efficiency buildings more attractive, it's the environmental aspect that also appeals to those in the commercial property market. This is especially relevant to the younger millennial generation, which are forecast to be 35 per cent of global spending by 2030, according to experts.

"Improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings will have a significant effect on the building's environmental footprint. This has both economic and social benefits in today's culture. Today's millennial consumers significantly are more likely to make decision based on sustainability than previous generations," Mr Loftus said. 

The issue of energy efficiency is very real out there in the market. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, an incredible 30 per cent of energy used in commercial buildings is wasted.

The issue of wasted or misused energy is not only relevant to the commercial property market, according to Mr Loftus.

"I'd argue wasted power isn't limited to commercial buildings, but all buildings," he said. 

"Some common examples of energy wastage in buildings include having the heating set too high, or the cooling too low, and leaving lighting on all night, even low-energy LED lighting."

Simple Energy Efficiency Gains

So how do you make a building more energy efficient?  According to Mr Loftus turning this remarkable 30 per cent wastage figure around can be as simple as controlling how you use your power better, and that might be just turning off the lights, monitors, and even the coffee machine overnight or on the weekends.

"A typical rule of thumb is energy savings of between 3-15 per cent can be found through behavioural change and capital upgrades," Mr Loftus said. 

"For instance, since turning off our coffee machine, all monitors and building cooling overnight, we've reduced usage at the Powershop office between 10-15 per cent a day."

There are also capital works improvements that can be made, if it's relevant to your building. 

"If you have roof space available, you can look at solar and potentially battery storage," Mr Loftus said. "This can be used to offset your usage, and can also be linked to demand response programs that can generate income for the property. That means you would be paid by the electricity retailer or distributor for your contribution.”

Seek Expert Advice

"To develop more tailored solutions for your building we recommend booking an energy/ carbon management specialist to audit your building and provide specific solutions to reduce your energy usage in the future." 

This might lead to investing in new energy efficiency technology for existing properties. Many owners of commercial property are doing so already with great success. Gary Franklin, the director of British company Matrix Control Solutions, recently told The Guardian new technology for older buildings when it comes to cooling and heating systems could reduce energy consumption up to 60 per cent - which translates to much-valued savings.

"There are lots of these quick wins right now for energy efficiency in terms of simple software changes for heating and cooling," he said. 

Using Existing Systems Better

However, if you don't have the capacity to invest in new systems, using current systems more efficiently is also another way of saving energy, according to Mr Loftus.

"Use existing building management systems to control heating, cooling and lighting at a closer level, not just switching on and off, but controlling when you heat and cool, and to what temperature, and when you use lighting in your building," he said. 

"If the building is empty overnight or on the weekends, why use power?”

There is no doubt about it, there will be more developments in the future when comes to energy efficiency technology and commercial property, that will both benefit tenants and landlords in the future.

Watch this space. But in the meantime, a lot can be done in reducing those energy bills, and making your property, or the one you lease, more energy efficient.