The economic case for sustainable real estate

Posted On Monday, 21 May 2012 02:00 Published by Commercial Property News
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The prominent role of real estate is increasingly recognized in the wider debate on climate change, as commercial and residential buildings account for a significant proportion of carbon emissions

Indeed, businesses, landlords and tenants are becoming increasingly aware of the various advantages of occupying green buildings.

Cluttons - an independent partnership of chartered surveyors founded in 1765 and comprising a network of offices in the UK, Europe, Middle East, South Africa and Caribbeanthe - recently released its Green Report titled ‘Doing Well by Doing Good: Does Going Green with Commercial Real Estate Pay?’.

Jonathan Fothergill, Director of Cluttons UAE Valuations, explains, "Energy efficiency improvements are a direct and relatively simple way to reduce the carbon footprint of real estate. Steps taken to measure and monitor energy consumption can lead to efficiency improvements that translate into real economic savings, not only through a decrease in operating expenses, but also the increase in value associated with an increase in property level revenue."

Benefits for investors in green buildings include lower operating costs, improved marketability, longer useful life-spans, and more stable cash flows. Any efforts to decrease controllable expenses, like energy use, can increase net income for the landlord by 2-3%.

Over the past 12 months Cluttons Middle East, working in tandem with a specialist energy efficiency contractor, has been researching the potential for reducing the operating costs for its property management clients and making their properties more sustainable. Several refurbishment measures to existing buildings have been considered in an attempt to reduce operating costs and to improve energy efficiency.

This complements the efforts of the Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council’s Estidama (sustainability) Pearl Rating System. This stipulates that new buildings must meet strict sustainability requirements in respect of energy and water consumption efficiency to receive approval for construction. This is part of the UAE Governments’ target of achieving a 120% reduction in the UAE’s carbon footprint by 2015.

The authority is currently drawing up guidelines that will make existing structures in the Emirate sustainable. These guidelines will call for more efficient water, lighting, cooling and insulation fixtures, among various other elements. Two buildings in the capital have already been recognised for their sustainability efforts: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank was awarded the LEED pre-certification for Gold Rating from the US Green Building Council for its proposed new headquarters on Airport Road in Abu Dhabi.

The building, which is under construction, will be one of the first to have received such a certification in the UAE. The integration of sustainability principles into the Sowwah Square buildings has also resulted in the prestigious accreditation by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): LEED Core and Shell Gold Pre-certification by the US Green Building Council.

Publisher: eProp
Source: CUAE

Last modified on Thursday, 26 September 2013 23:23

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