The Forest Through the Trees: Why Looking At Eco-friendly Properties For Relocation Can Save You Green

By James A. Schnur, CCIM
President and Designated Managing Broker
Integrated Real Estate Solutions

Relocating a business can become a costly endeavor, no matter how you slice it. During the search for the perfect property, while balancing the benefits of choosing a new building or an existing property, and navigating the pros and cons of renting versus buying, the additional prospect of looking at a more eco-friendly building can appear anywhere from cursory to daunting, depending on how it’s being approached and assessed.

However, choosing to directly target buildings with eco-friendly and green amenities can be a major business boon. By specifically targeting eco-friendly commercial properties, a majority of the initial investment in a green space can find its way back into your pocket, with the potential for greater returns year-over-year.

Efficiency Will Have an Impact on Operations Costs

As we noted when considering if a Build-to-Suit option is the right move for your business, a newer property will include newer materials engineered for optimal green efficiency, which directly translates into significant overall savings compared to outdated infrastructure.

From the introduction of updated insulation and building materials to improvements in the HVAC and electrical systems, to more efficient, passive design choices, eco-friendly buildings provide an overall reduced operating cost — compared to typical commercial buildings, green buildings report an 8% reduction in operations costs over one year, as well a 15% reduction over five years1. On top of that, according to a study conducted by the US Department of Energy, LEED-certified buildings provide a 19% reduction in annual maintenance costs on average.

What this translates into for a business owner is, by doing additional due diligence specifically targeted around eco-friendly property options, and providing an investment in a building with green features — rather than into older, existing properties without newer renovations — then the long term benefits will pay for themselves.

Increase Productivity While Saving

 The perks of the right commercial location extend beyond the purely fiscal terms. Considering the human factor is not only recommended for its own sake, but it’s also beneficial to a business’s bottom line.

While conducting a study on the relationship between the presence of daylight and retail sales, researchers found that stores with higher levels of natural daylight experienced an increase in monthly average sales, as well as an increase in overall transactions over the month2. Notably, this same study noted that call center employees would process calls 6% to 12% faster, and office workers performed 10% to 25% better on tests of mental function and recall, when they had access to better views out of a window, rather than no view at all2.

Now, certainly, green buildings are not the only properties with access to windows. That said, eco-friendly buildings are more likely to take into consideration increased uses of windows and skylights, to increase inherent passive energy efficiency, and as such, are worth exploring for a more productive workforce.

An Eco-Friendly Building is a Fruit Bearing Tree

Observing the overall reduction in operations and maintenance costs are both enticing benefits, but making the relocation to a green building is an investment in itself as well, through the increased value potential of said building. Owners of green buildings have found their ROI increased by nearly 10% on average for newly constructed buildings, and nearly 20% on average for retro-fitted and existing building projects3. Furthermore, according to the Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, global green building continues to double every three years, spurred on by the demand for eco-friendly spaces.

Furthermore, planning ahead for future staffing needs, an eco-friendly property is a strategic inclusion. As noted in our previous article, Millennials are overtaking Baby-Boomers as the majority of the active workforce. One of the strongest ways to target the top-talent within this demographic is by operating out of a green building, as across the board, Millennials take a vested interest in companies and employers placing interest in environmentally minded initiatives and programs. This means that all things being equal, operating out of a green building can be the tipping point in recruiting the next star addition to your team.

Navigating through the process of relocation requires balancing a litany of professional, legal, and physical considerations, the choice of an eco-friendly option not least among them. Choosing to work with a commercial property tenant representative broker helps approach these various considerations with expert opportunities and solutions while ensuring your business needs are the foremost deciding factor at every step of the process. Should the right property present itself, and after consulting with Integrated Real Estate Solutions and your internal team regarding your relocation options, you can rest assured in the knowledge that your choice to pursue a green building will be a sound asset.

Integrated Real Estate Solutions, Inc. provides clients with the in-depth knowledge and experience that is critical to determine the right path to your next move, lease renewal, or strategic repositioning of your real estate portfolio. Contact us or call 847.550.0160 today about your needs, and put our success to work for you.

  1. S. Green Building Council (Feb. 2015). The Business Case for Green Building.
  2. Heschong Mahone Group, Inc. (2003). Windows and Offices: A Study of Office Worker Performance and the Indoor Environment –CEC Pier 2003.
  3. S. Department of Energy (Sept. 2011). Re-Assessing Green Building Performance: A Post Occupancy Evaluation of 22 GSA Buildings.

Author: Jim Schnur

Jim Schnur is the President and Designated Managing Broker of Integrated Real Estate Solutions, Inc. Jim started the firm in 2003 after almost 20 years negotiating and overseeing real estate transactions at Hewlett Packard Co. and Agilent Technologies, Inc.