Why you should prioritise sustainability in your commercial property

By Greg Bell

In the age of the conscientious consumer, sustainability is key.

Signs of 'going green' are prevalent throughout Australia. For example, we're the third fastest-growing market for vegan products, according to Euromonitor International – and responsible investment here is growing 9 per cent annually, as reported by the Responsible Investment Association of Australia.

While it's clear that attitudes are shifting to focus on more environmentally and socially ethical products, what could this mean in the world of commercial real estate? We investigate.

The impact of commercial real estate

Currently, no research exists to quantify the role of commercial real estate in Australia's environmental well-being. In the United States, however, it accounts for 18.7 percent of energy usage, 40 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and 88 percent of potable water consumption, according to Deloitte.

With water an expensive commodity in much of Australia, we should be aiming to avoid similar rates of usage by employing sustainability principles in new and existing commercial spaces.

What sustainable real estate can offer

There's a whole host of benefits to be considered in leasing an environmentally sustainable building for your business.

The Green Building Council of Australia launched a voluntary rating system to qualify conservative buildings throughout the country, known as Green Star. Buildings with this certification reportedly:

  • Produce 62 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Use 66 per cent less electricity,
  • Consume 51 per cent less potable water than minimum industry standards and,
  • Recycle 96 per cent of their construction and demolition waste.

With huge reduction in waste and consumption, businesses in Green Star buildings are poised to make considerable savings on utilities, on top of having a clearer conscience.

Furthermore, well-designed sustainable buildings could contribute to staff productivity, says City of Melbourne environment portfolio chair Arron Wood. Melbourne's Council House 2 was designed with Green prinicples in mind and Mr. Wood claims:

"The building's first full year of operation was evaluated independently and found to have improved productivity by an impressive 10.9 per cent."

Meanwhile, the headquarters for the organisation behind the upcoming Games on the Gold Coast have received a 4-Gold Star rating, boasting extensive use of recycled materials, indoor plants, improved accessibility and outdoor workspaces, all revitalising a partially vacated TAFE site.

To talk more about investing in sustainable, responsible real estate, turn to the team at Ray White Commercial Gold Coast today.

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