For owners, high-performance properties can increase net operating income and make facilities more attractive to potential investors and tenants. For commercial and industrial tenants—who can account for up to 70% of the energy used in commercial, retail, and industrial buildings—better building performance can boost their bottom line, contribute to corporate sustainability goals and standards, and create healthier work environments to recruit and retain employees.
However, in most traditional real estate relationships, many buildings owners, managers, and tenants are rarely on the same page when it comes to investing in building performance. IMT provides clear guidance on how to align all parties.
When it comes to educating commercial real estate service professionals about why they should take energy into consideration, IMT’s resources are indispensable. IMT’s expertise in both sustainability and the real estate sector balance the technical with the timely, resulting in approachable, credible content that translates the technical elements of building performance into an understandable business case.
– Jeffrey Kirks, Kirks Institute
Taking Action at Key Intervention Points in a Building Lifecycle
IMT specializes in bringing together stakeholders across the real estate spectrum, from owners and commercial tenants to local policymakers, service providers, and community representatives, to identify and overcome split incentives and translate technical information into win-win action along each major step in the real estate journey.
Making the Business Case
Design, Construction, and Tenant Fit-Out
Operations and Maintenance
Actionable Tools and Resources
The real estate journey kicks off with the decision to prioritize and invest in high-performing buildings, which includes making a business case for such spaces. IMT provides a number of key resources, as well as workshops and peer-to-peer learning opportunities to help business take stock of where they are and an overview of the processes—and key decision points—ahead in their journey toward better-performing buildings. Sample resources include:
- Breaking Down the Bottom Line: The Business Case for Energy Efficiency in Buildings, from the City Energy Project, provides a multi-dimensional, in-depth look at the business case for energy efficiency in buildings via firsthand commentary from leading real estate companies.
- IMT’s Landlord-Tenant Energy Partnership Efficiency Toolkit gives commercial landlords and tenants an overview of essential strategies and key questions they should start asking to act on energy efficiency today.
- IMT’s Landlord-Tenant Energy Assessment gives commercial landlords and tenants a quick assessment on where their current processes and practices might be improved to produce higher-performing spaces.
- Overcoming the Six Biggest Hurdles to Better Energy and Sustainability Performance in Leased Retail Spaces synthesizes feedback from a year of guided industry discussions with retail landlords and tenants across the United States to provide a lay-of-the-land view on how this sector might move forward.
Once the business case for a higher-performing space is made, the search begins. In the case of tenants seeking to stay in place, lease renewal provides an opportunity to align incentives between landlords and tenants to create win-win scenarios for improving a space’s efficiency, health, and resilience. For businesses seeking new rental spaces, or for owners seeking new tenants, educating brokers on high-performance building needs and characteristics is key. Sample IMT resources include:
- The Business Case for High-Performance Buildings V 2.0 is an on-demand broker education course that helps brokers and real estate agents navigate the increasingly complicated world of green building legislation, certifications, and codes and the associated business impacts and benefits. The result is a comprehensive business case for better addressing building performance in real estate transactions.
- Produced by the first public-private partnership on real estate and high-performance homes, Greening the MLS, from IMT, Elevate Energy ,and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems examines the market supply and demand for high-performance homes in Washington, D.C.
- High-performance commercial buildings are becoming increasingly common in the marketplace. High-Performance Buildings and Property Value examines the relationship between lenders and appraisers and how green features fit into components of value to affect premiums, collateral risks, and overall market value of high-performance buildings.
Perhaps the most consequential question in any real estate decision is how the effort will be funded. Investing in a higher performing property—whether to rent or renovate or buy—is no exception. IMT provides a wealth of tools to help explore financing options, including the following:
- For retail projects, IMT’s Guide to Internal Financing for Energy Efficiency in Retail and Guide to External Financing for Energy Efficiency in Retail, both produced in partnership with the Retail Industry Leaders Association, provide starting points.
- For Washington, DC-based businesses, the Building Innovation Hub offers a searchable funding and financing database of major programs in the region.
- The City Energy Project‘s Energy Efficiency Financing Tools for Private Buildings provides an overview of the ways city officials can make available tools and mechanisms for financing efficiency in private buildings.
- For those seeking to increase their lender’s willingness to finance efficiency and building performance projects, IMT’s Energy Efficiency Finance for Commercial Builders: Insights from Lenders provides information on how energy efficiency improvements can lower lender risk.
One of the most critical documents that sets expectations for how a property should perform, as well as how improvement will be paid for, is the lease.
- The Landlord-Tenant Energy Assessment provides the first step in understanding where building owners and tenants can better address building performance via a tailored set of recommended actions based on a quick online assessment.
- Is your lease green? Get the basics on how leasing can bring landlords and tenants together to produce higher-performing properties in this easy-to-grasp infographic and learn more about the market potential in our What’s in a Green Lease? report.
- IMT’s Green Lease Leaders program not only recognizes market leaders for innovative leasing practices, but also provide clear guidance for both landlords and tenants on how to overcome split incentives and create productive leasing structures that reward all parties for producing more efficient spaces.
- The Green Lease Library, housed within Green Lease Leaders, also offers an ever-expanding range of case studies and tools to improve leasing practices.
- Performance-based leases take leasing to the next level by setting performance targets for all parties. Read more about getting started with performance-based leasing.
For high-performance buildings to become business as usual, all disciplines in the building industry need to recognize the role they play in actualizing high-performance spaces that improve health, increase resilience, and create economic opportunity across a community. The design and construction phases of a project are particularly impactful.
- The Building Innovation Hub’s Priority Action Playbook outlines a list of actions each discipline involved in building design, construction, and operation can deploy to prioritize energy efficiency, with an eye on working across disciplines for maximum impact.
- Moving a business to a new location provides a clean slate to explore high-performance design solutions that offer a host of benefits, as shown in IMT’s tenant fit-out and leasing guidelines, Sustainable Solutions for the Modern Office.
- Responsible design and construction also includes expanding opportunity and diversity in contracting. To help, the Building Innovation Hub provides an overview of high-road contracting standards, which establish a standard of productivity and efficiency rooted in environmental sustainability, livable wages, and shared prosperity and inclusion.
- When you’re ready to take action, the Building Innovation Hub’s Service Procurement Guide provides step-by-step guidance to make decisions on improving building operations and performance to achieve environmental, economic, and equity goals.
Operations and maintenance play a critical role in 1) ensuring buildings perform as intended and 2) opportunities to further improve performance are identified and acted upon as much as possible. To that end, IMT deploys a wealth of knowledge about creating and instituting operational best practices.
- You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and IMT is a long-standing advocate of and expert in building energy performance benchmarking practices that address this foundational practice.
- Our wide array of leasing resources ensure that landlords and tenants are aligned from the beginning on how to partner for optimal space and building operations
- Explore key strategies for building an internal culture that promotes efficiency; proactively and predictively addresses maintenance; and examines whole-building data, as well as key building components for performance improvement opportunities in the Building Innovation Hub’s Operations and Maintenance Guide.
- Recognizing that plug and process loads (PPL) consume about one-third of energy in commercial buildings, IMT’s guide on Increasing Tenant Engagement Through Plug Load Management explores PPL strategies, their associated energy savings, and the most cost-effective pathways to implementation.