Plain Language #10: Energy and Resource Efficiency

Over the last few years, both how we work and how we evaluate space have changed. Many workers are resisting the return to office, and asking for more sustainable, and greener spaces to be waiting for them when they do. Similarly, many companies are also shifting their focus towards having a lower carbon footprint and ‘net-zero’ emissions.

As sustainability becomes a key piece of the corporate puzzle, CRE professionals are also increasingly required to be conversant with common energy and efficiency terms in order to negotiate deals with eco-savvy clients.

So, for this instalment of our ongoing CRE Terms blog we’re once again delving into the NAOIP 2017 Terms and Definitions document to help clarify some of the jargon. More specifically, we’re going to be looking at rating systems that measure a building’s energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Energy Star®

The Energy Star® program is a joint initiative by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to rate products and buildings in terms of their energy efficiency. If a building is “Energy Star qualified”, that means it’s been benchmarked against other similar structures and certified as being a top performer.

Green Globes®

The Green Globes® certification program offers a similar guarantee, with buildings rated between one and four “globes” based on their sustainability and environmental performance. Green Globes also offers guidance for developers and building owners working to bring their property up to specifications.

LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

The LEED program falls under the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a sustainability-focused non-profit that certifies buildings in terms of water and energy efficiency, air quality, and material usage.

To meet the standard of certification, buildings must score at least 40 points across categories ranging from water and energy management to carbon footprint, waste production, and occupant health and wellness.

Buildings then get sorted into categories based on score, with the highest being LEED Platinum (80+) and a score of 100 indicating the building is ‘net-zero.’

Selling sustainability

In the future, the trend towards sustainable development is likely to grow even stronger as various stakeholders become increasingly environmentally conscious and demand greater accountability from developers and businesses at large.

For the savvy CRE professional, being familiar with the ins and outs of these sustainability certifications is, therefore, an essential part of a well-rounded toolkit.