What does a green building mean for tenants? Do green certificates really influence tenants' well-being or is it just a marketing ploy? Is it worth considering them while selecting new office space?
It is known that rents, location and the quality of the office space on offer remain the key aspects when selecting an office building. All of these elements either are directly or indirectly linked with environmental certification including the most popular programs in Poland – LEED and BREAAM. From a tenant's perspective, occupation within a pro-ecological office building means numerous advantages that will be explained below. Future tenants may ask the building's owner about a copy of the certificate along with its points score and learn more about the ecological solutions applied within the building.
Location and quality
Certified buildings gain additional points for good location, mainly in the city centre, along with convenient access to public transportation. The proximity of services and other amenities available to tenants is also an important element. Green buildings provide bicycle racks and shower cubicles for cyclists. Furthermore, ecological means of transportation are being promoted as well with underground parking bays now including spaces for low-carbon vehicles and charging points for electrical cars. In addition, ecological finishing products of the highest quality are being used, for example paints and adhesives which have no harmful Volatile Organic Compounds, and FSC certified timber. For tenants, LEED and BREAAM certificates serve as a formal confirmation of a building's high quality.
Green office buildings are surrounded by greenery including some rooftops . The greenery adjacent to the building should be adjusted to a specific climate classification, be suited to the local climate as well as water efficient – the use of fertilisers and water should be reduced to a minimum. Tenants should have contact with nature and the ability to breathe fresh air while resting.
Lower costs and energy-efficiency
One of the most important elements while selecting new office space is service charge. A green certificate confirms that the building has lower water consumption (water-efficient basin mixer and kitchen mixer taps, toilets and urinals), waste segregation, low maintenance costs and a healthy internal environment. It is worth asking about the applied energy efficient solutions – lower energy consumption results in even lower costs for tenants. Tenants have full control over energy and water consumption as all media applied within their office is appropriately metered.
Fresh air and natural daylight
For employees, access to fresh air is also very important as well as the view from the window so that they can rest their eyes for a while. Green buildings should meet these expectations without a problem. Such office buildings provide a great amount of fresh air per worker, significantly increasing the comfort levels of employees.
A green building provides a large central refuse bin with appropriate solutions for waste segregation. Furthermore, each tenant is encouraged to segregate waste within the company's space.
The more you know
Tenants view lease of space very practically. They ask about low service charges, are interested in the scheme's quality and whether it offers particular amenities – more increasingly from the area of sustainable development. A positive aspect is the fact that for many tenants, caring for the environment is part of their company's corporate culture. It is worth asking owners of certified buildings, perceived as more user-friendly and efficient in terms of generated operational costs, about specific solutions and examples of savings.
Manager, Workplace Consultancy, JLL
The author of the article is Regina Gul - Manager, Workplace Consultancy at JLL, primarily responsible for services related to LEED and BREEAM certification, as well as construction supervision and consultancy. She is qualified to conduct energy audits and ecological certification processes for new and existing commercial buildings (LEED Accredited Professional, BREEAM Assessor International, BREEAM In-Use Auditor). She is a Member of the Board of the Polish Green Building Council.
Regina graduated from the Environmental Engineering at the Cracow University of Technology, receiving a Master's degree. She has 15 years of experience in commercial real estate.