Fellow Real Estate Developers, Builders, Investors, and Vendors;
What if prospective purchasers and tenants of our buildings were quickly & easily able to discern if we had cut corners, or gone the extra mile, as it pertains to the energy efficiency of our buildings? What if the energy efficiency of our properties was one of the first pieces of information at their fingertips, and it was as easy to comprehend as a Grade 1 report card? Would this change how we play the real estate game?
It would, and it will. And here is what the new system may look like, as envisioned by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers).
ASHRAE has the credibility and the reach to implement such a program, it is already in pilot phase in select areas of the USA and hopefully coming soon to a building near you. Energy ratings are not just for choosing appliances and vehicles anymore; it is only a matter of time before the BEQ Grade (Building Energy Quotient), or equivalent, will be on every listing sheet across the country.
Smart developers who can read the signs of the times have been catering to the green-demand shift for years, and for them business will carry on as usual, albeit with greater market share. Developers steeped in quick-profit business strategies which traditionally cuts corners on the latent items (ie: energy efficiency) will be in for a surprise as they discover that the marketplace has changed. New terminology has been added to the real estate lexicon, and their prospective tenants/buyers are using an oh-so-handy energy rating as part of their decision making processes. They will be approaching their agents, requesting them to locate “lease properties in SE Edmonton, 20,000 SF, grade loading overhead doors, ample parking, and an energy rating of B- or better.” An energy rating provides the missing tool for this to happen, a spotlight on an area that has historically been harder to ascertain. Think of the stigma that has become affixed to gas guzzling vehicles as a picture of how this can impact real estate.
This is not a threat, it is an opportunity to turn this growing interest in sustainability into a competitive advantage. An energy rating can be worn as a badge of honor and has the potential to become one of our most effective marketing tools.
Special thanks goes out to the award winning Vital Engineering Corporation, who introduced me to the BEQ grade. They are also the guys who can show you how to design a project that earns top grades, and how sustainable design can increase your ROI.