Quantifying the Impact of Environmental Interventions in Commercial Real Estate
LEED EBOM: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for Existing Buildings Operations and Management
EcoTracker: Building monitoring system (BMS) software developed by Bentall GreenOak
ForeverGreen: Tenant engagement program developed by Bentall GreenOak
Using 261 Bentall GreenOak office and multifamily assets, researchers Clayton, Devine, and Holtermans estimated the impact that building interventions have on electricity consumption over time. The study analyzed three specific interventions that were implemented over 15 years: tenant engagement, building management system (BMS) software, and equipment upgrades, and found that all three interventions resulted in decreased utility consumption.
Results: Impact of building interventions on electricity consumption over time
DATA & METHODS
The Sample used in this research was made possible by a partnership with Bentall GreenOak. It sampled 261 office buildings in the U.S. (145) and Canada (116) using 15 years of monthly observations (25,704 building-months).
As shown in the graph above:
- EcoTracker BMS software resulted in a 25% energy reduction over 10 years
- Building Certification resulted in a 23% reduction over 7 years
- Tenant Engagement Programs (ForeverGreen) resulted in a 12.5% reduction over 4 years
Leveraging both BMS software and tenant engagement programs provided an additional 20% reduction in electricity consumption over five years compared to buildings without any intervention. Tenant engagement efforts were critical for generating immediate efficiency improvements and showed increasing efficiency gains over time as engagement campaigns were repeated. Additionally, the results suggest that building certifications like LEED can result in immediate savings that continue to improve over time.
The research findings imply that other property owners and managers should consider a holistic approach to energy efficiency at their properties. Combining “soft” interventions like tenant engagement with “hard” technical solutions like software and equipment upgrades can generate sustained electricity savings throughout the course of an asset’s hold period.
This study also sheds light on the collective impacts of design, operating efficiency, equipment maintenance, and tenant engagement, and how they interact to shape a buildings’ bottom line. While environmental certification does contribute to reduced energy consumption, it is not the sole driver, and should be packaged with ongoing engagement and upkeep efforts to maximize performance.
To read more about the methodology and full results behind this research, click here.