Property Owners Should Prepare Now for Changes to Energy Star Program
HOUSTON, Feb. 20, 2018 – As employers must continuously raise the bar to attract and retain the best talent, property owners must work in tandem to keep quality tenants. Today’s workers place high value on a company’s environmental responsibility, workplace amenities and organizational culture. In the latest edition of Insights, Transwestern experts explore how property owners and tenants can implement changes to stay competitive.
Updated Energy Star Program
Some properties might be at risk of losing their Energy Star certification later this year when new building performance baselines are released. The Environmental Protection Agency has been updating its Portfolio Manager tool, which is used to calculate Energy Star scores, with survey data collected in 2012. Because the new data set will likely include a larger proportion of energy-efficient buildings, a building that achieved the Energy Star label in the past may no longer compare as well.
“While there’s no way to predict the change in score for a specific building, property owners should be prepared for a drop of at least five points in their Energy Star score,” said Josh Richards, Director of Sustainability. “Losing the Energy Star certification means losing the marketing benefits that come with it, potentially lowering an asset’s competitive advantage. The good news is that landlords can act now to begin improving the metrics tracked in Portfolio Manager.”
Amenities That Drive ROI
Data shows that companies are making real estate decisions based on how well their leased space, the larger property and the surrounding area will provide the kind of experiences that attract and retain workers. Landlords are responding to this increased demand for amenity-rich workplaces by adding features such as wine lounges, upscale coffee bars, gourmet cafés and more.
“Our goal is to make decisions about the workplace easy for tenants and their employees, and in large part that is influenced by the quality-of-life elements incorporated into our clients’ properties,” said Mike Watts, President of Transwestern’s Midwest Region. “Our work shows that a critical look at amenities, space usage and branding pays off for both owners and tenants.”
In Minneapolis, for example, Transwestern collaborated with Zeller Realty Group to introduce a host of new features at Fifth Street Towers. The revitalized asset now offers a wellness center with napping pods; a lounge; a 5,000-square-foot deck with TVs and skyline views; a staffed exercise area with machines and weights; and a bicycle center with showers, a repair shop and space to store hundreds of bikes. In Dallas, the tenant wine lounge at KBS-owned Providence Towers is stocked with icemaker, glasses and other necessities; tenants can bring their own beverages or store bottles in private wine lockers.
Communicating Company Brand
As skilled workers weigh employer reputations and workplace experiences when making job choices, companies are working harder to cultivate their brand as a recruiting and talent-retention tool. Savvy employers are drawing double duty from their real estate by molding the workplace into an extension of their culture.
The key is to look beyond the office layout, identifying the cultural elements and characteristics that create social cohesion, support productivity and promote stickiness for the desired labor set. Amenities and design elements within the space can create a unique setting that conveys the organization’s message, speaking with the company’s voice to employees and potential hires.
Transwestern is a privately held real estate firm of collaborative entrepreneurs who deliver a higher level of personalized service – the Transwestern Experience. Specializing in Agency Leasing, Tenant Advisory, Capital Markets, Asset Services and Research, our fully integrated global enterprise adds value for investors, owners and occupiers of all commercial property types. We leverage market insights and operational expertise from members of the Transwestern family of companies specializing in development, real estate investment management and research. Based in Houston, Transwestern has 35 U.S. offices and assists clients through more than 180 offices in 37 countries as part of a strategic alliance with BNP Paribas Real Estate. Experience Extraordinary at transwestern.com and @Transwestern.