Environmental certificates from the tenant’s perspective
Buildings with LEED and BREEAM certificates have become very popular on the Polish real estate market, and the certificate itself has become an indispensable element of office buildings of the so-called “A” class, i.e., buildings with the best possible specifications and locations.
Such structures are very often used as office spaces by global corporations, to which the certificate is often one of the requirements considered when selecting the location. What should tenants focus on and what solutions should be viewed as particularly important?
In the first place, certified buildings have to demonstrate energy savings or reduced CO2 emission. To demonstrate the efficiency of the building under LEED, it is necessary to provide a dynamic simulation of energy consumption in accordance with the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 American standard, i.e., the so-called Energy Model, prepared with software approved by the certification body. The preparation of the building model involves an estimate of the operational savings and restrictions related to the technical specifications for the leased premises that have to be met to achieve such savings. At present, in order for a building to be certified, it is necessary to demonstrate at least 10% energy savings in relation to the standard requirements, and LEED points are awarded for additional energy cost reductions. Therefore, it is important to check the number of points that the given building has been awarded for energy efficiency to know the estimated savings and compare them to other buildings.
Indoor environmental quality is equally important, if not more so, to the users of the building. This concept refers to factors such as the amount of fresh air, low noise levels, daylighting, temperature control options or healthy materials without harmful substances. A suitable combination of these factors can make the office space more friendly to the users’ health. According to international studies and reports, such spaces improve the ability to focus and reduce the frequency of sick leave among employees working in green buildings. The 2016 report of the World Green Building Council titled: “Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Green Offices” confirms that (among other things) employees working near the windows sleep 46 minutes longer, call center employees with a view of nature around the building process information 7–12% quicker, and suitable amount of fresh air can improve the results of cognitive tests by 101%.
At most modern organizations, people are the key resource, and payroll costs may amount to up to 90% of the operating costs, depending on the profile of the organization. These factors should be considered when renting an office space because even a 1% productivity increase may have a considerable impact on the improvement of efficiency and reduction of costs of the organization.