Business women working in sustainable office surrounded by green foliage
By Stephanie O'Neill

Key takeaways from ‘CRE sustainability trends and the power of data’

The quickest path to sustainability is through energy efficiency. And the quickest way to make your real estate more energy efficient is with the right combination of data and technology, so you can harness key insights for data-driven decision-making.

In our recent webinar, CRE sustainability trends and the power of data, our panel of experts discussed three themes they are seeing in the market right now and how you can use data to effect real change in your building or commercial real estate (CRE) portfolio.

1. Energy

As a building owner or investor, you need to be proactive with your buildings’ energy consumption if you want to combat rising costs and keep your bottom line in check—and your buildings are full of technologies that collect information to help you do it. For example, internet of things (IoT) devices monitor assets, air and water quality, occupancy, and space utilization.

But reducing energy consumption is not without its challenges. Organizations must consider a number of factors, including government regulations and employees’ demand for more sustainable workplaces. The COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine war have had a significant impact on the supply chain and pricing fluctuations, which influence the energy market and how CRE organizations operate. This massive global shift has led to the need for resilience.

Real estate investors and occupiers looking at energy are discovering that, when it comes to sustainability, they often need to meet multiple goals and satisfy a variety of stakeholders for any initiatives they implement. So not only do you need to optimize energy and improve metric reporting, but you also need to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) for occupant comforts in the built environment. This is easier said than done in a tricky economic climate.

2. Return on investment (ROI)

Rising costs affect decision-making around sustainability, and ROI is a big consideration. Many countries across the globe have aggressive goals to reduce energy consumption as soon as 2030, with targets of 15% or more. If you can measure it, you can monitor it. The right insights can influence your decision-making to help you reduce costs and scale your solutions.

To be successful, you need to proactively manage energy consumption to combat rising costs and emissions. This starts with measuring the right things—and analyzing the resulting data.

In addition to minimizing costs and consumption, you need to build in resilience to protect yourself from price fluctuations in the future. This could be in the form of a leaner portfolio, better data around sustainability, or a bigger cash reserve.

Many CRE organizations are looking at alternative approaches to energy, like onsite generation and especially onsite renewable generation. EV and wind have been around for a long time, and big advancements in those technologies have enabled occupiers and investors to look at how they can build those technologies into their footprints and portfolios. This method improves costs over a longer period of time—and improves the embedded carbon within it.

Ultimately, having the right data has a significant impact on ROI. The data your solution discovers is valuable because it gets you information you wouldn’t be able to capture otherwise, so you can make better decisions, whether that’s consolidating your portfolio, remedying an operational inefficiency, or planning for a big move.

3. Hybrid working

For occupants in a hybrid environment, building health is more important than ever. Data can help you better understand the healthiness of your buildings and take action to provide safe, clean, and more enjoyable places to work.

Owners and occupiers are looking at buildings much differently in a post-pandemic world, focusing more on the way they are being used in a hybrid environment. Traditional metrics, like occupancy rates and utilization rates, are becoming less influential compared to more engagement-oriented metrics, like dwell time and workspace-type utilization.

With hybrid work, if people want to go into the office, it has to be a special place. Many factors can influence the types of space people want to use, like air quality and layout. If buildings are green, they are likely to reap a higher rental price. According to a poll of 4,000 hybrid workers Infogrid conducted, 70% of respondents in the U.S. and 55% in the UK were concerned about energy efficiency in their offices. Furthermore, 48% of respondents in the U.S. and 41% in the UK didn’t think their companies were doing enough to support environmental impact.

Getting actionable data in real time not only helps with ESG initiatives, but it also helps facilities management (FM) teams be proactive instead of reactive and has an impact on workplace experience. If people know you are mitigating risks and monitoring other environmental factors at the office, they feel more safe and comfortable returning to it. This approach also helps attract and retain employees.

How to get started on your CRE sustainability efforts

  1. Determine your goals
  2. Identify your benchmarks
  3. Implement a solution to capture and analyze your data
  4. Look at the big picture
  5. Use your data to make more informed decisions

Watch the webinar now to learn more.

Looking for help? JLL Technologies offers a variety of solutions, including advanced, smart technologies: 

  • VergeSense, the gold standard of occupancy sensors, measures spaces and sends real-time occupancy alerts—so you can reduce energy use in those areas.
  • Infogrid measures air and water quality, water leaks, and temperature changes—eliminating waste associated with manual testing.
  • Advisory Services combines management consulting with deep expertise in technology and the built environment—so you can achieve business breakthroughs through actionable insights.