Commercial real estate urged to embrace adaptable building services

by Helena Morgan
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Schneider Electric, Lendlease and Arup recently highlighted remedies to the ongoing challenges faced by the commercial real estate sector in the decarbonisation and sustainability journey.

Building developers and office building owners will revel in the cost and carbon-slashing opportunities of adaptable building services as outlined in the white paper ‘​​Get more from your core investments: How faster fit-outs can drive higher returns for commercial properties’. 

Schneider Electric, Lendlease and Arup share a commitment to decarbonisation, sustainability and the digitisation of energy management and are empowered to assist the commercial real estate (CRE) sector in adapting to evolving environmental regulations.

Buildings contribute to nearly 40 percent of global carbon emissions – a worrisome yet possibly avoidable reality that Schneider Electric global buildings president Estelle Monod is determined to mitigate via adaptable building services. 

“CRE companies are navigating stringent environmental regulations, shifting tenant and investor expectations and a volatile market landscape,” says Monod. “We recognise these pressures and are committed to offering solutions that facilitate this transition.”

Balancing carbon reduction with unpredictable occupancy rates 

Arup’s global advisory services leader Andy Hodgson says the paper details how technological innovation has the potential to create adaptable building services that eliminate waste and refine environmental performance. Hodgson also addresses the aforementioned difficulties commercial real estate faces when pursuing decarbonisation and simultaneously responding to ever-changing office occupancy rates influenced by flexible working patterns. 

“With a new approach to building construction, a flexible design can bring financial benefits alongside unlocking shorter and more flexible leasing arrangements,” says Hodgson. 

“Reducing costs (which can lead to higher rental value) and shorter vacancy periods were key considerations in the model.”

The paper cites a major office tower building in Sydney as a case study that successfully incorporates integrated building services into a commercial office space. Additional modelled scenarios for a single building demonstrate the possibility for substantial lifecycle cost reductions, revenues and savings of more than 1500 tonnes of carbon dioxide over 30 years.

Facility managers and landlords will reap benefits beyond financial gain – advanced apps and automation provide users of the space with insights into space usage and subsequently elevate tenant experience. 

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