When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey recently introduced broad framework for the oft-discussed Green New Deal, they laid out some clearly defined goals for mitigating the impacts of global climate change through national investments in workplace development, green building and energy technologies, transit and education. However, the Green New Deal could also impact commercial real estate owners as one of the deal’s other goals is to upgrade every building in the United States to “achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety affordability, comfort and durability.”
According to the U.S Energy Information Administration, buildings currently account for approximately 40 percent of all energy use. Despite commercial buildings making up so much of the energy use in the U.S., they are only making two percent of the energy efficiency investments at their disposal in a given year, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute.
“It’s not a secret that commercial buildings waste a ton of energy,” Anna Buglaeva, Vice President of Growth of Aquicore, a Washington, DC-based company that provides a building operations and management platform that optimizes energy performance, equipment performance and building connectivity, told Connected Real Estate Magazine. “The opportunity to reduce that waste is tremendous and some ownership groups are making proactive decisions to become more efficient and effective when operating assets.”
In terms of the Green New Deal, Buglaeva says CRE owners have to figure out how to make it work to their benefit before it puts them at a disadvantage.
“In order to see significant operational upside and higher valuations of their portfolios in the long run, owners will need to start paying attention to scale and the implementation of new technology in their buildings,” she said.
Aquicore works to help commercial real estate owners make their buildings healthier and more eco-friendly. The company’s asset management platform uses Internet of Things (IoT) technology to compile real-time data from meters, submeters, equipment and sensors in buildings. Acquicore’s tech focuses on buildings’ optimization and operational efficiency by tracking, analyzing and predicting key building metrics like energy and water use, air quality, budgets and more.
“By providing a high-resolution (as well as granular) view of what’s happening inside commercial assets across a portfolio, the platform enables asset and property managers to make faster and more informed decisions to cut operating costs, increase energy efficiency and improve asset value,” Buglaeva said.
While the Green New Deal has yet to get much traction, Buglaeva believes the very idea of it should encourage commercial real estate owners to take the initiative to make their buildings more energy efficient so they aren’t behind the times in the event they’re ever required to do so.
“Doing nothing today means that you are falling behind and that you will be consumed by more innovative companies and crushed by regulation,”Buglaeva said.