Going green, or being environmentally mindful, is the future of many industries.

According to David Leb, senior sales associate at Cushman & Wakefield | CRESCO Real Estate in Cleveland, and Scott Simon, president of North Pointe Realty in Mayfield Heights, commercial real estate is one of them.

“In my opinion, green technologies are absolutely the future of commercial real estate,” Simon said. “They drive utility cost savings, provide energy efficiency and help conserve resources at a time when so many care about the environment. The field is growing at warp speed, and it is amazing to be able to employ new ways of building and operating all types of real estate from industrial, retail, office and multi-family.”

Leb added, “Going green has been a focus in commercial real estate for decades, and as the costs for environmentally mindful materials and practices get less expensive, we are seeing more and more landlords and developers be strategic about incorporating green technology.”

Leb stated going green is “not only the right thing to do for the world” but also keeps long-term operating costs lower. This has a lot to do with economics, he added.

“If owners are able to incorporate highly efficient materials and building systems, their operating costs will be lower,” he said. “For tenants having to pay their own utility bills, having things like LED lighting, motion sensors and a floor plan that maximizes natural light, tenants can save over the long term.”

Simon agreed, adding “Both cost savings and core business values have driven huge change in our industry. We are at just the tip of the iceberg in terms of realizing how investing in green technologies will provide huge dividends in the future.”

For example, Simon said North Pointe Realty employs green practices in many ways.

“As a tenant representative, I am always looking to find locations for my clients which fit into their needs and provide cost savings,” Simon explained. “Green technologies hit the trifecta: when a building employs green technologies, they have lower operating costs, save on future capital expenditures and are a draw for business leaders and their employees who care deeply about the environment.”

As for Cleveland as a whole, Leb said there is still work to do.

“Cleveland isn’t as far along as other major cities in incorporating green technology but it’s getting better, especially as the costs get lower for green technology,” he stated. “The best example of this is LED lighting, which is far more efficient and effective. Now when a light bulb burns out, most of the time that light bulb is being replaced with LED. 

Additionally, Leb said most new construction in Cleveland is LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or consistent with those standards.

Both professionals said the future of commercial real estate points to further incorporating green technology.

“We have had the opportunity to learn about an entirely new sphere of our business: LED lighting, water-efficient technologies, LEED/green construction, green HVAC technologies (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and more,” Simon noted. “We need to be able to explain and support how these technologies reduce operating costs and provide climate benefits.”

Leb added, “Climate change is real, and it’s probably the biggest crisis that the millennial generation will have to face for our country and for our world. Green technology and its implementation of environmentally conscious practices is absolutely necessary and must be ubiquitous across all industries, including real estate.

“As real estate professionals, we have to know and understand these trends and help our clients navigate through best practices.” 

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