Sustainable Development and Commercial Real Estate

Smart and Sustainable DevelopmentAny real estate development should be a sustainable development. The responsibility associated with building commercial real estate goes beyond safety, but safety is an important factor. Sustainable development means planning for the future by building a structure that will last and can be updated as needed.

Safety is the most important aspect to any building development. For new construction, safety should never be an issue, thanks to the abundance of resources available for developers. When it comes to older buildings, however, safety can be a concern. Building inspectors, and sometimes engineers, need to make a thorough evaluation of any building that is being repurposed or renovated. Modern technology and knowledge keeps us from using many of the old chemicals and techniques that we used to in building, and it’s important that we make sure we can update buildings to modern standards without cutting corners. The usual suspects, lead paint and asbestos, are elements of old buildings that need to be disposed of safely. Other considerations are things like fire escapes and electrical wiring.

The bottom line is that all construction, new or old, needs to be evaluated for safety to determine how the property can be developed and used. Quality construction will stand the test of time and is worth the investment.

Sustainable developments are meant to adapt and withstand. Technology’s rapid development makes keeping up with the times both costly and difficult. Difficult is not impossible, however. One simple way to make your commercial real estate development adaptable is to not rely on one technology too specifically. Think about that movie Smart House. That’s the one where the house has artificial intelligence and the ability to make foods and self-clean, etc. If that house were built in the 1980’s, it would be horribly outdated now. That, in a nutshell, is the danger of building a structure dependent on the latest gadget technology.

On a much less extreme note, take advantage trends like exposed cabling and ductwork to make those components of your building more accessible. Exposed brick is a popular aesthetic, especially in renovated buildings. It’s simple to run cables in a way that puts them out of sight or leaves them in sight without being intrusive. As time goes on and information technology demands different cables, you then have the ability to rewire without tearing open walls. 

Environmental Impact
These days, when we hear sustainable development or sustainability, environmental implications are often the first things to come to mind. We’re in an era of being more environmentally and socially conscious. Planners and real estate developers shoulder the responsibility for sustainable development. Take advantage of incentives to lower the cost of using greener appliances and systems in commercial real estate. The intention of green architecture is to reduce the footprint of real estate developments. Using natural light promotes health and saves on electricity. Geothermal heat pumps are drastically more efficient than conventional heating units. Solar panels have a wide variety of uses and can be installed on rooftops.

Sustainable development is a progressive way to look at building and developing. It’s important that we keep our environmental impact in mind when we develop real estate, but that’s only one of the benefits. Lowered utility costs and adaptability are advantages for any builder and tenant. Invest in your business development and plan ahead to save in the future.

For more information about green incentives and programs, check out these sites:

North Carolina Energy Office

US Green Building Council (NC chapter)

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Commercial Real Estate Market | Closing the Deal

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