We extend the well-known definition of investment in sustainable and energy efficient real estate beyond environmental building certification to include three additional types of environmentally-focused building interventions: environmentally-focused capital expenditure (capex); monitoring; and, tenant engagement. Appealing to behavioral economics and finance theory, we test for a connection between changes in tenant and property management behavior and electricity consumption. Through a partnership with a global institutional investment manager, this study examines ten years of asset-level operating statement and electricity consumption data in Canadian and U.S. office buildings, measuring both the initial impact of such interventions as well as any adjustments observed over time. Analysis of the proprietary intervention data allows us to further understand the impact of varied environmental interventions on the electricity consumption of commercial real estate. We find that all four intervention categories are associated with decreased electricity consumption, with tenant engagement providing an immediate decrease that is maintained over time. Environmentally-focused capex is also associated with decreased electricity consumption in both Canada and the U.S. Taken together the results indicate that decreased utility consumption and its associated cost are only maximized when multiple environmental interventions are implemented.
The aim of this seminar series is to bring together people from academia and industry interested in the latest real estate research. In this series of bi-weekly presentations, we invite papers from scholars who would like to present their ongoing work. Presentations will be 25 minutes long, followed by 25 minutes for the Q&A session. Junior researchers, students, and practitioners are very welcome to take part.