Sustainable office buildings ‘offer tangible investment benefits’
Sustainable office buildings can deliver tangible investment benefits to investors through a combination of higher rents and stronger leasing velocity.
The Impact of Sustainability on Value report from JLL also reveals growing occupier demand for sustainable offices in central London that will need to be met in the next decade.
JLL has calculated that the next wave of office development and major refurbishment will need to accommodate at least 8.0 m sq ft of highly sustainable demand from occupiers across central London by 2030.
This demand assessment for central London office stock is based on the space currently occupied by companies which have signed up to science-based- targets (12m sq ft) who have lease events before 2030, demonstrating the increasing demand and need for highly sustainable buildings within central London.
The research also identified demand from companies signing up to net zero carbon commitments, who currently occupy over 1.5m sq ft of space across central London.
JLL’s research found that, based on historical leasing activity, the future development and redevelopment pipeline of offices incorporating sustainability would deliver tangible financial benefits for developers in addition to strong levels of demand.
JLL analysed leasing activity for New Grade A office buildings in central London and found that those with a BREEAM rating of very good or higher achieved higher rents than those without a rating and that the average rental premium over non-rated buildings over the last three years was around 8%. The analysis also showed that New Grade A buildings with an A or B EPC rating achieved a rental premium of 10% over comparable offices with lower ratings over the same period.
The research further demonstrated that payback for investors who target higher BREEAM ratings is rewarded with higher occupancy rates throughout the cycle. JLL analysed the leasing velocity of 120 central London development schemes completed between 2013 and 2017 and found that those that have an outstanding/ excellent rating tended to show a higher pace of leasing and have lower vacancy rates – of 7% compared to 20% for those rated very good – 24 months after completion.
Neil Prime, head of central London offices markets and UK office agency at JLL, said: “Our analysis of existing environmental ratings shows that overall sustainable buildings deliver better returns for investors against the benchmarks of void rate, leasing velocity and the rents achieved. This provides the industry with a clear and defined base case to begin to formulate an understanding of how the next generation of sustainable offices – for which there is demonstrable demand – will perform.”
Sophie Walker, UK head of sustainability at JLL, added: “Clearly the urgency to build and redevelop these offices in central London to support corporate environmental and people goals is only speeding up. The first developers to undertake the task will reap the rewards of high levels of demand and the intrinsic higher performance of their product. This opportunity to provide sustainability as a point of differentiation and to appeal to forward-thinking occupiers will really play out over the next decade.
“Beyond 2030, tougher building regulations will drive a reduction in energy consumption and carbon emissions and mandated sustainability performance will become more defined – this may mean that the premium associated with it will disappear and buildings that don’t comply will underperform, leading to the displacement of tenants and lost rents due to costly retrofits.”