A new research report reveals that 'green' commercial buildings aren't just better for the environment and cheaper to run – there's also clear occupancy benefits for landlords and investors.
Colliers International's latest monthly research report has found green buildings in Auckland and Wellington have higher occupancy rates than office properties in general.
The analysis comes ahead of World Green Building Week, which commences on September 24.
Chris Dibble, director of research and communications at Colliers, says many studies have focussed on the benefits of green buildings on operating expenses, rents and capital values.
"With Green Building Week coming up, we thought it could be timely to explore the occupancy performance of Green Star rated buildings in Auckland and Wellington. Our research produced some interesting results.
"Buildings account for 40 per cent of global energy consumption and a third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, so the decisions we make when it comes to the buildings we live and work in are extremely important."
Dibble says that in 2007 the New Zealand Green Building Council introduced Green Star ratings to provide a better way to design, construct and operate projects in a more sustainable, efficient and productive way that has upsides for building occupiers and owners.
There have now been over 150 buildings and fit-out projects certified in New Zealand with two-thirds in the commercial office sector and around 40 per cent in Auckland.
Dibble says this gives New Zealand a sizeable basket of buildings to analyse and review some of the benefits for landlords and investors.
"Occupancy is a key investor concern, simply because if there is no tenant, then there will be no rent and capital values will be lower.
"Our analysis shows that, if landlords and owners want less vacancy in their office buildings, then a Green Star accreditation looks to be a sure-fire way to achieve it.
"In all three major office markets surveyed, representing almost five million square metres of office space, the vacancy rate was significantly lower for Green Star rated buildings."
In Auckland CBD, the overall vacancy rate was 6.2 per cent, however, Green Star accredited premises had a vacancy rate of just 3.4 per cent.
Outside of the CBD, the overall Auckland metropolitan vacancy rate was 6.1 per cent compared with 0.5 per cent for Green-star buildings.
In Wellington CBD, there was no vacancy in the buildings, significantly outperforming the overall market that has a vacancy rate of 7.7 per cent.
Dibble says this is not only a recent trend.
"Green Star rated buildings often provide better occupancy rates than the overall market typically over the whole life of the building.
"There is also evidence that there is a shorter lease-up timeframe for Green Star rated premises.
"Therefore, not only will the environment and staff benefit, so will a landlord and/or investor's bottom line."