Commercial Refurbishment

Re-fit or Refurb Your Bottom Line

Across my career I’ve worked on plenty of office fitouts for tenant and building refurbishments for landlords. More recently, and for good reason, the question I keep hearing from both parties is this “Can you make sure that our project is an energy efficient as possible? …. But not so green that it costs the earth”.

Well, that’s not actually too difficult… Let’s talk about the landlord side of the equation first. Normally city buildings are owned by real estate investment trusts or other

property investment vehicles who are generally in the game of holding the building as an asset for 5-10 years plus and/or want to increase the book value of the building so it achieves a good selling price.

Commercial Fitout and Refurbishment

Now, to make money over time, the building is rented to tenants for 3-10 years at a time. Longer leases mean more stable income and a higher value asset when a potential buyer comes along looking to buy the occupied building. This is the playing field.

So, with this interconnection between landlord and tenant and the shared benefit of cost efficient building performance (in terms of energy and water) I’m of the opinion that from the outset of long lease agreements, tenants and landlords should negotiate a shared approach to achieving energy efficiency in the tenant and public spaces of a building. Seems fair – tenants save money on energy bills and landlord assets increase in value. Here are my cost effective three areas to target.

  1. Lighting. Because tenants don’t take it with them when they leave, landlords should really consider T5 lighting (or a contribution toward it), which detects users and turns itself on and off) thereby saving money. With the lights being on 10 hours a day in the office and people coming and going more than ever – you’re sure to save dollars here.
  2. BMS (building management system) tune-up / replacement.  Again it’s automation and detection, this time with building plant or heating and cooling. Why should anything be running in the building (except security) between 8pm and 5am if no body is around. And if they do turn up, then the system should be smart enough to kick into gear.
  3. Visible tenancy power metering. Tenants; do you want your staff to consider their power usage? Do you want to know exactly what you are using without any chance of confusion? Do you want to reward people who save you money? Then have energy meters installed around the office. Some firms even go as far as metering workstation clusters so people can see what it costs to leave their computer running! Tick!

What’s important here is to realise you don’t need to spend the earth to save it. Sensible, well considered investments that encourage people to respond in kind are the key.

– Alex Johnson

Commercial Fit Out