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Office tenants in grey area when it comes to green certification

Even as more New York office buildings are built and renovated to environmentally sustainable standards, tenants and potential tenants don’t care all that much, according to a survey of New York City real estate executives, including owners, brokers, agents, engineers and accountants and lawyers specializing in the space.

Most property executives (83%) said tenants regard green certification as either “not too important” (33 percent), only “somewhat important” (45 percent) or “not at all important” (five percent), according to the spring 2014 Gotham Commercial Real Estate Monitor survey by accounting firm Marks Paneth.

83% of property executives said tenants regard green certification as “not too important.”
83% of property executives said tenants regard green certification as “not too important.”

Only 15 percent of executives said they believe tenants see a building’s environmental sustainability as “very important.”

“It is safe to say that business concerns trump environmental concerns in the minds and calculations of those responsible for renting office space in New York City,” said William H. Jennings, partner-in-charge of the Real Estate Group at Marks Paneth.

Nonetheless, real estate professionals think green certification will grow in importance to tenants.

Most executives — 60 percent — said sustainability is a design element or amenity that office tenants will be looking for in the next three to five years.

However, even more professionals (64 percernt) said moveable walls and open office plans will be sought-after elements in the near future. Nearly half (48 percent) said office tenants will be looking for outdoor spaces, and 39 percent say they’ll want bike racks.

In terms of where sustainable design will be found, just over half of property executives (51 percent) said it will occur in both new construction and the retrofitting of old office buildings.

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