The emerging big trend in sustainable real estate is the industrial sector.
While the triple-net lease structure dominant in the industry has obscured efforts to make industrial space more sustainable, both owners and tenants are seeking ways to make buildings greener. The push is coming from the clear economics of energy savings. Many space users are now pursuing corporate social responsibility objectives as well, which is forcing them to look at the industrial space they occupy.
There are several key areas of interest driving the industrial discussion. Alternative energy opportunities now go beyond rooftop panels. They include energy efficiency concepts such as ground source heat pumps, ways to take advantage of plunging natural gas prices, fuel cells, small biomass operations and co-generation.
Lighting technology has advanced so quickly recently, with new fixtures and control devices, that retro-fits, including LED-based projects, are being reviewed by many industrial building owners and tenants.
Building envelopes (roofs, walls, doors and windows) can be examined with new state-of-art technology that pinpoints integrity problems.
Sophisticated control systems are re-writing the book on how to manage HVAC systems to optimal efficiency.
Whatever the focus, the message is getting louder. Industrial real estate is jumping onto the green bandwagon in full force.