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Commercial Real Estate Industry Achieves Utilities Savings

Nov. 6, 2013
The commercial real estate industry’s ongoing focus on energy efficiency has netted positive results, according to a report from the Building Owners and Managers Association International and Kingsley Associates.

The commercial real estate industry’s ongoing focus on energy efficiency has netted positive results, according to a report from the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International and Kingsley Associates.

Analysis reveals that properties in the United States reduced total operating expenses from $8.18 to $7.86 per square foot on average from 2011 to 2012, a difference of $0.32 or 3.9%. 

About two-thirds of these savings were achieved in the utility category, where average expenses fell $0.21—a whopping 9%—to $2.12 per square foot, underscoring an industry focus on maximizing building efficiency and smart asset management.

Nearly all building types boasted operating expense savings during 2012.  Only corporate facilities saw total operating expenses remain essentially unchanged with a slight 0.5% increase.  Downtown buildings remained, on average, more expensive to operate than their suburban counterparts, and they also reported a slightly smaller expense savings (4.1% versus 6.4% for suburban buildings).

As with total operating expenses, the decrease in utility expenses per square foot in 2012 also was broad-based.  Private sector office buildings in both downtown and suburban locations observed an identical 9.3% reduction, though costs remain higher at downtown locations.  Multi-tenant buildings were able to achieve greater savings than corporate or single-tenant facilities (9.6% versus 3%), but the trend was the same for both.  However, not all property types saw a decline in this area.  Utility costs rose 2.7% at medical office buildings and 4.2% at government-occupied facilities.

The Experience Exchange Report is based off the examination of a specialized control sample of more than 2,000 private sector buildings representing 385 million square feet of U.S. office space.

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