Midtier buildings can drive results
We like new things. It’s human nature to be attracted to novel ideas and things, but it’s an issue when it comes to managing buildings.
While it’s more exciting to explore futuristic solutions and technological innovations, it is easy to overlook existing infrastructure and those who can maintain and operate it.
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN
The reality is that for a major metropolis like Toronto, New York, or London, the vast majority of building stock is existing buildings vs those built in the last 10 years for example. At a ULI Toronto event I attended in late 2017, Dean Shapiro of Oxford Properties, heading up the Hudson Yards project in New York City noted that the average age of a building in New York is 77 years old!
The issue of determining ways to reduce emissions and shoring up best practices from this existing stock is something that needs to be addressed, but isn’t getting enough attention. When you go to a conference you’ll hear a lot around IoT and now AI and robotics
STOP AND ASK YOURSELF, where do we stand right now? If buildings don’t have proper scheduling or BAS systems, how are we going to fully autonomous or convert to smart buildings?
IT’S A RACE TO REDUCE
Energy reduction is a cause that BOMA Toronto has committed to through race2reduce, a project that I was brought on to manage at the day-to-day level. The program looks to engage landlords and their stakeholders, which include not only ownership, but as importantly building tenants. As an industry, Commercial Real Estate has recognized sustainability as a sound management practice, but there are still properties where undertaking these types of practices seem out of reach.
Consider mid-tier buildings – those that may be outside of the downtown core and have a smaller footprint/building that the towering glass behemoths of King and Bay, that makes up such a significant portion of our city’s real estate. Many aren’t managed by a full compliment of staff and teams devoted to tackling operational issues like energy management. Through R2R, we’re aiming to bring these folks on board to help them get the ball rolling with energy efficiency.
Coming full circle, it’s fascinating to see that many cool companies that millennials want to work for are operated out of older buildings. Take the new WeWork Toronto office for example, which was the first in the $20 billion dollars company history to it open a space fully leased! This new Toronto HQ is a 6 story brick and beam building- not a skyscraper.
RAISING THE BAR FOR EVERYONE
This isn’t to say that all older buildings are necessarily inefficient. Some owners, who have specialized in brick and beam buildings like Allied, have invested heavily in gutting their properties and replacing old equipment with a focus on energy efficient improvements.
Our goal with the race is make this type of transformation available to all interested building owners.
New towers like WaterPark Place III, The Deloitte Building or EY Building are setting the bar for new builds.
But it isn’t feasible to knock down every old building in the city and build a new one.
To date we’ve registered over 485 buildings, totalling over 77 million square feet in the City of Toronto. We have the buy-in from the downtown leaders who have raised the bar on operational efficiency for the industry, with a 96% participation rate from Class-A downtown commercial office space. Now we’re making the push on the tenant side (more on this later) and bring on even more of our cities mid-tier buildings.
We need to update infrastructure and inspire best practices and we’re aiming to do this through the race2reduce by sharing expertise of industry’s leaders with the mid-tier building class.
Please share this blog and the information on the race2reduce with any PM or landlord firms that you know as we all work together to create better and more efficient buildings.