Building Owners Focus on Sustainability, High Performance
By Carisa Chappell
In a video interview with REIT.com at NAREIT's Washington, D.C. headquarters, Henry Chamberlain, president and chief operating officer of the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), discussed building improvement trends and the ways in which property managers are caring for their facilities in the current economy.
Chamberlain said the marketplace has proven to be tough today in regards to financing, causing some owners to defer major projects. However, many are still taking on small building improvements.
"In terms of visible things like lobbies, parking lots and tenant spaces, you see that work is going on and people have been creating the value in their companies," Chamberlain said.
He added that the geographic market has played a role in what projects owners decide to take on: "If you're in a prime market, where the money is flowing on either coast in the gateway cities, there's a little more capital and people can do the bigger capital projects."
However, there's not quite as much financing available for those properties located in the interior of the country, according to Chamberlain, limiting the opportunities for upgrades and refurbishments in secondary and tertiary markets.
Technology and energy efficiency are popular issues among owners and managers today, Chamberlain noted. He said many are leveraging up technology any way they can, specifically anything that drives energy efficiency for their properties.
Owners are taking note of "anything that integrates the different technologies in the building so that the energy systems and security systems are all running off of one server," according to Chamberlain. "Sustainable, high performance buildings are here to stay, and that's going to create the value."
Chamberlain mentioned the organization's new BOMA 360 Performance program, a designation that helps owners and managers to reinforce energy efficiency in their buildings. In addition to the movement towards more energy-efficient buildings, Chamberlain said that development around urban sites and transit-oriented projects are also ramping up.
BOMA has its eye on a number of mandated codes being proposed by governments on all levels to regulate the performance of buildings. "We are watching them very closely, because we believe in a voluntary marketplace," he said.
"We are very much involved in the green codes and I think that like all of the groups, we are very much involved in taxes," he said.