Ben Myers, VP for sustainability at Boston Properties, Inc. (NYSE: BXP), participated in a video interview filmed in conjunction with Nareit’s REITworks: 2020 Virtual Conference.
Myers outlined the steps that Boston Properties took in the early days of the pandemic, including the roll out of a health security plan.
Myers noted that while certain coronavirus protocols will eventually fade, the trends that will endure include increased attention to indoor air quality, hands-free access and touchless systems, and an end to increased densification.
Describing 2020 as a “year of outbreaks,” Myers said the cumulative effect has raised public awareness and will accelerate certain ESG trends. The top trends he sees advancing include a focus on healthy buildings, and diversity and inclusion issues.
The pandemic is a reminder that real estate investments should be made using the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit, Myers said. “The pandemic advances the sustainable building movement by further stitching together the environmental performance with the social performance…I expect we’ll see a healthy building premium coming out of this,” he said.
“Companies will see space where they can foster culture and health and wellness and productivity, and they’ll look for space that’s been purpose-built to deliver those outcomes,” Myers said.