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Office Landlords Take Efficiency-Boosting Measures to Cut Energy Costs

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infinitSpace, the creator of white-label, tech-enabled, flexible workspaces, and The Instant Group, the largest global marketplace for flexible workspace solutions, commissioned independent market research firm Censuswide to survey 250 commercial landlords with offices in the UK on their existing sustainability practices.

The study identified which energy-saving measures are the most widely used and which landlords are prioritizing in the years ahead as ambitions for a net-zero commercial real estate sector become increasingly focused.

The most prevalent measure already in place is setting waste management targets, with close to a third of landlords (31%) already implementing them across their portfolios. A further 64% plan to set targets in future, also making it the most attractive measure over the long term. 

At joint-second were flex space and thermal efficiency measures (other than double glazing), with a quarter (25%) of landlords having already implemented these.

Landlords are increasingly turning to flexible workspace with 67% planning to implement an element of flex space in the future. This comes as demand for flexible workspace is rising globally, with the pandemic and high inflation accelerating this trend. The value of the global flexible workspace market is expected to grow from $33.23 billion in 2020 to $73.03 billion by 2026.

Meanwhile, less than a quarter of landlords currently have high efficiency/LED lighting (23%), sensor/timer-controlled lighting (23%) and double glazing (24%) in place, making them amongst the least adopted measures.

The rise in energy prices across the UK has played a significant role in accelerating demand for these measures, with 55% of landlords agreeing that it has incentivized them to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. Meanwhile, external pressures have also been present with the UK government requiring a minimum EPC rating of E as of April 2023.

In a sign of landlords’ long-term commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency, over 90% of landlords plan to adopt measures over the long term. However, double glazing stood noticeably behind the rest, with just 58% of landlords planning to make the change in future.

The full list of energy-efficient measures landlords are implementing and plan to implement:

  • 31% of landlords have already set waste management targets while 64% plan to (95% overall)
  • 25% of landlords have already adopted thermal efficiency measures other than double glazing while 67% plan to (92% overall)
  • 25% have already converted parts of traditional workspace into flex space while 66% plan to (91% overall)
  • 23% of landlords have already adopted sensor-controlled/timed lighting while 64% plan to (87% overall)
  • 23% of landlords have already adopted LED/high-efficiency lighting while 74% plan to (97% overall)
  • 24% of landlords have already adopted double glazing while 58% plan to (82% overall)

Wybo Wijnbergen, CEO of infinitSpace, said: “From infrastructure upgrades to policy targets, it is highly encouraging to see the vast majority of landlords planning to implement measures to boost the efficiency of their buildings, while many have already done so. Indeed, such changes will be instrumental to their businesses’ continued success as energy costs remain high and regulatory pressures intensify. Not to mention, it signifies an excellent step in the right direction for the sector in terms of reaching ambitious sustainability goals and net-zero targets.

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“It is also highly encouraging to see the wide appeal for flex space not only as a commercial opportunity but as a way to maximize space efficiency and provide a green edge. Although many of these measures may appear time-consuming and bear initial upfront costs, landlords should remember that they don’t have to go it alone; flex space operators can oversee the implementation of new and, as this research makes clear, much-wanted energy-efficient measures, streamlining the sustainability agenda.”

“It is positive to see the steps landlords are taking to improve the energy efficiency of their office stock. There are several drivers behind the upgrades being made by landlords, including regulation, environmental concerns and crucially occupier demands. Occupiers are increasingly focused on how their office space fits into their overall net zero plans and targets,” said Sam Pickering, Executive Director of Sustainability at Incendium (part of the Instant Group).

“Without these essential upgrades we will be in a scenario where office space becomes obsolete and unusable from a portfolio strategy perspective that takes sustainability into account. Progress is definitely going in the right direction and it is encouraging to see landlords committing to implementing more measures, as well as recognizing the vital role flexible workspace can play in improving energy efficiency,” added Pickering.

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About infinitSpace

infinitSpace creates and manages tech-enabled white-label flexible workspaces on behalf of commercial landlords. It aims to empower human endeavor by bringing together local communities in world-class spaces that have customized curated services and high-spec technology.

It operates its own flexible workspace brand – beyond – which landlords can choose to adopt for their own buildings. Alternatively, infinitSpace can create white-label brands and technology, allowing landlords to collaborate in choosing the exact make-up of their workspace.

About Instant Group

The Instant Group has been rethinking workspace since 1999 with over 500 experts working globally across more than 175 countries. Instant’s digital platforms constitute the world’s largest digital marketplace for flexible workspace listing meeting rooms, virtual offices, flexible office space and coworking memberships. Its global team advises on commercial real estate solutions from serviced offices to fully customised managed offices, and consulting services for portfolio and net zero strategies. Instant’s approach enables agility, hybrid working solutions and improved operational resilience for more than 250,000 businesses every year. Clients include Prudential, Booking.com, Shell, Jaguar Land Rover and GSK. Instant has global offices including London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.

About the research

The market research was carried out by Censuswide between February 24 and March 4, 2023 among 250 commercial (office building) landlords in the UK. Censuswide adheres to the ESOMAR principles and complies with the Market Research Society (MRS) Code of Conduct, ensuring the highest standards of research practice and in the collection of data.

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