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Four Takeaways from GreenPearl’s 9th Annual Women’s Real Estate Forum

March 11, 2020

It was once again an honor to moderate a panel of game-changing women at GreenPearl’s 9th Annual Women’s Real Estate Forum on February 27. Below are key takeaways from our panel discussion, “Shaping the Future: Real Estate Trends Influencing CRE Development in 2020 & Beyond.”

Sustainability Trends:

  • Continuing advances in higher-performing building envelopes that promote energy savings and the need for smaller mechanicals, as well as better acoustics and indoor air quality.
  • The use of UPVC windows as opposed to aluminum framing has cost and energy savings and does not have significant aesthetic differences from traditional framing.

Technology & Innovation Trends:

  • Smart building and home integration have made significant headway in the past few years.
  • Rentable workspaces and multipurpose amenity spaces are being designed in response to user demand.
  • DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) are being implemented in many new buildings which greatly enhance the cellular signals throughout the building.   

Environmental Initiatives:

  • The NYC Climate Mobilization Act (LL97) sets energy usage limits on large and mid-sized buildings (25K SF or larger) that will take effect in 2024. Buildings not in compliance will be fined. The Act aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% over the next decade. Part of the Act also includes the Green New Deal which will be implementing letter grading for buildings on energy efficiency to create transparency in 2020. 
  • Building owners are replacing equipment and changing lease forms to gradually reduce overall consumption.
  • Developers are looking at reducing their carbon footprint both in the materials used for construction and in operations by maximizing onsite renewable energy and carbon offsets.
  • Using VRFs instead of traditional PTAC systems helps to reduce energy use and eliminates the PTAC sleeve in the façade which can create energy inefficiencies.

Cultural Impact & Community Collaboration

  • Focus on the preservation of earth’s materials by reimagining existing buildings: by retaining the original integrity, they reduce the carbon footprint of the construction process while also encouraging community support.
  • Sourcing materials that are similar to the surroundings, such as brick as would have been made in a kiln in the early 1900s, heavily blackened steel and precast signage, all contribute to the preservation of the community history and aesthetics.
  • Developers are also seeking to connect residents to nature with green roofs, water features and outdoor space.
  • Buildings with more recycling, planting beds, personal gardens and even beehives are taking shape.

What impact the new laws, including the rent regulations, will have on trends is yet to be fully understood but developers and owners are always evolving, whether required to by law or user demand. 2020 will undoubtedly be another year of exciting innovation in commercial real estate.

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