What exactly is high-performance office space?
Is it green? Financial? Will it make us more productive and comfortable? There is a lot of terminology and high expectations our there – everything from LEED to Green Leases, Living Buildings to Class “A.” For a tenant, it can be a lot to digest and understand. For us, we’re starting simple, with some rough criteria that we feel is important, no matter what level of certification or how nice the building may be.
Here’s some things we’ll be looking for:
Will seek to understand current and/or projected property energy performance (ENERGY STAR rating, energy models, targets, etc.)
We may end up in a 100-year old property, a glass office tower, or a brand new development. No matter what kind of home we find, we’ll want to learn how efficient the building is, plans to improve efficiency, and how ownership plans to track and report progress over time.
The property may actually be quite inefficient on the day we move-in, but if it can make significant improvements by year 2 or 3 of the lease — and prove it to us — even better.
Engaged, responsive, and creative ownership
A high-performance office space is a partnership between the ownership and tenants. Both may have to try new things, but both can reap financial and environmental rewards of improved energy efficiency. We want some creative ideas on how to set-up the lease, building rules, and daily operations to foster this kind of partnership throughout our time in the building.
Talented building management and operations team
Energy efficiency is not always about the age of the building or the technology inside it. It takes a trained, motivated and appreciated team to keep performance levels high. We’ll want to understand who is taking care of the building.
Carbon-friendly location, with diverse transit options
A sustainable Northwest is more than energy efficiency. NEEA is managing our carbon emissions, and staff commuting is a large factor in that analysis. To reduce our impact, our new office should be located to both minimize staff commute distances and provide multiple ways to travel those distances.
See the previous point. Plus, we have a passionate group of bicycle commuters on our staff, and would probably have more if our office enabled it. Safe and convenient storage and lockers at a minimum and showers would be ideal!
Abundant natural light and access to nature a plus
Mainly, natural light is inherently more energy efficient. Plus, the science clearly shows that more access to natural light, good task lighting, and natural elements reduce stress, sick days, and increase productivity. Hard to argue with that.
Member of BOMA Portland (ownership or management staff) is a bonus
BOMA Portland acts as an advocate for the commercial building community, and has spent considerable time and resources training its members on energy efficiency and sustainability.
We may not always agree with BOMA’s positions, nor they with ours. But they are engaged in the greater sustainability dialogue and the community at large, and we think that inherently implies a better building.
Creative proposals, donations, furnishing swaps, technology applications, and ideas that embody our mission favorably considered
Why not? Who knows what resources or innovations are out there undiscovered? Maybe some nice used furniture needs a home, or a start-up company with a killer energy management system needs a test-bed, or a developer with a great new concept in occupant comfort is looking to find a willing tenant to try things out. It doesn’t hurt to ask…