CUSP: Studying Where New Energy Policies Meet The Commercial RE Market

The emergence of energy disclosure regulations aimed at building sustainability and addressing energy waste has New York City as its center. Since we can probably expect similar legislation efforts in cities across the US in the future, where can we turn to learn as much as we can about how sustainability policies impact the commercial real estate market?

NYC’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan

Last year, New York City passed a package of initiatives called the Greater Greener Buildings Plan (GGBP).  The energy disclosure policy regulatory efforts combined with job training initiatives aim to address energy usage and waste in Gotham’s largest buildings  – about 15,000 of them at over 50,000 square feet.

GGBP creates piles of data on energy usage, data that allows owners to understand the specifics of usage beyond what energy bills say.  And the program claims it will create over 17,000 construction jobs along with a $7 billion net energy savings.

But how do these efforts get to the point where the value is made clear to owners and investors?

On The CUSP Of Greater Understanding

The national effort involves industry partners, national laboratories, universities, and NYC governmental agencies with intent to use information sciences and data analytics to improve the quality of life in cities along with the economic efficiency, the resilience and resource efficiency of cities.  Examining the implications of the energy disclosure policies and how they will impact commercial real estate markets is the role of CUSP, The Center For Urban Science Progress located, fittingly enough, at NYU.

The ability of today’s building owners to collect and process data is unsurpassed.  In commercial real estate, sustainability is less a collection problem and more of a measurement problem.  Finding what the right metrics are and what real data points lie behind them are essential in order to make the right decisions for operations.  This goes from energy consumption to measurements of indoor air quality and its impact on occupational health, to measuring the effects of better daylighting on profitability.

That’s the role of CUSP – to learn the full measure of methods to make the strongest case to the investor that sustainability is not just a feel-good, but a value proposition.

To learn more about CUSP, check out the CUSP website.


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