How can I choose an energy efficient commercial space?
In many respects, choosing a commercial space is a bit like choosing a new home. There are various factors you'll need to consider before coming to that all-important final decision, with one of them being how much it will cost you to run.
If you have a keen eye for energy efficiency, then it's unlikely that you would choose a house with old steel window frames, high ceilings and draughty doors. Instead, you're going to be more inclined to find a piece of real estate that will keep electricity and gas prices down and be generally more pleasant to be in.
The same goes for commercial spaces, so what exactly should you be looking out for if you want to keep your bills as low as possible?
Energy efficient lighting
Lighting plays an important part in any space, and not least a commercial premises. The Clean Energy Council estimates that lighting accounts for as much as 7 per cent of energy used in a home, so just imagine how much of an impact it would have on business electricity bills!
Go in search of a green lease
Commercial tenants may also find advantages in securing a green lease. These enable you to rent out a space within a green building, namely those that have been designed with sustainability and efficiency in mind.
The Green Building Council of Australia recommends asking letting agents whether the building has a Green Star or NABERS rating exceeding four stars. This indicates that the premises has been constructed to strict environmental standards, which should be reflected in your energy bills.
Assess the size of the space
If you select a commercial space that is too big for your needs, it's likely that you will end up spending more on energy bills than is really necessary. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recommends basing your floor area requirements on the number of people you expect to use the space.
In many respects, choosing a commercial space is a bit like choosing a new home.
The RICS recommends allowing for a density of around 10 square metres per person, but for an open plan layout, this should be increased to between 12 and 17 square metres.
Room for improvement
The Property Council of Australia's Guide to Office Building Quality suggests that environmental benchmarks are changing all the time, meaning that commercial premises are under pressure to keep pace.
As a result, it's important to keep taking a look at the market to see what's available. A building that's setting the standard for energy efficiency now might not be in five years' time, so it's crucial to maintain an interest in the sector.