Returning to the office: how the pandemic changes the need for indoor air quality, healthy buildings, technology, and data in commercial real estate.
Proptech: a key piece for future-proof buildings
It’s no longer enough to satisfy needs. It’s about creating desire.
Clairify attended the Real Estate Building Futureproof Festival on the 20th and 21st of September and we can’t wait to share with you everything we learned.
After two days full of inspiring conversations, presentations, and insights from the most prominent players in the market, our CEO, Felix van den Horst, and our CTO, Wim Kamerman bring us their own vision for the future of the real estate world in this interview.
▶️ What were your key takeaways from the Festival?
- Increased energy costs
Owners, managers, and tenants are struggling with the enormously increased energy costs. If the owner invests in energy-saving measures, the person paying the energy bill (typically the tenant) is usually who benefits the most from the measures. So, in order for it to be a shared victory, it needs to be a shared responsibility, too. Therefore, both the tenant and the owners need to invest.
- Increased interest in sustainable strategies
Sustainability tends to be a higher priority for larger international companies. However, it usually did not rank first on the list for many companies and SMEs, which tend to be very busy with day-to-day operations. This trend is changing. With rising energy costs hitting SMEs directly, smaller businesses have started caring more and more about sustainable strategies.
▶️ What were the most inspiring pieces of information you got from the Festival?
There were a number of inspiring pieces during the festival, but our highlight was definitely Anony Slumbers’ keynote speech: 10 things that matter in the Future of Real Estate. Let us recap our top 2 moments from the speech - and yes, they’re quote-worthy moments.
- Offices need to have an added value
Antony formulated it perfectly: "No business wants an office. They want a productive workforce. This requires happy and healthy people. Businesses will not create happy and healthy people if their building is not sustainable."
After COVID-19, hybrid working is at its peak, meaning offices should be adding value for employees to go there. We see an increasing trend in adding value to social dynamics, co-creating the culture of a tenant's company, and helping their employees be more productive. Investing in a space that fulfills this trend will be rewarded with higher tenant retention, rental premiums, and increased building value.
- Recognize that a lot has to do with branding.
"There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about" - Oscar Wilde.
The quote gives a hint about what happens in commercial real estate, too. In the industry, building a brand is the next big thing. Marketing buildings as more than four walls and a roof, and instead building a recognizable brand that people desire. It’s no longer enough to satisfy needs. It’s about creating desire. Now is the best time to enter real estate because it's Nirvana for creatives, innovators, and visionaries.
▶️What does the commercial real estate market need to be future-proof in your opinion?
Only buildings that are flexible and sustainable (energy-efficient, healthy, and comfortable) will be future-proof. Why, you ask?
Well, on the one hand, buildings need to be energy-efficient to be attractive to tenants. A tenant looks at the base rent + service costs. Since energy costs are part of the service costs, having a low energy bill will make buildings more attractive. We see that companies that heavily invested in sustainable buildings, now reap the benefits.
And on the other hand, buildings need to be flexible in terms of space and services offered. They should provide a healthy environment to match the constantly changing demands of the tenants (remote work/hybrid/at the office). We're in a transition phase in which the function of the office is being redefined.
So, it’s all about implementing solutions that will help owners and property managers fulfill this mix of demands in the market. Those who can tailor their services best to the tenants' desires will be rewarded with customer loyalty and, therefore, high tenant retention rates.
Still, there are lots of owners that are postponing this kind of investment in their buildings, but eventually, these investments will have to be done anyway. So, we are convinced that the ones who act early are the ones who will have a clear advantage.
▶️ How can we, Clairify, help to get there?
We can help you make your buildings smarter, healthier, and more efficient, to make your building future-proof and your spaces stand out in the market. With Clairify you get insight into how your spaces are used, so you can automatically optimize the building for comfort, flexibility, and energy efficiency. For example:
- We help you tailor your heating/cooling to hybrid-working scenarios, and optimize your energy bill by identifying unnecessary heating and cooling with temperature monitoring;
- We provide you with data to identify ventilation issues with CO2 monitoring so that you can offer a highly productive space for your tenants;
- We help you offer a healthy working space and avoid potential health risks with TVOC and particulate matter monitoring;
- We aid you to reassure and empower your tenants by displaying the real-time environment status in the building.
We guide you to find a solution that works best for your individual requirements. Need tailor-made recommendations or help with solving identified issues?
Clairify is here to help.