Written by: Fiona Dearth
Have you heard the news? For the first time, commercial real estate (CRE) insiders will be able to view the energy and water usage data alongside more traditional metrics such as square footage and rental rates for properties across the United States. This May, The CoStar Group, a leading provider of CRE data, announced that it is partnering with the Department of Energy (DOE) to channel energy performance data to its online CoStar Property database, making it easily accessible for millions of users. The partnership has enormous potential to accelerate the energy efficiency decision making process. At Waypoint, we consistently find that more energy data in the hands of brokers, investors, and tenants means greater opportunity for these CRE market actors to prioritize energy efficiency as they weigh the attributes of properties.
The CoStar-DOE partnership comes at a time when cities nationwide are adopting energy performance benchmarking policies that require businesses to disclose energy usage information. Thanks to the new agreement, the DOE will ensure that this information appears in CoStar’s widely-used database, in addition to city records. Washington, D.C. and Chicago will be the first two cities with commercial building usage data available in the CoStar system later this year; data from other cities with benchmarking requirements will follow.
An increase in energy data transparency of this magnitude has the potential to drive significant progress in commercial building efficiency. A recent study that Waypoint helped develop for the DOE Better Buildings Initiative found that high-performing buildings are more likely to achieve utility cost savings, increased rental rates, higher tenant satisfaction and, as a result, increased net operating income (NOI). This in turn drives higher asset value and improves a property owners’ bottom line. With greater access to energy data, key CRE decision-makers, such as brokers, are able to factor in the costs of energy—and the benefits of potential energy savings—to make informed recommendations to owners and investors about long-term asset value.
Waypoint is excited about the value that the CoStar-DOE partnership could bring to its CRE partners, beyond simply increased benchmarking capabilities. The inclusion of this new energy usage line item in the CoStar reports will strengthen Waypoint services across the board: in our work on utility market studies regarding the state of a regional CRE market, and in our work encouraging users of the commercial SaaS financial benchmarking product to consider variables such as energy usage in overall decision-making. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how Waypoint is partnering with its utility partners to help commercial building owners to benchmark and analyze their energy usage data, identify efficiency opportunities, and build the business case for specific energy measures.