Green Buildings : Exploring performance and thresholds

Abstract: The overall aim of this research project is to study green/energy-efficient real estate from an economic perspective. The thesis summarizes the results from five different studies with a connection to green/energy-efficient real estate.The aim of the first paper (paper A) is to study how tenants perceive the indoor environment in green-rated premises, and to compare these results with tenants’ perception of a conventional building’s indoor environment. The main result is that the tenants in the green-rated building are more satisfied with the indoor environment than the tenants in the conventional building.Papers B and C assess whether energy efficiency has an impact on buildings’ income and market values using Swedish real-estate data. The key result is that although there is a small impact on building-related income, this does not seem to translate into a higher market value.The last two papers included in this thesis study hindrances to a more energy-efficient building sector. In paper D, two office buildings are used as baseline cases to provide insights into the difficulties that can arise when trying to upgrade a building to make it more energy efficient. The results indicate that changing existing leases is a prohibitive process and that it is often difficult to evaluate the final impact of an energy upgrade. The last paper focuses on why it may be rational to postpone green refurbishments even if they are profitable. The main result is that it may be rational to postpone such refurbishments. However, by introducing different financial penalties and/or subsidies, these investments could be triggered today.To sum up, the results indicate that green buildings are preferred by tenants, but that there still appear to be economic barriers to a greener building sector.