By Dorothy Hamilton, Managing Director of Property Management | Washington, DC
Last year I shared Stream’s Pathway to a Healthier Building—a route showing owners and investors how to design or retrofit their assets to be better places to work, and to meet certified standards. Pathway to a Healthier Building 2021 propelled readers and clients to action. Today, following the publication of the article, and communication informing our clients of the options to work toward certifications, we share where we are one year later—having reached a high level of adoption in multiple Stream markets.
The workplace is constantly evolving. Over the past 18 months, we are all more aware of the quality, density, cleanliness, and health of our indoor environments. As many are returning to the office, occupiers need to know their workplaces are safe. This derived demand for healthy office space means that occupier preferences will continue to drive demand for healthier buildings.
Owners and investors are willing to meet demand not only for the retention of current tenants, but also to appeal to the future market. Maintaining and increasing rent will depend on keeping pace with the market—including competition from newer properties, which may have these wellness elements built in.
A recent Forbes article highlights the need to futureproof office space to be “agile, healthy environments that are designed for interaction, inclusivity, and collaboration” going so far as to caution that “people will vote with their feet.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides guidelines on indoor air quality, and across the U.S. increasing regulation is expected.
Currently, demand is being driven by market awareness, tenant and income retention, futureproofing, the possibility of increased regulation, and competition.
On the Right Path
Pathway to a Healthier Building described two options owners and investors could take to improve the health and viability of their assets—meeting current occupier demand and future government regulations.
Although other certifications are available, the Pathway article focused on the WELL Certification and United Labs (UL) Standards, because these routes offer incremental milestones at varying degrees to fit differing timeframes and budgets.
Dedicated to Making a Difference
Following our publication and regional outreach with service offerings, owners of 90% of the properties Stream manages in the Washington D.C. area have committed to following the UL Standards route, a three-tier performance-based system (externally assessed) for the following categories:
- Tier 1: Indoor air quality
- Tier 2: Water
- Tier 3: Indoor acoustics
Among the new healthy advocates is the ownership of 900 G Street NW, an award-winning and LEED Gold certified, 9-story trophy boutique office building in the East End submarket of Washington, D.C. Under the management and direction of Stream’s Property Management services, 900 recently earned the UL Verified Healthy Building Tier 2.
UL’s Healthy Buildings Verification Mark for Indoor Air and Water demonstrates that indoor spaces provide healthy indoor air quality (IAQ). It demonstrates a commitment by building owners and managers to create and maintain indoor environments that support occupier health, well-being, and comfort, backed by UL’s globally recognized expertise in IAQ and building health.
Earning a UL Verified Healthy Building Mark demonstrates that building owners and managers are committed to a built environment that supports occupant health, wellbeing, and comfort.
Participation is growing. Over the last twelve months, our Stream property management teams have begun educating our owners and investors on the various “healthy building” certification options available with over 50% or higher commitment in some of our markets to following the UL Standards route.
While still in the very early stages of our education & adoption process, we expect adoption rates to continue to increase as employees return to the office and occupier demand increases.
Does Your Building Need a Health Check?
Creating a healthy workplace is more achievable than many imagine, and the process can be incremental. Considering that air quality and flow checks are already mandatory in some markets—and the increasing workplace expectations of occupiers—taking steps along the Pathway to a Healthier Building are more critical now than ever before. Owners across the U.S. are already doing the same to support their tenants and increase the market value of their assets. Read more in Stream’s Pathway to a Healthier Building to help determine the best route for your assets.