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Webinar: CRE Portfolios Put New Focus on Indoor Air Quality

Commercial real estate leaders see growing awareness of indoor air quality (IAQ) — looking beyond COVID — as a critical factor in where we all choose to live, work and vacation.

The role of indoor air quality in CRE’s recovery became the focus of the conversation in this webinar hosted by GlobeSt. The topic came up as Eric Smith of L&B Realty Advisors and Joe Ward of Ohana Real Estate Investors sat down with Carbon Lighthouse CMO JJ Steeley to discuss their ESG strategies for 2021.

Occupants are the lifeblood of CRE, which is reeling from the effects of a mass migration away from indoor spaces — offices, hotels, restaurants. When the risks to human health and to the health of the business are this high, CRE must boil down the strategies, solutions, and partners that will give tenants and guests the reassurance that it’s safe to return.

Ohana’s Eric Smith, EVP Business Development, sees air quality as both a new imperative and an opportunity:

“You have to build trust, you have to do things that are substantive and you have to communicate them: ‘We’re being transparent. Pull it up on your phone.’”

The public’s awareness of indoor air quality is a permanent shift, says Ward, L&B’s VP Asset Management:

“Air quality is here to stay… People are very aware now that it’s a big deal, and not just about COVID… It’s an important factor as they choose where to live, work and vacation.’”

As occupants have been adapting, CRE is now confronted with a tech-savvy, battle-tested public now re-emerging with a vastly different mindset from when they left in early 2020. 

The world knows more about healthy air than ever before having had a solid year of facts, panic-based reactions, and misinformation. So unless occupants can see for themselves that the air in their office building, a nearby hotel, or their favorite restaurant is healthy, those tenants and guests aren’t coming back to fuel CRE’s need for immediate and meaningful economic recovery. 

CRE’s tried and true attraction and retention strategies that worked even a year ago are no longer viable.

Only those landlords and property teams who can confidently market the safety of the air in their buildings will win back the trust needed to rebuild occupancy —  and indeed, a 2020 Carbon Lighthouse survey of 1,000 consumers confirms that interest is high:

  • 91% of consumers believe IAQ is important
  • 76% want to see a clear rating system
  • 77% say hotel IAQ impacts where they stay

But annual wellness certifications alone don’t help your customers make decisions at the time of signing a lease or booking a hotel or event space — hence the need for a marketable, transparent indoor air quality measure — in real-time, on-demand.

Unfortunately, CRE doesn’t have the luxury to take the same “wait and see” approach with its economic recovery strategies – the most integral piece of which requires ensuring occupants’ safe return to public spaces. 

Watch the discussion as two leaders in office and hospitality provide their perspectives on IAQ and the strategies they’re actively deploying as part of their recovery and re-occupancy strategies including: 

  • The immediate priorities on IAQ as well as long-term health and wellness benefits
  • The role that technology can play delivering good, stable air quality 
  • The importance of marketing back IAQ for a competitive advantage in today’s market

 

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