Environmental Implications of a Structural Change in the Commercial Property Sector
Conference contribution, 2005
Most buildings will exist 20 years from now (Persson 2002) and their operating phase accounts for 85 % of their environmental impact (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 2003). Changes in property management may thus have large impact on environmental performance. A change is taking place in the commercial property sector in Sweden and elsewhere. From consisting of property owners and tenants, companies specialized in facility management have entered the sector. This leads to a more complex structure with some owners, only seeing properties as real assets, hiring facility-managing firms to manage both buildings and tenants. More actors in the sector lead to a more complex incentives situation. For example, arguments motivating investments that reduce environmental impact and cost with some financial pay-off time are often based on the traditional owner-tenant structure. These arguments are becoming invalid as the structure is changing.
This paper discusses environmental implications and obstacles to environmental improvement by comparing the two types of property management in commercial buildings. The study goes beyond environmental management systems and analyses how and to what extent the organizing of property management impacts environmental performance. The structural change on the property market is likely to stay and develop even further; the need for knowledge about environmental implications of such structural changes is therefore obvious.