Market Adoption of Healthy Buildings in the Office Sector: A Global Study from the Owner’s Perspective


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Zhengzhen Tan, Siqi Zheng, Juan Palacios, Carl Hooks

253 / 292




International Real Estate Review



Our paper aims to examine the healthy building adoption patterns by first asking two critical questions that are relevant to the market conditions: What are healthy buildings? What is their financial value for tenants and owners? We then synthesize the existing academic and industry literature. We find some early evidence of a real estate price premium for specific indoor environment quality (IEQ) and design features. In terms of health-focused building certification systems (BCSs), no empirical and quantitative research has been done on the financial performance of healthy buildings, except for theoretical models. We then proceed to conduct interviews with executives of 15 real estate corporations across the globe to understand the perspectives of real estate owner operators and their strategies for this emerging market. The interviews results confirm that the scarcity of empirical evidence that links healthy building attributes to financial returns inhibits the adoption of healthy buildings in mainstream designs. Moreover, differences in the adoption patterns of healthy buildings are due to the building ownership structure at the firm level, tenants, end-users and building conditions. The strategies of firms in pursuing a healthy building range from risk mitigation to proactive pursuit of new growth opportunities. Private equity funds and real estate investment trust (REIT) firms tend to focus on risk mitigation, while direct real estate investment firms are more likely to carry out the latter to position themselves as a leader within the real estate industry.


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Healthy Buildings, Building Certification System, Value Proposition, Real Estate Value, Healthy Office, IEQ