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County and City Sustainability Plans Means Big Changes for CRE

BOMA/GLA Education
sustainability ourcounty

After adopting its OurCounty Sustainability Plan last year, the LA Board of Supervisors is finally making substantial progress on its sustainability initiatives.

As explored in their recent reports, the LA County Sustainability Office has big plans for building decarbonization and transit, which will definitely have some impact on Los Angeles properties.

More importantly, many other local governments will likely adopt similar measures put forth by the County. With this in mind, building owners should be aware of the bold components of the County’s "Green New Deal," since it will likely be corroborated by all municipalities in Los Angeles.

What does OurCounty do and how does it affect property operations?

In attempting to reconcile the needs of different Angelenos, OurCounty envisions a vibrant Los Angeles characterized by the values of equity, environment, and economy. Among other environmental goals, the County seeks to regulate building design whilst broadening access to affordable clean energy.

While largely beneficial, such changes would significantly impact building operations.

For one, OurCounty intends to promote carbon-free building design. In particular, the County will advance sustainability standards requiring 100% of all major building renovations by 2045 to be carbon neutral, or produce zero carbon emissions. To that end, the County expects major building renovations to either remove carbon emissions or to transition to sustainable energy.

These performance standards can be found in greater detail in the full OurCounty Sustainability Plan.

On top of all of this, the County will internally strive to use 100% renewable energy in its operations.

To encourage commercial businesses to do the same, the County will attempt to innovate its sources of energy to make clean energy accessible to all property owners. It will also explore generous rebate programs.

Although it is still unclear as to how the County will pursue this strategy, it could possibly mirror Culver City's partnership with Green Power Alliance.

OurCounty will do more to impact your tenants and your building value

BOMA/GLA members won’t just see changes in their workplaces.

Commuting to work might also significantly change, as the County intends to develop bus-only lanes to discourage driving to work. Though, if unsuccessful, this could worsen congestion along the busiest routes during rush hour.

While seemingly benign, this transportation change would have long-term ramifications for your tenants and building value.

Initially, tenants will be disheartened by longer drives to work. Indirectly, however, such frustrations would hamper the overall marketability and value of your property - therefore impacting the profits of your building.

Even more, in light of COVID-19, local officials are attempting to incorporate sustainable practices in tandem with re-opening efforts. As such, public officials will likely use this opportunity to accelerate their sustainable policies in the near future.

Stay informed, Get involved

Still in its infancy, the County’s Sustainability Plan still leaves a lot to be desired. Of course, we will continue to communicate any updates relevant to the commercial real estate industry on this blog.

And, if you have an interest in joining in on BOMA/GLA's sustainable advocacy efforts, join our Sustainability Committee to get more involved. The County has made it clear that they are willing to work with the business community on sustainability, and your input would be vital in protecting our interests.

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