New research finds $1.5 trillion of wasted space in office buildings

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Businesses around the world could realise savings of up to $1.5 trillion in reduced rental costs alone if their office buildings were refurbished to the most efficient standards of today, according to new analysis from Philips Lighting, a global leader in lighting. 

The findings, released by Philips Lighting during World Green Building Week, show the impact that could be made on rents across the world’s offices if business owners replicated the efficient usage of space achieved in a leading green building. Deloitte accomplished a 50 per cent reduction in the space required per employee in The Edge building in Amsterdam compared to its previous premises The Chrystal Tower, through effective use of smart technology. This was achieved whilst improving employee well-being.

Philips Lighting is calling for a doubling of the renovation rate of offices in developed countries to reach 3 per cent per year, which it says will be a key factor in reducing emissions and offsetting increased global demand for energy from population growth and urbanisation.

Moreover, the research highlights that in addition to reducing their carbon footprint, office tenants could see vast financial savings if their buildings were renovated in a way that uses space more effectively, particularly in buildings with a high number of empty workspaces and meeting rooms at any given time.

The Edge uses smart technology such as a connected lighting system from Philips Lighting that enables employees to personalize their lighting and temperature at their workspaces via a smartphone app, but also provides building managers with real-time data on how the office is being used to help maximize operational efficiency.

But Philips Lighting says the potential rent reduction from optimizing offices is just a small proportion of the total financial benefit to businesses, which also include lower utility bills and significant gains in the productivity of employees, the largest cost to most businesses. 

“Renovating buildings to make them more energy efficient can have a huge beneficial impact on the environment, and when they are renovated properly to encompass smart technology, the additional financial impact for businesses can also be vast,” explained Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Philips Lighting.

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