Zach Flora 0:00
There’s a various ways you can think about green and healthy buildings. And if you tend to bubble to the surface as ones that are easy for for people to look at, and one of those might just be simple as accessibility, are our commercial properties industrial office multifamily, are they in walkable neighborhoods, pedestrian accessible access to public transportation and bike infrastructure. These type of things kind of promote physical activity, promote mental health outcomes that optimal mental health outcomes. But also the use of public transit and active transportation can help reduce things like air, air pollution and congestion and just create overall greener environments.
Welcome to CRE PN Radio for influential commercial real estate professionals who work with investors buyers and sellers of commercial real estate coast to coast whether you’re an investor, broker, lender, property manager, attorney or accountant we are here to learn from the experts.
J Darrin Gross 1:03
Welcome to Commercial Real Estate Pro Networks, CRE PN Radio. Thanks for joining us. My name is J. Darrin Gross. This is the podcast focused on commercial real estate investment and risk management strategies. Weekly, we have conversations with commercial real estate investors and professionals who provide their experience and insight to help you grow your real estate portfolio.
Today, my guest is Zack Flora. Zach is the vice president of market growth at the Center for Active Design, and Active Design Advisors Inc. And in just a minute, we’re gonna speak with Zach about how commercial and industrial building owners can increase their property valuations through green ins initiatives.
But first, a quick reminder, if you like our show, CRE PN Radio, there are a couple of things you can do to help us out. You can like, share and subscribe. And as always, we encourage you to leave a comment we love to hear from our listeners. Also, if you want to see how handsome Our guests are, be sure to check out our YouTube channel. And you can find us on YouTube at commercial real estate pro network. And while you’re there, please subscribe. With that, I want to welcome my guest, Zack, welcome to CRE PN Radio.
Zach Flora 2:22
Darrin, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure.
J Darrin Gross 2:24
I’m looking forward to our conversation today. But before we get into it, if you could take just a minute and share with the listeners a little bit about your background.
Zach Flora 2:34
Sure, absolutely. So I have been working for the Center for Active Design and Active Design Advisors Inc, on the kind of fitwel platform, which is a healthy bidding platform for the last four years. And my primary role is to work across the real estate community with some large real estate investors, owners and managers on how they can optimize their properties, looking at green and healthy building initiatives to kind of maximize value or or maximize impact and how to bake those things into some broader sustainability or, or ESG initiatives. And, you know, in my background is is not necessarily in in commercial real estate directly. I have some experience and then health and wellness and well being and working for some real estate related platforms and research sites. But I’ve been able to, in the last four years really help that real estate community better understand what it means to be a green or healthy building, and how that translates into kind of a return on investment for their stakeholders, whether it be their occupants, themselves or their investors.
J Darrin Gross 3:42
No, that’s great. So talking about green versus conventional, there’s, you know, I guess a plethora of, of whether it be systems or you know, ways you can implement this. Are there some examples that are like some go to examples that that are the easy kind of the low hanging fruit that you typically recommend building owners employ?
Zach Flora 4:16
Yeah, so I think there’s a various ways people can think about green and healthy buildings. And a few tend to bubble to the surface as ones that are easy for for people to look at. And one of those might just be simple as accessibility. Are our commercial properties industrial office multifamily. Are they in walkable neighborhoods, pedestrian accessible access to public transportation and bike infrastructure. These type of things kind of promote physical activity for most mental health outcomes that optimal mental health outcomes. But also the use of public transit and active transportation can help reduce things like air, air pollution and congestion and just create overall greener environments. Secondly, I think nature and just access to nature and prioritizing that. So having things like street trees and neighborhoods or in public spaces or creating well landscaped public spaces, and outdoor spaces, again helps to decrease stress can also often times improve physical activity by making those kind of pedestrian infrastructure more more exciting or or more accessible, but also again, having that natural elements such as trees helps to reduce the exposure to pollutants by controlling some things like air quality. And finally, things like like safe siting, so are you able to locate projects away from environmental hazards such as landfills or power plants or, or contaminated sites, again, going along the lines of helping to reduce kind of stress and anxiety and improve mental health outcomes of your occupants, whether they be commercial office industrial or multifamily, but also kind of its cutting your exposure to those contaminants or pollutants that might be in the air and pose a danger to to your health. Those are three that I think are come to mind for a lot of people. But when we talk about green buildings and healthy buildings, it’s a much more I think, dynamic and comprehensive viewpoint, especially over the last few years, I think COVID-19 has really changed our view of what it means to be a green or or healthy building. Many years ago, there was a study, I think, by CBRE that looked at, you know, what do occupants one buildings and natural daylight was one of the main things and that’s another, you know, aspect of green and healthy buildings access to a prioritization of natural, natural light indoors. But today, I think things like indoor air quality and cleaning protocols are really front of mind for a lot of our for a lot of employers and their employees, in terms of what does it mean to be kind of green and healthy, healthy building or green and healthy sight?
J Darrin Gross 7:11
That’s funny. Everything you mentioned, there was not on my radar as far as what I thought you might, you might identify I had like, like light bulbs, and you know, or some sort of like, more of like a, an energy kind of thing, as opposed to the green. I mean, the actual, the physical green space. I mean, it’s basically about, you know, like I said, creating more of a, I guess more of an environment where people are able to, to kind of interact more with nature and all that, or just having more of that connection there. And and like imagine that, that is a person in that environment that you all sudden, it’s just there’s a, there’s a level of calm or a just a more desirable place to be has that that kind of what I guess the question is kind of what I’m trying to reconcile it. So in the efforts to make more of a green design? Is there something that you can measure or that there’s a way to measure something that’s more green, less green as it is it? Is there a scale? Or how do you how do you measure that?
Zach Flora 8:22
Yeah, I mean, I think at the end of the day, the idea of green buildings has really evolved, right? So from the 80s, thinking about sick building syndrome to, you know, the early 2000s, when we’re thinking really about kind of light bulbs and energy efficiency. Today, when we think about green buildings, we take, I think, a much more human centric approach to say, how are green buildings improving our environmental metrics, or the environmental KPIs that we have set for us, which might be things like, energy use, or waste or and water, things like that. But it also has to have a human component to it that’s much more tangible. So a lot of those things I mentioned earlier, things like accessibility, access to nature, a lot of times are much more tangible to the occupants inside. And they help to really add some texture to the things you’re doing for those to create green and healthy buildings. And they’ll again, the last couple of years have really shifted the conversation from I only need to think about energy efficiency, because that’s going to help reduce operating costs for myself, or reduce operating costs for or reduce kind of occupancy costs from my tenants. But how do I actually look at and think about the tangible aspect of creating environments that improve mental health where tenants or employees can see the things that we’re doing to create environments that are green, and healthy? And I think you actually hit something right on the head there, which is you have to be able to kind of measure the impact on health and the fit well system is really the platform is is crucial to a lot of companies kind of really understanding what it means to be green and healthy building because it allows them to take those evidence based design and operational strategies that are part of the fitwel standard. And use those to prioritize health and green building initiatives across their across their buildings across their sites across their communities, and then ties those strategies. So things like creating access to outdoor space, or having having accessibility to transit or improving indoor air quality. And taking that and showing that there’s a measurable impact on health to through various kind of a health outcomes or various kind of health impact categories, I would say. So if we take mental health for, for example, if you are in buildings that have access to outdoor space, if you have views of nature, from your worksite, if you have access to natural daylight, you can show a true positive impact on the health of occupants. And that positive impact can be shown in things like productivity. Even things like indoor air quality, if we’re able to optimize indoor air quality practices within buildings, were actually able to show not only an impact in things like mental health or or occupant health, but we can also look at things like occupant productivity. And these types of kind of measurements allow companies to really create a strategic plan to prioritize health and prioritized green initiatives and move them one step forward into some broader kind of sustainability or ESG agendas that their investors and the financial community is really looking for, as they evaluate their options and opportunities.
J Darrin Gross 11:48
Right. And again, from an investor standpoint, you know, just basically about, excuse me return, I mean, you know, from just a dollars and cents thing, although baked into that is the the fact that people want to be there, whether that be your your tenant, as a company or the company’s employees, or, you know, that there’s some sort of an inviting space, I would think would be kind of the key to any kind of creating an undesirable environment desirable property. So, I’m curious, as this conversation has changed from like, like, you know, we mentioned the kind of the energy consumption to now more the green space and mental health. In like the energy space, there were like incentives that were there were made available to property owners, through the utilities, and possibly even code change was implemented to kind of promote this and implement this. Are there any similar type? I mean, are you seeing building codes kind of create this space? Or require it? Or are there any incentives for building or for building owners to create these spaces?
Zach Flora 13:16
Yeah, so you know, healthy buildings are really cheap.
J Darrin Gross 13:19
I’m sorry, when I say incentives, I want to make sure that obviously, the incentive to create a nice space for the occupants, but I, but more of like, some sort of financial incentive, where there was like, like a, like some of the the utilities had some sort of money available for, you know, building owners that would convert their their energy. Use it.
Zach Flora 13:43
Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, healthy buildings are relatively new. And this idea that a building can impact your health from the broader real estate community or or investment community, it’s relatively new and green buildings have, you know, that idea has been kind of proliferating for the last couple of decades. So when we think about green buildings, and we think about, you know, incentives, yes, there’s always there’s those regulations or those, you know, financial incentives about, you know, a tax breaks or, or things like that, to help drive the development of kind of your your typical green buildings. But the financial incentive, I think for for traditional green buildings has always been around things like operational protocols. So if you are creating more energy efficient buildings, you can reduce your kind of operation, operating expenses, through savings on that, on those aspects. I think we also when we look at Green buildings, we’re starting to see more and more over the last decade, that they actually can drive higher occupancy rates. So we’re seeing that more and more these buildings that are considered green, are seeing higher sales prices are they’re seeing higher leasing prices. They’re seeing more stable tenants. They’re seeing tenants that are signing on for longer lease terms. And part of that goes back to his operating census, right with the with the growth of triple net leases. Green buildings offer more stability, I think for those employers and those tenants of commercial office and industrial spaces to say, we can reduce our risk of fluctuating energy prices, or of maybe issues related to climate change. So you certainly have those reduced operating costs both for the owner and the employer. And then that’s leading to, I think, some more stability in terms of occupancy rates. And that’s a thing a huge, a huge part of the scope that I think stakeholders and investors are looking at when they’re identifying these different properties. But part of the, the new part of the conversation is what we call LSA, brown discounts. So buildings that are not kind of building to these green codes are retrofitted to be energy efficient. In order to include some of these healthy building practices like access to transit, outdoor amenity spaces access to natural daylight, we’re seeing that those owners are actually struggling to keep and retain tenants. And they may actually have to provide discounts on leasing out space or or renting out that space. And if they’re not willing to make the investment and updates to these buildings, to be able to show those green building practices with those healthy healthy building practices, they actually have to, you know, unload these properties at a discount, because they’re really a, you know, become a risk to their portfolio and a risk to their investment. I’m based in New York. And you know, recently they passed the climate mobilization Act, which you know, there can be fines and fees for properties of a certain size that don’t hit certain kind of emissions caps. So now, some of these additional assets, especially in the office market, there are even fines, and then some legal action risks that can come from the building not being optimized for kind of these green and healthy outcomes. And I think that the financial community is really taking a look at that and saying, there is an incentive not only from the bottom up, so tenants are asking for more of these more of these amenities and more of these kinds of operational savings by having energy efficiency by having access to amenities. But we’re also seeing the kind of financial institutions asking for how are you minimizing risks related to things like climate change, but also health? You know, and COVID-19 has certainly shown us that, that healthy buildings are a must have now and not a nice to have. Because we’re, you know, we’re still kind of going through the, I think the recovery, I mean, many of the office market is only 30 to 40% occupied right now. And they’re struggling to attract employees and attract employers back to the office. And part of that is, these real estate owners and operators and managers are going to have to find ways to build trust among the occupier community, and get back to the office by saying we have considered we are considering your health, your safety, we’re creating more resilient spaces and bring them back through that kind of trust building in that communication. But, you know, a silver lining from the last two years with COVID, at least from my perspective, is that we have a much more
a knowledgeable set of employers and employees and residents who are understanding the link between health and the places they live in work. And they’re understanding how green building practices and healthy building practices are, affect them. So whether it be your office or your home, or the places you learn or the places you shop. There’s they’re asking for more, and they’re demanding more from kind of the real estate community on how they’re delivering, designing and renovating the spaces. And that’s certainly an incentive for a lot of these companies in the financial markets. And the investors have noticed that and they’ve taken into account in their own kind of scopes, you know, how do we ensure the stability of our assets, and they’re saying they have to be kind of looking at their environmental impact, they have to be looking at their social impact in terms of health and, and how it’s impacting occupants, because this rise of maybe ESG, or environmental and social governance issues and standards are really playing a role and the proliferation of green buildings and healthy buildings and changing the markets as as we come together.
J Darrin Gross 19:29
So do you see that the majority of the green is in new construction or is it is there a healthy retrofit for existing buildings?
Zach Flora 19:45
Sure, so I think in many cities and in many municipalities designing to green buildings is becoming the standard I mean, look at across and designing to healthy buildings becoming the standard I look across a lot of fit well users and a lot of fit well. I Um, the real estate companies were using fit well, and they are baking them into their their design centers, they are going to build to be able to stand against the fitwel standard. And they are going to design new developments and new sites or complete major renovations or major repositioning of buildings and sites to be designed to leverage things like fitwel, or other green building certifications and platforms like like LEED. So that I think is definitely a growing body of knowledge that we have to build to the standards, because that’s what the new crop of employees and employers gonna be asking for. One of the real benefits of the fit well platform is that was actually designed for existing buildings. So fit well was developed by the CDC and the GSA between 2010 and 2015. And it was designed for existing buildings. Because when we think about kind of making green buildings or healthy buildings, a part of your just operational protocol and a part of your standard and culture as an organization, whether it be an occupier real estate or developer, you need to be able to use it across your entire portfolio to really show those impacts. And to get back to something we talked about earlier, which is to really measure the impact you’re having on those environmental metrics, or to measure those impact measure those impacts are having on kind of occupant health and safety, you need to roll it out across at scale, it can’t just be on one or two flagship new construction buildings. Because most portfolios out there are going to be you know, 90% existing assets that have another few decades left in their lifespan. So if it will have been designed for existing buildings was really a game changer for the industry to say we can look at not only our new construction projects, but we can also look at all of our existing buildings and find ways to optimize those do some low cost but high impact strategies. You know, we talked about things like having transit or or outdoor space, or even kind of opening up stairwells to allow individuals to circulate at the building. Using stairs, instead of setting the elevators, a lot of these things are low cost to implement, but they have a huge impact in the occupant experience or a huge impact in occupant satisfaction rates and can really drive some those metrics you’re looking for. And because they’re low cost, I think you see some of those financial returns being at a much kind of higher premium, you can roll this out across your portfolio, you can begin to measure and manage, you know, if I’m doing these things at my across all my commercial office assets, are we seeing increased stability in tenants? Are we seeing longer leases, are we seeing higher tenant satisfaction rates, being able to use those things to measure what your investments will be in the future, I think is truly key to to rolling these out.
J Darrin Gross 22:51
All right, you know, a frustration of mine that I’ve seen as more in the consumer space, but it’s just, you know, a lot of the energy efficiency products, they use less material in the manufacturing, but they only last, you know, half or maybe 25% of what the the old traditional conventional product was, whether it be a refrigerator, a washer, dryer, whatever it might be, kind of thing. But I’m curious in in this conversation with with the kind of going green? Is there a cost? I mean, if you had to two projects, one being a conventional one being more of a green model, is there a cost difference in the actual implementation of the the two methods or the two two types?
Zach Flora 23:47
Great question. So every location is going to be different based off the size of the project, region, location, access to materials, I’d say the sooner you bake in things like healthy building practices, or standard like fit well into the design and development of a project, the more you’re going to reduce the the capital cost of implementing those kinds of brain building operational protocols. So there’s green building, or there’s healthy building design elements. So we’re seeing a lot and again, another reason why these companies are baking fit well into their their design programs is because they’re trying to reduce the cost of creating healthy buildings, there’s always going to be a little bit more of a premium if you’re kind of renovating a building to meet green standard or meet a healthy building standard, like fit well. I think the beauty of fit well and the platform that we’ve built is there is a ton of strategies about 70 Plus across each of our different asset level scorecards, and you as the consumer get to choose based off your occupant profile, your budget, your location. How do you want to create a healthy building what strategies will mean the most to you? or occupants, you know, again, a building in downtown Manhattan versus a building out in in Westchester County versus a building maybe in a more rural location, they’re going to have different needs based off their occupants based off their budgets based off their space considerations. So being able to choose strategies that work for you, I think is key to keeping those costs down. And fit was designed, again, some really low cost, high impact strategies that will move the needle and showing how you’re impacting health. But also based off, you know, 100 years of public health research. You know, we tend to think about healthy building practices. Maybe we kind of entered this earlier, and we talked about LED lighting versus, you know, accessibility to transit. Some of these things are not new, some of these things are not, are not things we haven’t thought about before. I mean, it was based off 100 years of public health research, it’s really about how he implemented in buildings to design in a way that it improves the occupant experience, and that it allows companies to roll it out at scale. And being able to use some do something across your entire portfolio, like indoor air quality practices around ventilation or around cleaning protocols, or emergency preparedness is incredibly key. And as we look at you know, our, you know, the industrial developments that are coming down the pipeline, and how they’re optimizing for, you know, occupant safety or occupant health, the more you can bake those things in, in the early stages, the the less expensive, it’s going to be to think about these things. And the the less expensive will be to kind of renovate buildings in the future to meet the to meet this demand or to meet this, this this need.
J Darrin Gross 26:43
Now, it’s great. You continue to mention the footwell thing, and so make sure that I’m understanding you’d said something about CDC and then the GSA created this, but then it sounds like your your group is halfway or partly involved in this. Can you kind of explain the relationship and and what the fit? Well, I mean, the overall concept of
Zach Flora 27:09
Yeah, absolutely. So football is a healthy burning platform that helps the real estate communities and designers kind of understand how a building’s operational and design, operational protocols and design practices are going to impact the health of occupants. And we take a holistic and interrelated approach to helping companies understand and prioritize the health of their occupants and the communities that they serve through evidence based strategies that are proven to remote health. And then we take those strategies and we show you through a series of metrics and health impact data. How exactly you’re impacting the health of your occupants through certain strategies or protocols, and how you can measurably track changes in occupant health outcomes by implementing certain building practices. So if it was actually again, this, like I said, designed by created by poor leading practitioners at the CDC, and piloted across a portion of the GSAs portfolio between 2010 and 2015. And then the Senate rep resigned, the organization I work for was was chosen to bring Phil out to marketplace. So centerback design or I’ll call it C fad from now on C fad is responsible for the platform’s development and growth end. And maintenance and accurate design advisors was rolled out in last year, to help kind of implement our scalable strategy a fit well, and drive kind of market transformation. Our goal is to really motivate the entire real estate design industry, towards thinking about healthy buildings and thinking about how we can include this idea about health, healthy buildings and green buildings into every kind of stage of decision making. Our organizations still still work closely with the CDC to help us kind of provide and understand research alone about it, you know, a dozen other kind of academic and research institutions. And we’ve been very successful, I think our last four years helping to communicate what is what does it mean to be healthy building and what does it mean to utilize our resources to understand how your portfolios are impacting health and how you can make changes to further drive that that impact and how you can measure that impact? So that you can use it for your sustainability or ESG reporting or financial reporting?
J Darrin Gross 29:41
Got it? Is the fit well model designed to apply strictly to to like the office asset class or does it does it have information you know, across the investment spectrum, you know, industrial retail Does it fit all of the all of the different asset classes?
Zach Flora 30:06
Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve got different. We call them scorecards, but different scorecards for kind of the commercial office, asset class, retail, multifamily, residential, senior housing. And we also have one specifically for kind of commercial and industrial sites. That’s been designed for the industrial asset owners and investors to ensure that the sites they develop and manage are tailored to promote health and well being amongst their tenants. So we can we have different scorecards for different asset types. When we you know, the workplace scorecard is certainly our longest and Legacy product. With industrial and senior housing being some of our most recent, we also have scorecards for individual occupiers real estate, so really looking at the tenant and how they can fit out their own fit outs, whether it be within industrial spaces, or retail spaces, or within kind of multi tenant, commercial office buildings. I’ll say our industrial sites scorecard is one of the few available certifications for those industrial sites. And there’s been a lot of interest from that kind of asset class. As they look to kind of better communicate or strengthen the things that they’re doing around healthy and green buildings. There’s also a huge opportunity now to differentiate your products through health and well being. I was reading a report yesterday from from dodge that said, they’re forecasting about 53 billion in construction starts and kind of the warehouse and distribution market this year. And that’ll account for about a third of the entire US commercial construction construction sector. As we see a lot more of that kind of square footage of industrial space warehouse and distribution and logistics hit the market, being able to differentiate yourself through product like fit well using, whether it be commercial office or industrial, that’ll be huge to making sure that you are still accessing those top tier tenants that you’re still being able to stabilize your tenants that you’ve already signed, and continue leasing with them and continue working with them.
J Darrin Gross 32:15
So do you find that most of the the interest comes from the landlord? Or is it is there a drive from the the tenants, too? Are they pushing the market based on what they’re what they’re most likely to lease? Or? Or is it? Is there an action reaction?
Zach Flora 32:36
Yeah, it’s kind of a perfect storm, right? I mean, we actually did a survey of the real estate investment community during and I would say between September of 2020. And they released the report released in March of 2021, looking at, you know, investor sentiment around healthy buildings. And we found that, you know, 87% of real estate investors responded that they were experiencing increased demand for healthy buildings. And that that demand was really being driven by their tenants, particularly in office and residential, that those tenants were demanding things around healthy building practices and protocols. And that was kind of driving them. But at the same time, we found that there’s this rise for kind of ES more kind of material ESG related data. And while I think green building certifications and things around energy and waste and water have really solidified that the E or the environmental component of that kind of reporting, companies and large real estate investment trusts and managers were looking for ways to better solidify that s symmetric, and they found that health and well being and the kind of metrics that fit well provides, through their kind of through the online platform, were great ways to further strengthen that reporting on us and really show how health and well being are kind of becoming proxies for that kind of that s symmetric, if you will. So tenants really driving demand, but I think the need to respond to their financial investors and really show a more material assessment of assets was also a huge driver for that. And I think, again, I’ll say you know, as COVID has changed the perceptions of individuals, individual employees and residents alike, they’re demanding more from their, from the place they live in the place that they work. So we’ve always had a large number of real estate owners and investors using the federal platform. In the last, I’d say, a year or so we’ve seen a huge increase from the multifamily asset class, from the industrial asset class, but also from those kind of individual occupiers and real estate saying we want to make sure that our HR policies, our operational policies, the way we’re designing our own workspaces, are going to optimize employees health, especially when it comes to mental health outcomes or social equity or In, you know, industrial spaces occupant safety and in those environments?
J Darrin Gross 35:07
Hi, it’s fascinating how, you know, these things that, you know, can can affect just the well being and, you know, one’s just having a good day or not kind of hearing, you know, inviting space. That’s, that’s great. The Can I ask you a question, and it’s like golfing slipped my mind here? Well, let me do this. Let me shift gears here for a second. Sec, by day, I’m an insurance broker and, and I work with my clients to assess risk and determine what to do with the risk. And there’s there’s three strategies we typically consider, we first look to see if there’s a way to avoid the risk. If we can’t avoid it, we look to see if there’s a way to minimize the risk. And then if we cannot avoid or minimize, we look to see if there’s a way we can transfer the risk. And that’s what an insurance policy is, is a risk transfer vehicle. And I like to ask my guests, if they can look at their own situation can be their clients, investors, the market? Government, however, you know, you choose to frame the question, but I like to ask my guests, and I’d like to ask you to what you consider to be the biggest risk. And for clarification, like I said, Well, I’m an insurance broker, I’m not necessarily looking for an insurance related answer. But with that, if you’re willing, I like to ask you, Zack Flora, what is the biggest risk?
Zach Flora 36:39
Yeah, Darrin, absolutely. And I’m going to come at it from the point of their real estate community. And there’s this growing need to be able to kind of measure and implement green and healthy building initiatives. And I think the biggest risk to the real estate community today is to not understand what it means to be a healthy building, not understand what it means to what those concepts are around creating a healthy building and to neut to narrowly focus in on kind of one set of aspects. So if it’s an industrial to narrow to narrowly focusing on maybe things like workplace injury or commercial office space, to narrowly focusing on things like indoor air quality, or to say we’re doing energy efficiency, and that’s going to be enough. Being the healthy buildings are this idea of healthy buildings are relatively new, even though the evidence base has been around for for 100 years, companies and the real estate community specifically, they need to understand exactly how their buildings are performing against a set of related metrics. So that they can begin to figure out how to manage and measure the risk related to health. And, you know, we can come back to that, that office environment, we have low occupancy rates, still, we’re struggling to get people back into the office, if you don’t know how your properties are actually impacting health right now, you’re not going to be able to make the effective changes to build that trust and reduce and mitigate that risk moving forward, you’re not gonna be able to figure out how do I prevent reduced occupancies in the face of maybe a future contagious or respiratory infectious disease outbreak like COVID-19, we are not going to understand how do I control for mental health issues and social equity issues that my employer that my tenants and their employees are asking about. So not being able to kind of look at the broader picture, understanding where you are, where you’re starting from. So you can make a really strategic and informed plan moving forward is, I think the biggest risk to saying you’re not gonna be able to see some of the returns we talked about, unless you know exactly where you’re starting from and setting goals and being able to meet them, you’re not going to be able to see those kind of the suitability of tenants, you’re not going to see that return on investment. Because maybe you were too narrow in your focus, or maybe you didn’t know where to start, and you didn’t know where you are. So you didn’t start appropriately, in kind of retrofitting or designing or implementing healthy buildings in your culture.
J Darrin Gross 39:09
No, it’s certainly a topic that, you know, I’m certain every investor wants their property be the most desirable. So they can, you know, track the highest rents and the highest sale price kind of thing. But it’s it’s not a I think there’s a lot of times when you have some sort of new concept or just kind of a, a kind of trying to get your hands around or you know, try and understand exactly what it is. But it certainly like you said with the old COVID experience, it certainly raised the awareness overall of just how impactful the the environment is an unwanted Health Net. So that’s, that’s great. The question I meant to ask you and this kind of ties in as we wrap up here. The fit well system is Is this? Is it a platform that anyone can access? Or is it something that they have to go through a vendor to get to? Or how can one learn more about the fit wel System?
Zach Flora 40:14
Yeah, absolutely. So anyone can utilize that way. You don’t have to utilize any specific vendor or any specific consultant. Anybody can find out more by going to www.fitwel. That’s fit w e l.org. There, you can learn more about kind of what is fit well, how does it work, and access our kind of our proprietary online technology that will allow you to, like I said, upload your entire portfolio, understand assess your property against the fit, well standard, access some of those health metrics, and be able to make informed decisions about how to kind of improve the performance of the impact that your real estate assets are having on on their occupants. But yeah, open everybody and if anyone’s interested in learning more, from me specifically, they can email info at fit well.org To find out more about myself for or how the platform works or how they can get started with it. And just to be clear,
J Darrin Gross 41:12
fit well as fit W E L is or not two L’s
Zach Flora 41:17
there’s one L so fit W E L your crown. Okay.
J Darrin Gross 41:20
Okay, my sure heard your answer. Awesome. Well, Zach, I have learned a bunch. I appreciate you taking the time to talk today. And I look forward to doing it again soon.
Zach Flora 41:33
Yeah, Darrin, it was an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much. And I look forward the next time we we chat.
J Darrin Gross 41:38
You got it. For our listeners. If you liked this episode, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. Remember, the more you know, the more you grow? That’s all we’ve got this week. Until next time, thanks for listening to Commercial Real Estate Pro Networks, CRE PN Radio.
You’re listening to CRE PN Radio for influential commercial real estate professionals. For more information on this or any of our guests like us on Facebook CRE PN Radio