The purpose of this study is first to evaluate whether real options analysis (ROA) is suitable for valuing green building certificates, and second to calculate the real option value of a green certificate in a typical office building setting. Green buildings are demonstrated as one of the most profitable climate mitigation actions. However, no consensus exists among industry professionals about how green buildings and specifically green building certificates should be valued.
The research design of the study involves a theoretical part and an empirical part. In the theoretical part, option characteristics of green building certificates are identified and a contemporary real option valuation method is proposed for application. In the empirical part, the application is demonstrated in an embedded multiple case study design. Two different building cases (with and without green certificate) with eight independent cash flow valuations by eight industry professionals are used as data set for eight valuation case studies and analyses. Additionally, cross-case analysis is executed for strengthening the analysis.
The paper finds that green certificates have several characteristics similar to real options and supports the idea of using ROA in valuing a green certificate. The paper also explains how option pricing theory and discounted cash flow (DCF) method deal with uncertainty and what shortcomings of DCF could be overcome by ROA. The results show that a mean real option value of 985,000 (or 8.8 per cent premium to the mean property value) was found for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certificate in the Finnish property market. The main finding of the paper suggests that the contemporary real option valuation methods are appropriate to assess the monetary value and the uncertainty of a green building certificate.
This is the first study to argue that option-pricing theory can be used for valuing green building certificates. The identification of the option characteristics of green building certificates and demonstration of the ROA in an empirical case makes questions whether the current mainstream investment analysis approaches are the most suitable methods for valuing green building certificates.
Vimpari, J. and Junnila, S. (2014), "Valuing green building certificates as real options", Journal of European Real Estate Research, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 181-198. https://doi.org/10.1108/JERER-06-2013-0012
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