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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Property Management, Volume 29, Issue 2
It is pleasing to report that the number of papers presented to Property Management is increasing and the Editorial Advisory Board and team of peer reviewers are very busy providing feedback to authors and working to improve the quality of papers accepted for publication. There are a growing number of papers addressing issues relating to sustainable development, green building management and the efficient use of energy in the built environment. Some commentators have said that the building and construction sector was slow to embrace the sustainability agenda, but this certainly appears to no longer be the case with widespread research reported across the full range of built environment journals. It seems that, in many regions of the world, the development industry is moving out of effects of the global financial crisis and showing a renewed interest in sustainable development and green building initiatives. Many of the rating organisations, LEED, BREEAM, Green Star among others, not surprisingly found that the numbers of buildings registering for certification fell away as projects were put on hold and developers looked to the bottom line and questioned the need for certification. It now seems that there is a resurgence of interest from developers and corporate occupiers alike for buildings that incorporate sustainable features and which provide healthy and productive work environments. Most developers in large major cities would find it inconceivable to consider a new building that did not embrace sustainable measures and would not be capable of achieving a respectable rating from one of the national or international rating tools.
Last year’s COP16 conference in Cancun was at least successful in moving forward to some level of global consensus on tackling climate change. This meeting, unlike the previous Copenhagen meeting achieved an agreement, though not a binding treaty, which aims to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This agreement places even greater pressure on the built environment to reduce its estimated 40 per cent consumption of energy. Governments around the world are continuing to discuss and implement carbon trading schemes while developing other measures to highlight the efficiency of commercial buildings with mandatory measurement and reporting of energy use. The UK and Europe having implemented Energy Certificates in 2007 and my own region, Australia moved to compulsory energy use disclosure in 2010. This trend is sure to continue as other sectors of the market and countries legislate to coerce ever-increasing energy efficiency.
What we are left with is a plethora of rating schemes and a growing level of competition internationally among the formerly national focused rating tools. It seems to me that a competition to see who can award the most stars might be counterproductive in achieving the end goal of mitigating the effects of climate change. Indeed, a recent consultation paper in Australia sought public opinion as to whether 5, 6 or 7 was the right number of stars to rate a building’s energy consumption! Surely the label is immaterial, it is the efficient building outcome that needs to be achieved. While there is a healthy competition among the rating agencies, it is also pleasing to see that there is a move to try and standardise some of the metrics used to evaluate buildings. The World Green Building Council recently announced that it has formed a partnership with the Sustainable Building Alliance and the UNEP Sustainable Building Construction Initiative to develop common metrics for assessing buildings. The first published output is a Common Carbon Metric for measuring energy use and reporting greenhouse gas emissions from building operations. This framework is the first of what is planned to be a series of common global metrics for buildings that will, in future, permit benchmarking on a global scale. There are growing opportunities for professionals, academics and industry groups to work together in establishing these global metrics to deliver truly sustainable outcomes that will have a lasting impact in reducing the energy use of buildings and increasing the efficiency and productive healthy work environments and I look forward to being able to report on these research initiatives in Property Management for many years to come.
In this issue, there is a review of two recent sustainability texts from the rapidly growing literature in this area. While these books do not specifically address the built environment, they do provide interesting reading and insight into the growing sustainability agenda. This issue also contains a paper by John McDonagh with looks at the energy trends in New Zealand over almost two decades. The paper also highlights the difficulties researchers face in trying to establish the important time series measures of building energy consumption.
Yet again, this issue of Property Management has a truly global focus with papers from Asia, Europe and the Middle East in addition to the paper from New Zealand. The first paper by Peter Palm looks at the relationship between property companies and their customers and provides a fascinating insight into the property management industry in Sweden. The second paper is by Nelson Chan and Fong-yao Chen and represents a collaborative research paper between Taiwan and Australia comparing the imposition of various government taxes on the property sector. The paper provides some interesting perspectives on the differing approaches to taxing development and the impact that such charges have on housing affordability in the two regions.
The paper by John McDonagh is the evaluation of energy use in New Zealand commercial property between 1990 and 2008. This paper is a starting point for a much deeper and more detailed evaluation of commercial building energy measurement and serves to highlight the difficulties building managers face in obtaining reliable benchmarking data to compare their buildings with others in the market.
Paper four in this issue addresses the economic provision of social housing within Europe with a focus on The Netherlands. The authors, Arne van Overmeeren and Vincent Gruis discuss the impact of large social housing providers with an evaluation of the effect of a neighbourhood approach to development rather than an individualistic approach. This research, while based on Europe, will have implications for many regions of the world where governments and private providers struggle to provide affordable housing solutions.
The final paper by Sadi Assaf et al. is an interesting evaluation of outsourcing versus in-house provision of maintenance services within the university sector of Saudi Arabia. The paper provides a perspective on contracting services from this region and permits some comparison with other world regions and sectors of the market.
I hope that the collection of papers in this edition provides both an academic analysis of property and market transactions on an international scale and provides you with some useful insight into property management in differing regions of the world. Please remember your feedback is always welcome.
Clive M.J. Warren