WASHINGTON, DC-The Environmental Protection Agency has teamed up with the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors to offer seminars to commercial real estate brokers based on its Energy Star program. The program, being unveiled at the society’s fall conference, will help brokers spot ways to increase energy efficiency in the properties they represent, helping them reduce costs for their clients.

Energy costs typically account for $2 per sf to $2.75 per sf out of the average operating cost of $6.50 per sf for the average commercial business district high-rise, according to Richard Stanland, president of the Washington-based society of real estate professionals and vice president of office and industrial leasing with Edens & Avant Realty Inc. of Columbia, SC. “If you can spot an opportunity in a building up for sale, you have created value for that prospective investor,” he says. “That’s the single focal point you would attack.”

The issue is timely, as recent hikes in energy costs and rising use of power by data centers have raised the profile of energy costs, threatening to make it again a significant financial issue for property owners and tenants.

EPA approached the society because it wanted to extend the longstanding program beyond fully integrated real estate companies and reach brokers at smaller companies. “We see brokers as true ‘agents for change’ within the commercial real estate community,” says Jean Lupinacci, EPA’s ENERGY STAR Buildings® director, in a statement.

The society, with 2,700 members and 1,900 brokers that have earned the SIOR designation, provide that reach, Stanland says.

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