Our industry is always talking about developing and operating better buildings or making buildings better than they were 10 or even 20 years ago. But, what, exactly, does it mean for a building to be “better?” The traditional answer might include amenities that appeal to prospective tenants such as location, ample parking, high-speed elevators and the latest trends in technology. From a building owner or manager's perspective, “better” may include technologies that provide optimum operational performance, reduce expenses and increase the net income of the building. All are great examples of better buildings.

Every few years, market shifts redefine what it means to be best-in-class. Most recently, we responded by retrofitting buildings with more efficient lighting and operating systems. We incorporated sustainable, energy-efficient technologies and practices and started measuring ourselves accordingly through certifications such as Energy Star and LEED. We have realized shorter paybacks on capital expenditures through lowered energy and water consumption and reduced operating expenses. Next, we hang the plaques and certificates and congratulate ourselves for making our buildings better.

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