Many sustainability students will have come across the term “The Tragedy of the Commons”, a theory developed by British economist William Forster Lloyd in 1833. He said that for any common resource (which anyone can use but no-one has ownership or responsibility for) it’s inevitable that the resource will be depleted and destroyed because each person will act in their own self-interest rather than the good of the group.
Commercial property companies have their own version of the Tragedy of the Commons: who has the incentive to save energy used in a property’s common areas, or, common energy?
For those that don’t work in the sector let me briefly explain. Common energy is the energy used in a building for services such as lifts, ventilation, car park lighting. All tenants share the cost of common energy through a service charge, a pot of money that all tenants pay into and is administered by the landlord. They all benefit from those services, but ultimately aren’t responsible for managing them. For the landlord, this energy is paid for by the tenants so there is no direct or fiscal incentive for a landlord to reduce the common energy. Hence the parallels with William Forster Lloyd’s theory.
However, at Landsec we take our role as a responsible landlord seriously. Have a look at Landsec's Retail Sustainability Manager Tom Byrne's recent blog about the challenges of climate change to get a feel for how passionate we are about this subject. It’s why we were the first property company in the world to set a carbon reduction target in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Or why we are one of the pioneers for the Design for Performance initiative on our latest development at 21 Moorfields. Working closer than ever with the designers of our new building to make sure everyone understands how the building will operate in the real-world.
Collaborating with our service providers also helps us to manage the common energy in our properties. In the first few months I’ve worked with Landsec I've been really impressed with the close the partnership Landsec has developed with its service providers. We even refer to them as our Service Partners.
To help us save energy our main maintenance partner has gone as far as allocating a team dedicated to helping us save energy. They monitor our buildings, develop project proposals and empower their whole team to work with us in this area. After all, who is better placed to know where we can make savings than people who work in our buildings day in day out? The result is threefold: our buildings become more energy efficient, we save carbon emissions and our customers see a reduction in their service charge costs. A problem shared is a problem halved.
This is a great example of the collaborative relationship Landsec fosters with all of its service partners. It’s so strong that they are seen as colleagues. For more on our partnership approach have a look at the website dedicated to it AspireAsOne.
And for more information on all of our sustainability work check out our new video here.
This blog was originally published here.
Sustainability Manager, Landsec