Informed Choice is the Smart Choice

Imagine you walk into a grocery store looking to buy something healthy. You search for the nutritional label on a box of crackers. But there’s no label. You can’t figure out how many calories or grams of fat or sugar there are in the crackers.  You are frustrated, you don’t know which options are healthier, but you have to eat.

The next day, you plan to buy a new car. Your current car isn’t running well and it’s time for a replacement. You go to your local car lot with a price range in mind. You can tell the make and model of the cars in your price range, but there are no stickers telling you what the miles per gallon (MPG) of the cars are, or what the average fuel costs are. The salesman isn’t of any help; he either cannot or will not tell you the fuel efficiency of the vehicles you are interested in. Instead, he talks to you about the bells and whistles the car has – GPS system, seat warmers, satellite radio, etc. Exasperated, you end up leaving the lot – but you know at some point you have to buy a car.

Sound unlikely? It is when you buy a car or purchase food items. But, it happens every day when you decide to lease a space for your business or rent a place to live. You can ask for energy data, but in most cities – including Kansas City – the owner or manager of the space isn’t required to provide it. You might be able to lease a space in the perfect location with the amenities you crave, get the hippest apartment in town, but you could get a bad surprise – high energy costs.

That might not be a concern to some folks – just like some people don’t care about fuel economy or healthy eating. But in those other situations, at least you KNOW that your car is inefficient or donuts are fattening. It is up to you whether that is important to you.

With buildings, you are making a purchase without all the pertinent data. And the absence of that knowledge might hit you where it hurts- your pocketbook.

That’s why requiring benchmarking and reporting of large spaces is important. It allows for consumers to make an informed decision. Location may in fact be the most important factor in real estate (or maybe even the first three factors), but what if you find two buildings in the same general location that you are interested in? If one was much more energy efficient, wouldn’t that factor in your decision? The more efficient building will mean you will have lower energy bills. That will help your business’ bottom line.

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