New research reveals office occupiers attracted by green credentials

Craig Watson

NEW research has revealed that the need for ‘flexible, energy-efficient’ office space is set to drive the market across Scotland’s central belt into 2023.

Data from commercial property specialist JLL found that, during Q3 of 2022, Edinburgh saw occupier activity remain ‘robust’ with 166,000 sq ft leased – a 16% rise compared to the same pre-pandemic period in 2019. The majority of activity came from the professional services sector.

In Glasgow, city centre take-up reached 98,427 sq ft, resulting in 306,500 sq ft for the year-to-date.

JLL said environmental concerns continue to be at the top of many wish lists, with six deals out of the top seven across both cities relocating to buildings with ‘market-leading’ green credentials.

The research also confirmed an increase of occupiers signing up to Science Based Targets (SBT) in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

Craig Watson, director at JLL in Edinburgh, said, “The largest deal in Edinburgh this quarter was at Capital Square in Edinburgh’s city centre which offers a host of energy-efficient and ecological features. From solar panels to roof top beehives soon to provide honey for occupiers, we’re seeing real demand from occupiers for properties like this that go well beyond bricks and mortar.

“We have a long road ahead but I’m confident that if we start implementing change now, we can work towards a greener future for Scotland’s real estate sector.”

Alex Mackay, senior surveyor at JLL in Glasgow, added, “Finding spaces that are environmentally sound will be at the forefront of occupiers’ minds for years to come, no matter the size of the business. Flexibility is also imperative, and whilst workers are back to the office in greater numbers, the quality of these spaces is dramatically evolving and we need to ensure we’re offering the most efficient options we can.

“We’re fast approaching the deadline for zero-emissions but we’ll continue to support our clients to identify improvements that will have the strongest impact and in turn, generate the most value.”