commercial real estate

Commercial Real Estate And COVID-19

Commercial real estate is hurting, and you can look at Keen to see how much of a problem it is. Even our office is quiet. While a few of us might stop by throughout the day to take care of some housekeeping, retrieve notes or tools, or maybe just to water the plants, Keen HQ is now scattered across the state and the country working to save the planet.

That quiet, echoing empty space isn’t unique. Office buildings all over the world as sitting empty, and for commercial real estate agents, the phone line has been equally dormant. Companies of all sizes have chosen to invest in remote work during the pandemic, and more of those companies are looking to move to remote work long term. Companies like Twitter, Google, and Microsoft have offered and even incentivized their workforces to stay home and work wherever they can, even if that happens to be on the other side of the country. Commercial real estate is in a free fall as a result.

So, how can real estate brokers bring workers back? Give them peace of mind.

To revive the market, the spaces that bring people together need to be safe enough to bring people together. That doesn’t just mean dividing up the trendy open workspace concept that workers have quietly hated for over a decade. It’s going to mean investing in creating distinct rooms, barriers, and reshaping the look and feel of office buildings to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, but also other diseases that put a dent into productivity even in a normal flu season.

But the reality is that the real answer is much smaller. So small, in fact, that the answer to fighting the virus is to directly address the virus, not just how it’s getting around. It may have taken months, but commercial realtors are finally getting the idea. In Dallas, for example, landlords are scrambling to implement the best HVAC filters and ventilation systems, plus integrating needlepoint bipolar ionization to kill over 99% of airborne viruses. Health and safety has become a sales pitch for real estate agents in addition to being a sign of concern and respect companies have for their workers.

At some point, federal and state governments will have to introduce more loans to support businesses across the country. One vital part of that relief legislation should include grants for facilities and property owners to improve the health of employees so that we can get back to work. Vaccines might be coming, but for tens of thousands of businesses, those vaccines will be too late.

We’re here to help. If you’re looking to bring back tenants to your building or workers to your office space, let’s talk.

air pollution

Air Pollution Reduces Solar Energy Efficiency. COVID-19 Gives Us A Chance To Find Out How Much.

While they’d never have wished for it, the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns have given climate scientists an opportunity to study pollution like never before. When it comes to solar energy, the findings could be critical. 

Around the world, countries responded to the rising threat of the coronavirus with economic and social shutdowns like never before. Entire economies didn’t just wind down, they slammed into a wall. That economic stop has left tens of millions of Americans out of work and drastic stimulus plans rushing through governments in every corner of the globe. Almost no business is unaffected, and industries like manufacturing, transportation, and others have been some of the worst hit. 

There is a silver lining, at least. The stoppage has allowed for an unprecedented drop in air pollution. In urban centers, the lack of traffic and other causes of smog have all but stopped, and the result has been staggering. Even in some of the most polluted cities on earth, locals have noticed better breathing quality and better visibility. For researchers, however, it’s offered the chance to do a lot more than just take a deep breath. 

For example, solar energy scientists jumped at the chance to study just how much solar panels are impacted by air pollution. One study focused on the air quality of Delhi, India, one of the most polluted cities in one of the most polluted industrial countries. The drastic lockdown measures taken by the Indian government offered a clean, easy-to-identify timeline for air pollution levels, giving scientists a way to get a closer look at how they affect efficiency. 

The study found that 950 Watts/square meter of sunlight reached panels in late March, up from an average of 880 W/sm over that same time period in 2017, 2018, and 2019. That’s an 8% increase, which is nothing if not substantial. In fact, an 8% increase is comparable to the difference in sunlight, on average, between Houston, Texas, and Toronto in Canada. 

It highlights how much impact pollution plays in the future of solar energy. By reducing the energy production of solar panels, that power needs to be produced by other means. Often, that means relying on fossil fuels that contribute even more pollution to the air, reducing solar production even more. It’s a vicious cycle, but there’s hope in the recent findings that air pollution can clear quickly, but only if producers stop creating such incredible amounts of smog. 

Of course, there’s more good to be gained from reducing air pollution beyond better solar power. Air pollution affects the health of tens of millions of people around the world, even contributing to less successful outcomes for coronavirus patients. The world spends billions of dollars a year treating people with respiratory illnesses and cancers connected to air pollution. 

The lesson is clear. All it will take to improve many of our environmental challenges is commitment. We simply can’t wait for a health emergency and a stunted economy to drive the change. Learn more about how Keen Technical Solutions can help your company be a part of that change, from solar energy to energy storage and beyond.

Innovation Beats Hard Times: Share Your Stories

energy Keen coronovirus

At KEEN, it’s all about energy. That means so much more than kilowatt-hours. We believe that innovation simply can’t be born without challenge and without need. If necessity is the mother of all inventions, then adversity is the father. 

That’s why we’re going to spend the next couple of weeks highlighting just a few companies we’ve worked with that have stepped up in times of crisis. They’re offering their customers new services, new products, and new solutions just when the world needs the creativity, the inspiration, and the bravery that it takes to make big changes. 

From our brewery and distillery friends make an on-the-spot switch to hand sanitizer and disinfectants to restaurants developing completely new online, curbside, and delivery systems to keep their operations moving, there are countless stories of businesses thinking ahead. We know that if you’re not adapting, you’re already falling behind. Under the heightened pressure of this health crisis, that has implications that go well beyond business and impacts people’s lives. 

If you’re a business that’s taken steps to ensure the safety of your team and your clients, we want to hear from you. If you’ve made the move from one industry to another, or if you’ve made efforts to support the medical professionals battling on the frontlines to save lives in our area clinics and hospitals, we want to hear from you. 

What we need now are the success stories. The world needs the hope that life, health, and business will return to normal, and that leaders in every industry are working to offer that hope through fresh thinking and bold innovation. Send us your COVID-19 stories to csovis@keen-minds.com and we’ll let the world know what you’re doing and let them know how they can help. And thank you for bringing the right energy to a world that needs positivity and inspiration.

Learn more about our efforts over the phone.