Setpoint Blog

Why Brownfield Buildings are a Smart Investment in 2021

5 Feb. 2021
Why Brownfield Buildings are a Smart Investment in 2021

Real estate investments are ever growing, posing the everlasting dilemma: Should one invest in Greenfields versus looking at revamping Brownfield Buildings. 

This indeed is a major decision, and it should not be taken lightly. 

Which is better, building a facility on a greenfield site, which is typically cleaner than a brownfield site but often further from town? Or, choosing a brownfield site within city limits, which is potentially more convenient, but may come with possible costly issues, like old infrastructure and a tremendous carbon footprint? 

It’s important to make sure all potential opportunities are carefully considered. 


But if you ask us, we think it’s time to seriously consider looking into commercial brownfield buildings.


The EPA defines a brownfield as a property in need of redevelopment which may be complicated by the potential presence of a contaminant. Brownfields are considered to be the least desirable sites in high-demand real estate areas, due to the high costs of clean-up and infrastructure renewal. However, these sites are such valuable business opportunities that the EPA has developed an entire program for the reuse and redevelopment of brownfield lots. 


There are many pros to investing in commercial brownfield buildings that aren’t talked about at first hand.


Revamping, restoring and repairing old commercial buildings may have a high bottom line, but brownfields are often ageing properties on high traffic plots of land, making them great investments for the long run . Government subsidies are willing to hedge the risk of purchasing the property,  with the valuation of an undeveloped brownfield significantly lower than the cost of constructing a greenfield building..


Digitizing brownfields is also easier as brownfields often have the vital building infrastructure already set in place. These tools give you the flexibility to implement much more disruptive automation systems to make your building more efficient. IoT sensors allow you to monitor activity in every room and adjust the operations in that building accordingly. To reduce energy consumption, an AI-driven HVAC management system can be implemented, allowing full automation of the building’s HVAC system. 


Finally, digitizing brownfields improves the environmental impact of the existing lot and the developing company. Redeveloping a Brownfield improves the environment and creates a safer, healthier space on the lot and prevents ‘urban sprawl’ by reducing the need for development into otherwise untouched areas. This environmental impact is much more valuable than you’d expect too. In 2019, financial institutions raised $185 billion for green investing expenditures. The most valuable investments this year are sustainable investments.


Brownfields are not the lots that catch your eye, but they have all the tools to be a great commercial building. 


Talk to our indoor climate expert about how we can help you make your brownfield a better, safer environment today.