Sustainability and Innovation in San Antonio’s Industrial Real Estate

  • November 16, 2023

Photo by Kaleb Tapp on Unsplash

The San Antonio industrial real estate industry is evolving now more than ever towards innovative sustainability. For this reason, it is providing new opportunities for investors to capitalize on greener market trends and make a greater environmental impact. 

Consumer demands are increasing for businesses to meet climate pledges for existing properties and improve greener building designs for new construction and renovations. 

From government-administered green building certifications to smart technology integration for energy efficiency, here is how the industrial real estate landscape in San Antonio is adapting— and why your investment strategy should, too.  

How Sustainability is Shaping San Antonio Industrial Real Estate

Whether it is new construction for manufacturing facilities or current industrial plants, San Antonio industrial real estate is showing new investment opportunities through its recent sustainability developments. 

The City of San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability offers financial incentives or rebates for facilities that reduce their utility expenditures. San Antonio is one of the few cities in the U.S. to utilize this sustainability model, which positively impacts its industrial real estate through a revolving funds strategy. 

Sustainability developments in San Antonio that are shaping the industrial real estate market include exterior/interior lighting retrofits, PC energy management, and HVAC control upgrades.

The City of San Antonio’s greener building initiatives benefit industrial real estate investors by:

  • Lowering operational costs by 54%
  • Providing opportunities to invest utility rebates into future energy savings technologies
  • Decreasing overall property energy usage
  • Reducing carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Increasing property asset value through new sustainable technology and meeting consumer demands

In addition to the city’s current developments, here is how other organizations and eco-friendly technology are impacting San Antonio industrial real estate

Green Building Certifications: LEED and ENERGY STAR

San Antonio’s industrial real estate sector is increasingly adopting green building certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and ENERGY STAR. These certifications emphasize energy efficiency, reduced environmental impact, and sustainable building practices. 

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

LEED is a third-party framework for certifying green building construction and design. They are a globally recognized symbol of sustainability and a widely used certification system to reduce contributions to climate change for existing buildings and new construction

It analyzes a building’s environmental impact and performance by ESG (environmental, social governance), decarbonization, and equity goals.  

Factors that impact LEED certifications include:

  • Sustainable material sourcing methods
  • Energy-efficient usage and management
  • Water conservation efforts
  • Use of reusable materials during new construction and renovation

LEED provides rating systems to encourage businesses and investors to achieve sustainability goals in their San Antonio industrial real estate. In return, LEED-certified buildings are proven to be top-performing real estate investments. 

According to LEED, certified real estate lowers operational costs, increases assets, and achieves higher rent premiums by 11.1% since they have a higher resale value compared to non-LEED-certified buildings. 

LEED-certified buildings lower operational costs, increase asset value, and achieve higher rent premiums by 11.1% compared to non-LEED-certified buildings. 


ENERGY STAR is an organization administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver energy-efficiency solutions for consumer products and real estate. Together, they aim to transform how people and businesses use and save energy to improve sustainability. 

When it comes to San Antonio industrial real estate with ENERGY STAR certifications, their industry focuses include aluminum casting, iron/steel manufacturing, and motor vehicle manufacturing. They work with industrial plants and manufacturing sectors to improve their facility’s energy usage, management, and efficiency. 

ENERGY STAR measures and tracks industrial energy performance through an industry-specific Energy Performance Indicator (EPI) on a scale of 1 to 100.  EPIs analyze annual energy use, energy-related CO2 equivalent emission reduction from improving energy efficiency, and total source energy savings. Industrial plants with an ENERGY STAR certification must receive a minimum of 75 or higher to qualify. 

ENERGY STAR buildings offer the following financial benefits for industrial real estate investors:

  • 1% to 31% increase in sale prices
  • 3% to 16% higher in rental premiums 
  • Up to 10% higher occupancy levels

These statistics are especially significant for manufacturing sectors as production facilities and industrial plants use high-power energy systems. However, similar to LEED, ENERGY STAR-certified buildings also have higher asset value, cost savings, and favorable financing.

Solar Power Integration 

Did you know that industrial sectors consume more than 79% more energy than any other commercial industry in the past 10 years? A primary contributor is power supply usage, resulting in significant electricity consumption. 

For this reason, industrial facilities in San Antonio are incorporating solar power solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and lower energy costs. Solar panels and renewable energy sources are now more common in industrial properties since they are becoming more affordable, contributing to attainable sustainability goals in various sectors.

San Antonio industrial real estate investors who integrate solar power technology into their properties may qualify for federal solar tax credits. They are government-backed tax programs to reward and encourage people and businesses to invest in sustainable solutions. 

Solar power systems that are tax-expensed for industrial real estate include:

  • Solar PV roofing panels
  • Concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) energy generation technologies 
  • Surge arrestors
  • Solar water space heaters

Large industrial facilities in San Antonio are ideal for solar panel installations because of Texas state incentives that reduce upfront costs. Depending on the system used and your site structure, the cost savings in return can be profitable. 

This is especially profitable for industrial properties utilizing LEED or ENERGY STAR-certified products, which are proven to benefit buildings with higher renewal rates, improved net cash flow, increased net operating income, and lower absorption time in the real estate market.

Efficient Water Management 

Sustainable projects for industrial real estate in San Antonio prioritize efficient water management systems, including rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling. 

The San Antonio River Authority is an example of how the city is reducing stormwater runoff pollution and is funded by the U.S. EPA. These practices help conserve water resources in a region prone to periodic droughts.

The City of San Antonio is also investing significant funds into local real estate for water conservation. Their Office of Sustainability invested $162 billion in residential and commercial properties by the San Antonio Water System between 1992 and 2018. As a result, San Antonio benefitted from $762 million in avoided costs associated with water and wastewater demand. 

Other industrial real estate design and construction methods for water conservation include:

  • Low-flush toilets, waterless urinals, and low-flow plumbing fixtures
  • Landscaping elements for onsite water retention, like grass berms and bioswale drainage systems
  • French drains for reducing water discharge into sewer systems
  • Upgraded water conservation fixtures, such as low-volume spray hoses and motion-activated sink faucets

In addition to water conservation systems, establishing a water savings plan is essential to optimize water usage for industrial sites. Investors must create conservation benchmarks to continuously measure and track their property’s water usage for improved sustainability.

In the green era of San Antonio industrial real estate, inventors can find that building and maintaining sustainable properties is not only financially justifiable but profitable. 

Adaptive Reuse of Buildings 

Innovative adaptive reuse projects are converting older industrial buildings into modern, eco-friendly spaces. This practice reduces urban sprawl and repurposes existing structures for new, sustainable uses.

According to the CCIM Institute, the adaptive reuse of industrial properties includes the following sustainable features:

  • Recycling building materials and carpet
  • Maximizing daylighting with strategic window placement and skylights
  • Upgrading current mechanical systems to be more energy-efficient
  • Implementing clerestory glass in warehouse areas
  • Power-saving warehouse lighting with automatic shutdown once ambient lighting is achieved

Repurposing the initial design of industrial sites instead of demolishing them for new construction not only saves on time, demolition, and development costs, but provides a considerable value opportunity for San Antonio investment properties

Additionally, the U.S. National Park Service offers federal and state tax breaks for the adaptive reuse of industrial buildings. If the original site is considered historic, the Federal Historic Tax incentive program offers up to 20% in federal tax credit for rehabilitating historic properties. 

An example of successful historic reuse in San Antonio is the Pearl Brewery development, which repurposed this 21-acre industrial site into a vibrant mixed-use development. Beer storage tanks and old garage doors were repurposed into large, metal-framed windows for residential spaces, a boutique hotel, restaurants, an amphitheater, and more. 

Industrial real estate investors should consider adaptive reuse not only for its economic and sustainable advantages, but it also for its contributions to reviving San Antonio’s local history and culture. 

Smart Technology Integration

Industrial properties in San Antonio are embracing smart technology solutions to optimize energy consumption, monitor environmental conditions, and enhance overall sustainability performance.

Sustainable automation in industrial sites includes:

  • IoT (Internet of Things) energy meters and sensors for energy consumption insights to optimize energy usage  
  • Smart thermostat scheduling features to power off heating or cooling in factory areas when unoccupied
  • Occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lighting systems if no movement is detected

Smart technology integration showcases how sustainability and innovation are transforming San Antonio’s industrial real estate sector by aligning it with modern environmental and efficiency standards.

Whether you are considering leasing warehouse space in San Antonio or investing in manufacturing plants to support your business operations, industrial building automation can provide significant returns. 

Maximize Your Returns with Sustainable Industrial Real Estate in San Antonio

The demand for sustainable, next-generation solutions in San Antonio is rising with no signs of slowing down in its industrial real estate market. By investing in green technologies and systems now, investors can position themselves in a better place for the future. From increasing asset value to reducing operational costs, now more than ever is a profitable time for you to capitalize on eco-friendly industrial sites and designs in San Antonio.

At CIP Texas, we are a full-service real estate and brokerage firm with over 20 years of tenure in commercial and industrial real estate in Texas. From warehouse offices and build-to-suits to new plant developments, we can help you increase cash flow for diverse industrial properties.

Are you ready to embrace greener practices for San Antonio industrial real estate

Maximize your investment sales or contact us for questions on how you can better invest sustainability into your industrial properties today.  



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