A report from the ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance found that several of ULI’s leaders in sustainability have continued to make significant progress in reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions, and water use in their buildings.
Volume 8 of the Greenprint Performance Report™ tracked, benchmarked, and analyzed the performance of nearly 8,700 properties owned by Greenprint’s members, who are the world’s leading commercial real estate owners and managers. The report found a 3.4-percent reduction in energy consumption, a 3.3-percent reduction in carbon emissions, and a 4.3-percent reduction in water use between 2015 and 2016, the period tracked during FY 2018. Since Greenprint started tracking building performance in 2009, the energy consumed by members’ properties has dropped 13.9 percent; carbon emissions have decreased 17.9 percent; and water use has dropped by 12.1 percent. The reductions occurred even as building occupancy rose, suggesting that greater space usage does not necessarily cause a decline in building performance.
“To adapt to evolving environmental and climate-related vulnerabilities, building owners and policy makers are thinking about ways to protect against the possibility of eroding asset value,” said Greenprint Center Chairman Emeritus Charles B. Leitner III, chief executive officer of the Berkshire Group in Boston. “Leaders in the real estate industry who have committed to mitigation and adaptation strategies are already benefiting from asset value preservation and creation.”
The report notes that several market drivers motivate property owners to improve environmental performance and create financial value through the implementation of best practices. These drivers include:
– Investor mandates: The focus on sustainable and responsible investing has grown significantly over the past several years, with investment in the United States surpassing $8.5 trillion in 2016.
– Tenant demand: Major tenants are embracing sustainability and other next-generation features as part of their leasing criteria.
– Regulation: Global adoption of energy efficiency regulations for commercial buildings is helping drive change, such as Energy Performance Certificates across the European Union; and mandatory benchmarking in 26 U.S. cities and states as well as Tokyo and Singapore.
– Goal setting: Many real estate owners have begun implementing multiproperty retrofits, technology upgrades, and operational improvements.