Region: The Americas
CRE industry on course for 2030 target of 50% cut in carbon emissions
WASHINGTON, D.C., 8 October 2020: Members of the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Greenprint Center for Building Performance have continued to make significant progress in reducing carbon emissions while increasing asset value, according to its most recent annual report. The Greenprint Center comprises an alliance of the world’s leading real estate owners, investors and financial institutions, committed to improving environmental performance across the global market, ULI said through a Press release.
Volume 11 of the Greenprint Performance Report, which measures and tracks the performance of 10,190 properties owned by Greenprint members finds that over the past year, carbon emissions have dropped by over three per cent, energy consumption by almost three per cent and water consumption by over three per cent, ULI claimed. In 2019, Greenprint members invested over US 50.1 million on sustainability projects spanning from tenant engagement to building envelope upgrades and recommissioning, totaling more than 6,000 individual projects, ULI said.
An economic analysis of Greenprint’s triple-bottom-line impact amounts to value of over USD 687 million (€579 million) since its inception in 2009, ULI said. This includes financial savings from energy and water use reductions, as well as the environmental value of carbon emissions reductions and the social value of air pollution and water, ULI said. In total, this represents a reduction of 1.43 million tons of CO2 emissions from Greenprint members’ properties, ULI said.
“Greenprint represents an essential element in the toolkit for institutional investors to measure progress in reducing the environmental impact of the properties they own,” said Mary Ludgin, Incoming Chair, ULI’s Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance, and Senior Managing Director (Global Investment Research), Heitman. “While COVID-19 has often knocked climate change and climate risk out of the headlines in recent months, Greenprint members have continued to identify best practices that can help us achieve the goal of a net-zero future.”
According to ULI, the report reflects the results of thousands of projects and best practices Greenprint members have undertaken to lead the industry in reducing their environmental impact. Examples include:
- Carbon emissions reductions: EPIC, a Hudson Pacific Properties 13-story Class A Office complex, installed 310 solar panels on both the east and west sides of the building. The panels alone provide 1.5% of the building’s power. Inside the building, Hudson Pacific included lighting controls and energy-efficient plumbing fixtures to ensure the building reduced carbon emissions by lowering energy demand. Through these features, Hudson Pacific estimates an additional 15% energy savings on top of California’s already stringent Title 24 energy codes for new construction.
- Energy efficiency: As part of a strategy to better manage costs and upgrades, AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) pays for heating costs in its Finnish multi-family properties, which minimizes the traditional landlord/resident split incentive. The firm installed temperature sensors and a data and energy tracking system throughout a number of units in each property as a proof of concept and pilot project. The system inputs data on the local weather forecast, real-time energy prices, and apartment heating use based on sensors in each unit to provide holistic management of the heating system. The total heating project has an estimated 10-year internal rate of return of 15.1%. The project not only produces significant energy and financial savings, but it also allows tenants a higher level of thermal comfort.
- Water conservation: Based in Singapore, City Development Limited (CDL) has a strong focus on sustainability, with water conservation being a top priority. As covered in ULI’s report Scorched: Extreme Heat and Real Estate, boosting asset water conservation will be essential to mitigate disruptions that are occurring due to climate change. CDL analyzes and reviews its portfolio annually and installs water-efficient features and fittings, such as flow regulators and self-closing taps, widely across assets. In addition, the company performs annual impact analysis on utility bills to better understand the implications of higher water tariffs. These efforts combine to help the company progress toward its goal of reducing water use intensity by 50% from 2007 levels for office and industrial buildings and nine per cent from base-year levels for retail buildings by 2030.
This year, Greenprint reported a record portfolio size, with the total number of properties increased by 12% over the past year, ULI said. The portfolio now includes 2.37 billion square feet (302 million square meters) of office, multi-family, industrial, retail and hotel properties. The 10,000-plus buildings in the portfolio are located across 32 countries, and Greenprint members hold over USD 1.18 trillion (€1.0 trillion) in assets under management (AUM), which is almost 5 per cent of the value of high-quality commercial properties globally, ULI said.
“Now more than ever, sustainability is a clear value driver in real estate, and the Greenprint Performance Report is continuing to make the business case to the industry for advancing green buildings,” said W Edward Walter, CEO, ULI. “As the report notes, ESG has come front and center as a cause that our Greenprint members are championing. They continue to lead the way to inspire a broader movement within the real estate sector to improve building performance while bolstering the bottom line.”
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