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Leading Commercial Real Estate Owners Reduce Energy Consumption

Urban Land Institute Greenprint Center for Building Performance commercial real estate owners
Credit: Étienne Beauregard-Riverin

A new report from the Urban Land Institute’s Greenprint Center for Building Performance published this week shows that leading commercial real estate owners have demonstrated significant energy reductions since 2009.

The report tracked and analyzed 8,684 properties owned or managed by Greenprint members located across 28 countries. These properties account for over 1.9 billion square feet of building area, according to the member-driven nonprofit organization, which focuses on improving environmental performance in the global real estate industry.

“The value of real estate assets under management by Greenprint members exceeds $1 trillion, which is more than 5% of the value of high-quality commercial properties globally,” according to the organization.

Since 2009, energy consumed by members’ properties dropped by 13.9%, the organization reported. In addition, between 2015 and 2016, members demonstrated a 3.4% reduction in energy consumption.

Commercial real estate owners also made gains in cutting water usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Market drivers such as tenant demand, investor mandates, regulation, and portfolio-wide goal setting are motivating owners to improve their environmental performance.

The report highlights industry trends related to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. They include:

  • Reimagining the energy grid. There is an increasing use of microgrids, discrete energy systems with a network of electricity users with a local source of supply that can be attached to a centralized power grid or operated independently.
  • Investing in resilience. Local governments and investors are increasingly seeking ways to reduce the likelihood of damage to property and infrastructure from major weather-related events and natural disasters. Resilience as applied to the built environment is becoming an integral part of risk management.
  • Legislating efficiency. As governments continue to recognize the impending risks of climate change, they are taking action by raising or setting new targets for building performance through energy efficiency legislation and strengthening building energy codes.

“Forward-thinking owners are optimizing their use of distributed generation, operationalizing resilience, and participating in defining legislation to drive building efficiency and improvements,” the report says.

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