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With the reduction of carbon emissions and the use of vital energy to meet climate change goals, a new report shows how the real estate industry lives up to the challenge.

The industry has made significant progress in both areas in the last 10 years according to the Greenprint Center, created as an alliance of the world’s leading real estate owners, investors and financial institutions.

The report shows that the intensity of energy use (annual energy consumption divided by the gross floor area) has improved by 17% during the decade, while the members of the center are aiming to reduce their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.

“For the past ten years, Greenprint has worked with the real estate investment community to help expand and improve best sustainability practices within the commercial real estate sector,” said Daniel M. Cashdan, president of HFF Securities (a JLL company) and president of The Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance, which houses the Greenprint Center. “As the race against the various impacts of climate change in our cities continues, the focus of global fiduciaries has sharpened. Greenprint, as part of our Sustainability and Economic Performance Center, exists to serve as a resource center for investors around the world.”

Statistics are based on a performance analysis of 8,916 properties of Greenprint members.

The report also highlights some of the trends that are driving real estate companies and financial institutions to focus on innovation and integrate sustainability into their core business.

Include:

  • A movement towards a circular economy: to fully address the environmental impact of buildings, real estate must move towards a circular economy where material waste is minimized. This includes incorporating a “reduce, reuse, recycle” mentality for building materials.
  • Intensification of climate legislation that establishes building performance standards: in the absence of federal guidance, more than 30 major cities, from San Francisco to Atlanta, have established energy comparative evaluation policies for buildings. Cities are also beginning to set minimum performance standards that become more stringent over time.
  • Increased investor pressure on ESG initiatives: investors are asking real estate owners and asset managers for more information on the environmental, social and government (ESG) programs of their real estate funds. Many investors now view ESG initiatives as materials for long-term investment returns and work with asset managers to balance ESG and financial returns.

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source: Canadian Real Estate Magazine