#Sustainability and #cre have a rocky relationship. How do you approach it in your portfolio?

Even today many organizations see the crowing achievement in sustainability as LEED certification.  LEED is certainly the big kid on the block and rightfully so.  USGBC has done amazing things to push design mentalities and local codes to ever better positions.  Even still it remains on the cutting edge of design and construction.  But LEED is only one piece of the puzzle.

A true measure of the portfolio is your carbon footprint per square foot or per employee.  That is such an aggressive measure as to be nearly useless.  Trying to measure an organizational carbon footprint is not only difficult but actually impossible.  How would you measure corporate travel or commute patterns?  Is it really possible to understand the utility usage for facilities that you lease and don’t see the actual utility invoices on?  Is all of your recycling actually being recycled the same way?

One of the big changes to the new LEED certification process this year is the idea of visibility.  By simply being open and showing the good, bad and ugly of your project you receive LEED point(s).  You could have asbestos laced ceiling tiles and get a point.  And this is a ground-breaking concept because visibility into actual behaviors is the biggest driver of improved behavior.

I would like to propose a new metric for CRE Sustainability:  Percent of portfolio with reported information.  Not detailed reported information necessarily, but some level of reported information.  This would include leased locations.

By applying pressure to create visibility good things will happen.  But then, this is the entire business model behind Honest Buildings.  Maybe I’m just catching up.

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