2020 Summit: Commercial Real Estate Highlights and Findings

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jul 01, 2020

After the Better Buildings Summit kicked off on June 8, 2020, partners and affiliates in the commercial real estate (CRE) sector hosted a meet-up to discuss energy efficiency challenges, solutions, and opportunities. Here are some highlights:

  • The program congratulated Nuveen Real Estate on achieving its Better Buildings Challenge Goal, reaching 2.6% energy savings per year over 10 years across 30 million square feet.
  • The program also congratulated USAA Real Estate on achieving its Better Buildings Challenge Goal, reaching 2.1% energy savings per year over 10 years across 12 million square feet.
  • Better Buildings provided an update on the Waste Reduction Pilot, featuring six CRE pilot participants.
  • Partners DWS, ULI, and WashREIT shared updates on new programs, resources, and results:
    • DWS provided an update on resiliency projects and challenges, and previewed an upcoming implementation model on climate risk and resiliency.
    • ULI highlighted some new resources on embodied carbon in building materials, class B/C office energy efficiency, and a net zero tenant case study. Previews of a new blueprint for green real estate solution and a case study on health and social equity in real estate were also shared.
    • WashREIT discussed opportunities and challenges of taking a portfolio approach to energy projects. The partner also debriefed the results of 12 on-site energy assessments conducted 18 months prior.
  • A speaker the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) discussed building performance standards and how they are one of the driving forces behind benchmarking and reduction in energy use, especially in existing buildings.
  • Staff from National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) delved into the REopt platform to evaluate solar, wind, and battery storage potential at a property. She presented case studies showing the savings potential of combining solar and other renewable energy with battery storage.
  • Black Bear Energy provided insight into the state of solar markets and where CRE building owners and managers can make the biggest impact with solar installations.

CRE partners also shared their expertise in other Summit sessions. Bill Whitfield of Shorenstein Properties provided waste management learnings in “Early Best Practices from the Waste Reduction Pilot.” During “The Secrets of Better Buildings Goal Achievers” Megan Saunders of Lendlease shared personal experiences and insights into the tools that led to the organization’s success as a Goal Achiever. Lastly, Jonathan Bauer of The Tower Companies joined the closing plenary panel and provided insight into the crossover of health and wellness into energy efficiency.

Multiple commercial partners were also recognized as a Green Lease Leaders. This year’s Green Lease Leaders represent portfolios totaling more than 1 billion square feet and comprise a range of buildings from large and small commercial offices to industrial buildings to data centers.

The 2020 Progress Report was also published during the Summit, highlighting accomplishments from Better Buildings partners and allies. The CRE Sector Spotlight on page 25 features case studies from partners who are solving innovative energy efficiency challenges while utilizing the latest technologies and trends. Explore the 2020 Report and previous reports here.