“33% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the built environment.” That’s just one of the statements that regularly headlines the home page of the Greenprint Foundation. Underneath is a description of the Foundation as “a catalyst for change, taking meaningful, immediate and measurable actions to generate solutions that improve the environment through energy efficiency while demonstrating the correlation with increased property values.” It speaks of an organization that is extremely value driven—with a practical understanding of how to accomplish its mission. That’s no surprise considering Greenprint is a worldwide alliance of real estate owners, investors, financial institutions and others committed to reducing carbon emissions across the global property industry—an audience that plays a critical role in driving deep energy savings in both new and existing buildings.
In January, Greenprint announced they’re joining forces with the Urban Land Institute (ULI). ULI’s 30,000+ members worldwide include property owners, investors, advisers, developers, architects, lawyers, lenders, planners, regulators, contractors, engineers, university professors, librarians, students and interns—all with a common interest in responsible land use and creating and sustaining thriving communities. As the new ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance, these two industry-leading organizations will work to fast-track the measurement of energy and carbon emission performance of existing buildings, cutting emissions in half by the year 2030. Not only will the Center* continue the Foundation’s work on the Greenprint Performance Report (which has been called “one of the real estate industry’s largest, most verifiable, transparent and comprehensive energy benchmarking tools”), it will facilitate dialogue among those with significant influence on the built environment and the markets that impact it.
NBI is enthusiastic about this merging of two great entities. Formation of the Center demonstrates a growing commitment on the part of the real estate industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a meaningful and measurable way, with an emphasis on transparency and communication. And that’s the exciting difference. Many current efforts exist to reduce greenhouse gas emitting-energy consumption in the built environment. But without prompt, useful, consistent feedback on how buildings are performing, these well-intentioned endeavors will fall short of their goals. Designers, owners, managers and tenants—they all significantly affect the energy consumption of buildings, and they all need reliable feedback on performance, whether or not their investment is financial or personal.
Resources for this level of information-sharing are on the rise—but audiences have been segmented. Buildingrating.org (a joint project of the Institute for Market Transformation and Natural Resources Defense Council) is a policy-focused library of building energy performance rating and disclosure resources and now Honest Buildings (the recently launched, Yelp-like “social media hub for the built environment”) provides a forum for real-time perspectives on performance and occupant experience—for designers, owners, tenants and real estate professionals alike. They’re working to drive transparency and increased awareness about energy consumption and performance, not only within the industry, but ultimately for anyone who occupies buildings. And that’s one huge audience.Read more about performance feedback, benchmarking and disclosure here.*To be incorporated into ULI’s broader Climate, Land Use and Energy (CLUE) initiative