The Greenprint Performance Report, released during ULI’s Fall Meeting by the ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance, showed a 4.4 percent reduction in year-over-year energy consumption in a portfolio of properties from 46 countries. This represents a step toward the goal of reducing carbon emissions for the Greenprint portfolio by 50 percent by 2030.
From 2010 to 2011, the amount of energy used at the 1,628 properties covered in the report fell to 6.572 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2011 from 6.873 million kWh a year earlier. This is equivalent to 1.06 million barrels of oil per year.
According to the report, for the Greenprint property portfolio between 2010 and 2011:
Greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 8.1 percent for office properties, 25.1 percent for multifamily properties, and 18.9 percent for hotel properties. Carbon emissions rose 11.2 percent for industrial properties and 0.3 percent for retail.
Emissions dropped by 9.1 percent for properties in the Americas and by 2.4 percent for properties in Europe. Emissions rose by 9.8 percent for properties in Asia Pacific.
Water use was reduced by 3.1 percent.
While the report’s results are specific to the property information submitted by Greenprint members, the sample is a promising sign that "the industry is moving toward more environmentally conscious building operations," said ULI Greenprint Center Chairman Charles B. Leitner III. "These findings reinforce the potential of Greenprint to catalyze industry practices that have a positive impact on the environment and which enhance the value of investments to improve building performance."
During a panel discussion in Denver, Leitner explained that the first step in Greenprint’s benchmarking is just to get accurate data for the properties. "We’ve learned that by measuring, we create a management attitude" toward things like energy consumption and carbon emissions. Some of the best practices included having employees turn off computers and other equipment overnight, adding motion detectors and timers to lights so they are off when not in use, and making adjustments to the temperature and operating time of air-conditioning equipment.
The Greenprint Performance Report is unique in that it provides an open standard for measuring, benchmarking, and tracking energy use and resulting emissions at an industry, asset-class, portfolio, or property level. The global scope and size of the report make it the industry’s largest, most verifiable, transparent, and comprehensive benchmark of carbon emissions and energy and water use. Currently, the database includes 2,703 properties of all major types—office (accounting for the largest percentage), multifamily, retail, industrial, and hotel.
As participation grows, the hope is that more trends and best practices will emerge, and peer benchmarking will encourage competition in the marketplace.