News Article
December 29, 2012

Global Real Estate: Sustainability Takes Center Stage

Each year the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) evaluates the sustainability practices in the global real estate sector.  GRESB is an industry-led organization committed to rigorous, independent evaluation of real estate portfolios’ sustainability performance. The 2012 GRESB survey was completed by nearly 450 property companies and funds, providing aggregate information for 36,000 properties, representing US $1.32 trillion in assets under management.  Some findings were of interest to compare to the Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey.  EEI surveys 3500 decision makers responsible for energy use in buildings in 37 countries globally.  Findings of the recently released GRESB survey are compared with EEI findings below.


The 2012 GRESB survey finds sustainability gaining prominence on real estate investors’ and managers’ agendas. In comparison to 2011, the survey found:

  • 60 percent of respondents collected and reported energy consumption data, up from 34 percent in 2011. This corresponds to the 2012 results of the 2012 Energy Efficiency Indicator survey where 57 percent of respondents reported they are tracking and analyzing energy usage. 

  • GHG emissions of 171 property companies and funds in the GRESB survey decreased by 6 percent.

  • 51 percent of respondents included green building certificates in their portfolios. Again, this figure is consistent with the EEI study indicating widespread adoption of a green building standards and certification. 


Eighty one percent of the 2012 GRESB survey respondents had policies in place for energy consumption/management. Results from the 2012 EEI survey showed that 85 percent of respondents had implemented one or more energy management practice, such as tracking and analyzing energy data, measuring and verifying energy project savings, or performing an energy audit.


Thirty-two percent of the 2012 GRESB survey respondents had developed performance targets focused mainly on energy consumption reduction. The EEI Survey results for real estate sector participants noted that goal setting was occurring with two distinct audiences – 26 percent of the real estate respondents indicated their organizations had a publically stated energy reduction goal, and 33 percent of them said they had established internal, non-public goals.


The GRESB survey also found room for substantial improvement: 52 percent of respondents had data for less than 10 percent of their portfolios, and fewer than 8 percent measured tenant-obtained energy.


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December 2012


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