In the early phases of an organization’s sustainability strategy, green rating systems and certification are often seen as the final goal, when in reality they are a means to an end. Rating systems are useful to improving awareness and establishing a baseline for improvement. Over time, the more sophisticated and active participants come to see rating systems as one in a set of tools that can be used to deliver a sustainability outcome specifically aligned with broader organizational goals. Other tools include:
• Life Cycle Costing – Above all else, the provision of sustainable features in any asset should be whole life cycle cost to prove its worth, and the benefits should be tangible and measurable.
• Measurement of GHG Emissions – Energy efficiency typically comes before emission efficiency because organizations tend to focus on cost reduction; in addition, energy efficiency leads to emission reductions, but the reverse is not always true.
Assessment and baselining is an important first step in an organization’s real estate sustainability strategy, at the portfolio level as well as at the asset level. Integrating and standardizing strategies across an entire portfolio sets the stage for a successful transition to a sustainable future.