QuadReal is proud to have achieved the top ranking for a diversified portfolio in Canada in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) results in 2019. The company’s portfolio was 2nd in North America in this category and in the top 5 globally. This accomplishment demonstrates our commitment to environmental, social and governance practices. To learn more about the GRESB results, please see our news release.
Energy disclosure is important because it allows us to track our performance and identify opportunities for improvement. This page includes the performance metrics of all our Canadian buildings and four case studies that illustrate how we use analytics to keep learning and pushing further.
We believe in a transparent marketplace. You will find our energy, water and carbon emissions data (shown as GHG intensity) for office and residential properties on the map below (also available on the leasing pages). This is a way of tracking a building’s carbon emissions over time. We encourage the industry to share benchmarked data and make a commitment to transparency, sustainability leadership and combating climate change.
This is our 5-step guide to energy disclosure.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
In Canada, buildings consume 22% of total energy and generate 17% of the country’s emissions.
This is a way of tracking a building’s energy use and carbon emissions over time, comparing performance relative to similar buildings.
INFORMATION = POWER!
Tracking energy use helps building owners improve efficiency and reduce emissions.
WE ARE CLEAR ABOUT DATA
QuadReal has taken the step to be transparent about benchmarked data for our office and residential portfolio in Canada.
QuadReal encourages the industry to share benchmarked data and make a commitment to transparency, sustainability leadership and combating climate change.
We participate in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB). This is an international assessment that allows us to compare and continuously improve our performance relative to our past performance and to our peers. Over 95% of our Canadian portfolio has a green certification and our property teams set annual energy reduction targets. This process has helped us stay on track to achieve our 2020 goal of reducing absolute carbon emissions by 50% compared to the 2007 baseline year.
Explore the interactive map to learn more about our buildings and their performance.
OUR PROGRESS IS A PATH OF CONTINUOUS LEARNING
We believe it is important for us to provide a complete and transparent picture of QuadReal’s performance. Tools like our Environmental Management System (EMS) are utilized to guide portfolio-wide operational improvements. The design, management and maintenance of the EMS undergo continual improvement to ensure we reach our goals. We are certified in accordance with ISO 14001. View our 2019-2022 certificate here.
Please see our 2018 performance update which uses all the real estate management metrics of Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) to enable easy comparison to other firms. QuadReal has chosen to voluntarily disclose our Canadian portfolio emissions data in accordance with the GHG Protocol and in addition to SASB metrics. See our GHG emissions methodology here.
These charts on carbon emissions, energy intensity, waste diversion and water normalization demonstrate the analysis we undertake, and the actionable insights generated. The rich data and critical analysis help us avoid incorrect assumptions and inaction. Our curiosity continues to drive innovation that supports sustainability.
We wanted to know how to drive an 80% absolute carbon emission reduction in our growing portfolio.
Energy efficiency is necessary; best-in-class operations teams and capital upgrades are key to driving progress. However, efficiency plays only a small part in overall reduction when compared to fuel switching, grid intensity changes, new developments and renewable energy. To achieve our ambitious goal, we need the entire real estate sector to innovate and deliver low-carbon solutions.
To drive employee engagement at all levels, carbon emission targets are a part of individual annual performance objectives. Existing properties set and deliver on energy targets every year. In the case of new developments, we are embedding sustainability early in the design phase to encourage integration of healthy spaces, smart technology and low carbon alternatives such as renewable energy systems.
ENERGY INTENSITY FOR OFFICE
We wanted to understand how buildings can age gracefully. In the graph below, the size of the bubble corresponds to the size of the office building (in Ft2).
With the adoption of LEED and other certifications, the operating performance of new buildings has rapidly improved in the last decade. It is clear that operational best practices and proactive capital upgrades are key to closing the gap for older buildings. Ambitious and innovative changes are also necessary to keep up with growing energy performance expectations.
We aim to make our office buildings smart-ready so that we can collect interval data and make use of operational analytics and retro-commissioning.
WASTE DIVERSION VS. COST PER SQUARE FOOT
We wanted to know how to increase waste diversion rates.
R² = 0.11 The r-squared of cost vs. diversion rate is 0.11. Roughly meaning that very little of the difference in cost is correlated to diversion rate.
Waste diversion rates and cost per square foot are not correlated. In fact, what we found is that the most economical cost-per-square-foot buildings had the highest waste diversion rates, while the highest cost-per-square-foot buildings significantly underperformed in comparison.
We created an internal waste target-setting process for all buildings. It established a baseline across regions and asset classes and included initiatives to improve performance. We also conducted waste audits and provided support to buildings that were underperforming. Waste volumes were reduced by half in the first month through extensive training and clear communications with operators, cleaners and tenants with a focus on those in food and beverage. This waste diversion process and the reduced frequency of pickups provided significant cost savings for these properties.
HOW NOW WITH WATER?
We wanted to know how to compare water usage performance by building so that we could identify effective processes and technologies while identifying which buildings needed additional attention.
We worked with RealPAC and Energy Profiles Limited to beta test a water normalization methodology that will help us see how water use is changing over the years independent of the weather. This will highlight which buildings are more efficient and why. In this example, water intensity was largely maintained despite a large increase in the number of building occupants.
Water normalization is live at all our office properties and we are working on implementing it at our residential properties. In addition to weather and exceptional water use normalization, we are developing a normalization for occupancy that will allow us to better understand the data and water use across the portfolio.