Real Estate & the Climate Crisis

According to the World Green Building Council, buildings are responsible for a total of 39% of global energy related carbon emissions (28% from operational emissions and 11% from the materials needed to construct them). As climate considerations weave their way into the corporate strategy, the imperative to reduce operational emissions has become especially paramount for leading commercial real estate owners.

To begin to address the climate emergency, and to ensure they’re abiding by increasingly stringent local regulations, many owners have started to take stock of emissions at the unit, asset, and portfolio level, in earnest

While this may seem straightforward, ensuring the correct emissions data is communicated to the correct stakeholder presents challenges. Additionally, aggregating the data from disparate sources across a given portfolio can be wrought with complexity. To achieve net-zero targets, owners and operators need to identify ways to engage their tenants at the unit level, to ensure building- and portfolio-level targets are met.

Simplifying Complexity

As a master technology layer, ility was recently tasked with delivering a cohesive, digital emissions-reduction solution for a European client. Given our existing relationship, and our position within their portfolio, it was critical we design a solution that maintained business continuity and limited disruption to the platform user base – both asset managers and tenants alike.

After assessing existing solutions, ility engineered and delivered a series of features that ensure emissions data is being delivered to the right users in the right places. By connecting emissions data with leasing data, ility streamlines the process of communicating who used how much utility, from meter to end user. This is critical, as most buildings will fail to meet emissions-reduction targets if usage isn’t first reduced at the unit level.

Because emissions data is often complex, the ility solution also delivers information via easily understood visualizations and graphs, allowing end users to have a firm grasp on their emissions footprint. Because most corporate mandates have already started to require carbon accounting across business operations, being able to communicate “footprint” emissions is a serious value-add for real estate owners.

Increased Engagement and Decreased Emissions

By delivering this set of features as part of the existing ility-built platform, ility also enabled this owner to begin delivering ancillary services and begin redefining their brand around ESG. Recognizing that they are no longer only a provider of a static product, and in need of building engaged, service-oriented offerings for their tenants, this owner strategically leveraged partnerships with circular-economy and ESG advisory services, and now offers both through the ility platform.

Looking ahead, the complexities of reducing emissions are sure to present similar challenges across the real estate world. Though not a silver bullet, technology – and a streamlined, effective understanding of emissions data – will play a critical part in ensuring the right users of buildings are engaged and aware of their footprint. Ility is poised and excited to continue untangling these challenges and enabling a wider embrace of ESG for real estate globally.