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Commercial real estate moving toward emissions standards

Texas is vulnerable to the impact of climate change on its commercial properties, an impact that also affects commercial properties worldwide. Many of the world's leading commercial real estate owners are coming around to seeing the dangers of global warming and are responding accordingly. According to the Urban Land Institute's Greenprint Center for Building Performance, building owners on a global level are making progress in mitigating the risks of climate change. They are reducing water usage, carbon emissions and energy consumption by significant percentages.

Since 2009, based on tracking of some 8,700 commercial properties, it is reported that water use has dropped by 12.1 percent, carbon emissions by 17.9 percent and energy consumption by 13.9 percent. Throughout the world, commercial buildings account for more than one-third of climate-changing carbon emissions. According to the Greenprint Chairman, building owners are coming to realize that there could be a progressively eroding asset value due to the impact of climate-related vulnerabilities.

Greenprint owners of commercial property are committed to a target of a 50 percent emissions reduction by 2030, a goal that has been ratified by the Paris Climate Accord. Several factors are motivating the industry to making a real effort to improve building performance. These are investor mandates, tenant demand, regulation and goal setting.

Investor mandates in Texas and elsewhere are motivating the trend to improve building performance. Another factor is tenant demand, where major tenants are seen to be embracing next-generation features as part of their leasing requirements. In addition, energy-efficient regulations for commercial buildings are taking hold globally, such as mandatory energy codes in most countries. Many large holders of commercial real estate are engaging in goal-setting by establishing portfolio-wide goals.

Source:, "Leading Commercial Real Estate Owners Exhibit Progress toward Water, Carbon Reductions," Jennifer Hermes, Nov. 16, 2017

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