Preparing for GRESB 2017

Last week we ran a productive and informative GRESB workshop at Schroders’ offices in central London.


Our own Ed Gabbitas kicked off, providing an overview of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, its progression over the years and the changes being introduced in 2017 – finishing with his (our) ideas on how best to approach GRESB.

We then ran two productive workshop sessions focusing on identifying and then addressing the challenges of collating evidence needed to support GRESB submissions. The workshops were interspersed with an overview of Schroders’ approach to GRESB and a section from me on the increasingly hot topic – Health & Wellbeing.

So what were the conclusions. Well – both practical and strategic.

On a practical level:

  • Start early
  • Consider the 2017 questionnaire and evidence requirements in detail
  • Engage with others inside and outside of your organisations, who may not be fully aware of the GRESB process, but will be required to provide evidence.

HR and finance functions may need to contribute and engagement with Property Management teams is essential. Performance data collection is vitally important. Have a plan for your data (we use SIERA).

On a strategic level:

Have a strategy. GRESB is a survey based on best practice. It contains a lot of good stuff. However, an organisation’s single sustainability objective cannot, in my view, be to score well in GRESB. We recommend establishment of a management system (Plan, Do, Check, Act) approach tailored to deliver your own goals. Progress an approach that suits you, understand GRESB requirements and the results will look after themselves.


For more information have a read of our GRESB ebook.


GRESB: Survey, Submission, Success! (Free eBook)

How to prepare your assets and portfolios for success in the 2017 reporting cycle


In this first volume of our new series of free resources, we have collated our most popular pieces of GRESB thought leadership, plus some brand new content, into this handy 20-page eBook.

EVORA GRESB Survey Submission Success eBook

Download this free eBook today if you:

  • would like to learn more about the benefits of having an established Environmental Management System (EMS)
  • are interested in how to save endless frustration and time thanks to GRESB data automation
  • have wondered whether or not GRESB really can help to deliver fund performance
  • need to clue yourself up on the key changes to the reporting cycle this year
  • would like to give yourself the best possible chance for preparing for the 2017 reporting cycle
  • would like to improve your GRESB score(s) in 2017

Download now


For any questions about GRESB, including support with your 2017 submission(s), please don’t hesitate to contact our experts today.

 


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

INREV and Sustainability Reporting: Mandatory Requirements and Best Practice Recommendations

INREV is the European Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles. It is recognised as the leading platform for sharing knowledge on the non-listed real estate industry and has a goal to improve transparency, professionalism and best practices across the sector.


In 2016 INREV Sustainability Reporting Guidelines were revised to establish a disclosure framework that enables delivery of meaningful data to increase visibility and insight into an investment vehicle’s ESG efforts and also details their next course of action for improvements. The new guidelines aim to present a clear picture of sustainability strategies and require the reporting of energy performance data.  They are aligned, where possible, with other industry standards including GRESB, EPRA and GRI.

The new INREV Guidelines published in 2016 consist of mandatory sustainability reporting requirements and best practice recommendations.

The INREV Guidelines consist of mandatory sustainability reporting requirements and best practice recommendations.Click To Tweet

The mandatory requirements have to be reported on an annual basis to claim compliance with the INREV Guidelines. Managers are required to report, based on these guidelines, over the year 2017.


Mandatory Requirements

  • Describe the overall approach to setting a long term ESG strategy for the vehicle
  • Detail the vehicle’s approach for ensuring compliance for current legislation relating to ESG issues is in place
  • Set out the annual objectives and associated targets for the coming 12-month reporting period
  • Detail objectives for the next 12-month reporting period for ensuring compliance with current legislation in relation to ESG and about preparations for any future legislation that may be undertaken in this period
  • Report against annual objectives and associated targets set for the vehicle
  • Report against compliance with current legislation requirements and objectives and associated targets for preparations for upcoming legislation
  • Disclose absolute and like-for-like environmental data for the proportion of the vehicle’s portfolio that is in the fund manager’s operational control.  This should cover:
    • Energy
    • GHG Emissions
    • Water
    • Waste

Best Practice Requirements

  • Detail any additional key material aspects for the ESG strategy for the vehicle
  • Detail additional information on other annual objectives (related to key material aspects referenced above) and associated targets for the vehicle based
  • Report against the annual objectives and associated targets as set out above
  • Disclose absolute and like-for-like environmental data for the available tenant data for the vehicle’s portfolio

Whilst this blog focuses on INREV, EPRA – The European Public Real Estate Association – sets out CORE and Additional Requirements in much the same way.

EVORA, supported by our proprietary software, SIERA, is highly experienced in the collation, analysis and reporting of data.  For further information, please get in touch.

The true cost of design – measuring embodied carbon at Hammerson’s Orchard Park retail development

This post was originally published on CIBSE Journal.


A new database tool is helping designers assess the environmental impact of their specifications. Our EVORA EDGE Director, Andrew Cooper, looks at how Hammerson is trialling the tool to assess the CO2 impact of a retail park in Didcot.


Approximately 10% of all UK carbon emissions are associated with the manufacture and transport of construction materials. These emissions are all upfront, contributing towards global warming before the building is opened. Yet measuring embodied carbon has often been thrown in the ‘too hard’ basket because of the difficulty in obtaining transparent and comparable data, and to implement consistent and auditable frameworks and processes within a reasonable budget. There is also a lack of policy drivers to measure and control embodied emissions in building projects.

However, European developer Hammerson has measured embodied carbon to inform the design processes on a new retail development in the UK – and used a cost-effective tool to do so. Hammerson plans to add to its portfolio of 58 UK, Irish and French shopping centres and retail parks, with an extension to the Orchard Centre in Didcot, Oxfordshire. The proposed scheme is targeting a ‘very good’ Breeam assessment and has a number of sustainable design principles, including an urban drainage scheme and a green roof.

To increase its chances of achieving a ‘very good’ rating, Hammerson has – for the first time – used Impact modelling to calculate the environmental impact of the proposed development, to achieve credits under the MAT01 Life-cycle impacts assessment issue. Impact is a specification and database for software developers to incorporate into their tools, to allow consistent life-cycle assessment and costing in property. It takes quantity information from building information modelling (BIM) and multiplies this by environmental impact and/or cost ‘rates’. It is based on the BRE database on environmental impacts and, by making this more widely available, the costs of embodied-carbon assessments are significantly reduced. It was also developed with integration into Breeam in mind.

The true cost of design – measuring embodied carbon at Hammerson’s Orchard Park retail development Image 1

Using it can gain up to four credits for UK Breeam assessments and up to six credits for international Breeam assessments.

Richard Quartermaine, environmental manager at Hammerson, says the company wants to make significant reductions to all areas of its carbon footprint, and the least well understood is the embodied carbon of its development activities. ‘Using Impact allows us quickly and consistently to assess the embodied carbon of a project at an early stage – to raise awareness among the design team and inform its decision-making.’

Envision is undertaking the Breeam assessment for the project, and EVORA EDGE has been appointed to do all the Impact modelling using IES VE Pro.

How EVORA is helping Hammerson to measure embodied carbon at its new retail park development. Click To Tweet

An energy model was developed by the building services engineer using IES VE software. This was used for the energy strategy, to comply with Part L and to calculate Breeam energy credits. The model was also issued to the Impact modeller to undertake the life-cycle impacts assessment using the same software.

The true cost of design – measuring embodied carbon at Hammerson’s Orchard Park retail development Image 2

The first task was to check the suitability of the model for an Impact assessment. Models must be constructed using the ApacheSim (DSM) format – in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) terms, this is considered to be Level 5. The geometry must also be extremely accurate; discrepancies that may have a minimal impact on the built emissions rate (BER) could have a significant impact on a life-cycle assessment by affecting material quantities.  For example, if the height of each floor of a 10-storey building with a floor plate of 1,000m2 is 25mm out in a model, this is unlikely to have a significant effect on predicted energy consumption or the BER. But 10 x 1,000m2 x 0.025m equates to 250m3 of material. Assuming the floors are concrete, the concrete alone would amount to around 100 tonnes of embodied CO2 as an inaccuracy. Add steel reinforcement and/or steel decking to this, and the amount increases.

Having assessed the model, and made minor adjustments to ensure its suitability, a study was implemented to identify the construction details and materials. Material data was imported from the BRE library into the model. The scope of the study covered the mandatory building elements detailed in Breeam Assessor Guidance Note GN08, which include piled foundations, lowest floor construction, steel frames, all upper floors, roofs, windows, and internal walls and partitions. Having determined the environmental impacts, an advisory report was prepared for Hammerson.

The software can measure a number of environmental impacts, including acidification of land and water, fossil-fuel depletion, human toxicity, and global warming potential. In this case, the primary metric that Hammerson wished to adopt was embodied CO2, and benchmarking was used to advise on whether the proposed scheme had a high or low impact.

The true cost of design – measuring embodied carbon at Hammerson’s Orchard Park retail development Image 3

Monitoring the embodied carbon emissions of different types of buildings is a relatively new field of research, and there are not yet regulatory standards or academic studies offering peer-reviewed benchmark values. However, the RICS document Methodology to calculate embodied carbon of materials, 1st edition provides some useful benchmarks for cradle-to-gate embodied carbon emissions. The MAT01 study is based on cradle to grave – and the RICS benchmark is regarded as indicative only – but, for completeness, metrics were supplied to Hammerson for cradle-to-grave and cradle-to-gate emissions. (See panel, ‘Product life-cycles’.)

The study concluded that the impact of the Orchard Centre is within an expected range, based on the nearest matching RICS benchmarks of between 750 and 935 kg CO2 per m2for comparable buildings (Table 1). It recommended interventions that could lead to a reduction in the project’s environmental impact of between 6% and 7% – amounting to more than 1,000 tonnes of embodied CO2.

The Internet of Things: Thinking Smart in the Commercial Real Estate Sector (Part 2 of 3)

There is no doubt that the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the commercial real estate sector. It has emphasised the use of space in buildings, tapping into the connections of people and the environment. For real estate investment and management, buildings, people and energy performance form part of the network which can benefit from the IoT movement.

Exploring the role of data and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the commercial real estate sector.Click To Tweet

In Part 1, I eluded to the IoT as the ecosystem of things that are interconnected through sensors and connections. A building is a perfect example of this. When we start to connect the dots between the elements of a building’s design and operation, we can use the data to tell us more about what is going on in that building and how we can manage it in a better way.

What are the opportunities for the IoT in buildings?

Many sensors in the building can ‘sense’ the environment and gather information in real-time. The types of information that can be collected are light, humidity and temperature etc. With the IoT, it is possible to collect, compile and analyse data remotely about that building, which can be conveniently accessed via the cloud. As I mentioned in Part 1, data is the currency in this age.


The Internet of Things- Thinking Smart in the Commercial Real Estate Sector

Here are five ways the IoT can add-value:

1. Energy Efficiency

IoT technology can help increase efficiency through enhanced building performance and better management of the portfolio. One way this can be achieved is through looking at how spaces are being used. Data exchanges can give an insight into the value of processes and interactions between occupants and building operation. The building will become a smarter hub, where data can inform systems which can directly engage with occupants and adjust for their needs and the environment. From this, we can create more targeted energy distribution strategies and tenant engagement programmes.

2. Connectivity to the Cloud

IoT enabling technologies such as sensors can ensure data availability and visualization without being on-site at the building. Data can give an indication of how the building is operating and patterns can be identified in energy consumption or temperature for example. From this, many metrics can be linked together to give the larger picture on building performance.

3. Improved Living and Working Spaces

IoT is the step forward in making the environment more comfortable and reduce wastage; this creates new avenues for revenue generation through tapping into the essence of building use and adjusting where necessary. In the future, we can expect smart building technologies to have self-learning capabilities, like the human brain, to recognise patterns and make real-time adjustments.

4. Sustainability strategies

Building sustainability management strategies can be informed by data, which can lead to more accurate predictive capabilities and better asset management. The building can be optimized and operational costs reduced through IoT-enabled Building Management Systems (BMS). For example, occupant comfort is an opportunity and the use of better zoning controls can help achieve this; keeping occupants happy whilst reducing operational costs.

5. Building Design

Sensors collect data on how spaces are being utilized and this data can feed into the mathematical models for building intentions at the design-phase.

Five ways the Internet of Things can add value to the commercial real estate sector.Click To Tweet

Overall, the IoT movement has the potential to generate new avenues for revenue generation by tapping into the connections between people and buildings. As the world is becoming an increasingly interconnected place, cities are becoming smarter and the need for data applications accessible through the cloud is necessary.

Why not look at our software, SIERA, which has been created specifically for the commercial real estate sector? In Part 3, we will explore SIERA in more detail.


To speak to us about SIERA, or for any other enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

A Connected World: An Introduction to the Internet of Things (Part 1 of 3)

The world is becoming more interconnected than ever before. The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is an exciting development for many industries and disciplines. You do not have to be a technology expert to realise the potential of IoT.

This blog series takes you on a journey to demystify the IoT concept. Throughout the series, you will understand the implications for real estate investment and management and applications to energy and sustainability performance and we will give you an insight into our very own SIERA platform.


Let’s begin with the concept of the Internet of Things. What is it?

The IoT is a network of physical objects, an ecosystem of devices, buildings and other ‘things’ connected to one another electronically, through software, sensors and connections. Data flows between these ‘things’. They are internet-enabled with links between devices, apps and services, data and the cloud. This sits within something called the ‘Internet of Everything’ which is the connection of data, processes, people and things. As the world is becoming an increasingly interconnected place, some people have even called this phenomenon the 4th Industrial Revolution.

EVORA Internet of Things Blog Part 1 of 3

Source: Booz Allen (2014). https://www.boozallen.com/content/dam/boozallen/documents/2014/12/Internet_of_Things.pdf


What’s all the fuss about?

It’s all about data and how it interacts with the ‘things’. Through data exchanges, we can begin to get a deeper understanding of the value that can be extracted from core processes and interactions. For real estate investment and management, buildings, people and energy performance forms part of the network. Later in the blog series, we explore the opportunities of IoT for the industry. Many industries are now future-proofing for IoT; attention has been drawn to big data and data management.

Gartner summarised it quite nicely by framing ‘data’ as the currency of the IoT, from which the value can truly be harnessed if the data can be translated to information which can create business transformation and inform strategy.


Four Impacts of the IoT

Impact 1:

The IoT will transform and shape the future for many industries including the commercial real estate sector

Impact 2:

Connectivity and platforms are crucial. There is a requirement that data can be accessed anytime and anywhere in the world. Whether you are in Hong Kong, New York or London – your data is there, anytime, anywhere, in any context and on any network.

Impact 3:

It is not just about connectivity, but accessibility, availability and security are also important. We found that in the real estate investment and management sector, data management has been a key issue – data is traditionally stored on numerous computers, held offline on paper and data loss has been a core risk. Nowadays, data is no longer restricted to a hard drive on a desktop computer, or a USB, but the cloud is a popular means to store data.

Impact 4:

A big focus on data. Data visualisation, data analytics and data mining approaches will be some of the ways to interrogate the data in more detail. Data validation and verification will be essential to question the data and ensure it is meaningful.


Sustainability Intelligence Environmental Reporting & Analysis (SIERA)

We are working hard at the leading-edge to understand our industry needs. We have adopted an agile development and management methodology which has enabled us to situate ourselves within a data-driven landscape. Get in touch to book a demo of SIERA today, which is our proprietary sustainability management software designed for the information age. We would love to have a personal conversation with you to assess your current infrastructure and to discover how SIERA could help you tap into new opportunities.

Part 2 of this series will focus on the implications and applications of IoT for commercial real estate investment management, sustainability and energy performance.


To speak to us about SIERA, or for any other enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Commercial Real Estate Sustainability in 2017: Seven Likely Highlights

I think most will agree that 2016 has been year of surprises and uncertainties in many arenas. In spite of this, we’ve seen some positive moves in many aspects of the world of commercial real estate sustainability and 2017 could shape up to be an equally encouraging one. I wanted to share EVORA’s thoughts on what we think the highlights of the next 12 months could be.


1. EU and US Political Surprises

The question is will the progress of recent years to a greener and more energy efficient real estate sector be halted or even reversed following Britain’s vote to leave the EU and the US electing Trump? However, the reality is that for the next 5-10 years there could be very little regulatory change, certainly in Europe. Let’s not forget the global context; the UK and other members of the EU are all also members of the International Energy Agency (IEA). As such all are committed to implementing IEA guidelines which is a good example of why the UK as a whole, and more specifically the real estate sector, would still be required to act on climate change whether part of the EU or not.

Aside from Brexit we’ve already been anticipating some ‘rationalisation’ of the UK energy legislative landscape i.e. the review of how its main elements work together; Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), Climate Change Levy (CCL), the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) and mandatory GHG reporting etc.

For the time being, companies will still need to comply with existing legislation and instruments such as ESOS (and MEES – see No. 3, below) should surely, at the very least, only promote the business case for investment in energy efficiency rather than hinder it. Although broader economic performance has not been as bad as predicted since the Brexit vote, the continued uncertainty will be stifling company decision making and the sooner the UK government can provide clarity the better.


2. The Health & Wellbeing Agenda

Recent months have been awash with this topic and I would like to think that, despite staff engagement within many organisations still having some way to go, there need be no more debate that addressing health and wellbeing has a demonstrable business case. There are some great case studies coming out of the retail and commercial office sectors but can we expect 2017 to be the year in which there will be more action? EVORA expects the profile to continue to be increased but perhaps firm action (and to a certain extent, interest) could be limited to major developers and larger investment companies. That said, rapid acceleration of relatively inexpensive monitoring technologies should enable ease of access to valuable data (such as indoor air quality) to organisations of all sizes. This could lead to occupiers taking the initiative on health and wellbeing conversations with their landlords. It will also be interesting to follow the uptake of and insights provided by GRESB’s Health & Wellbeing Assessment; 2016 already saw nearly 25% of the entities that reported to the GRESB Real Estate Assessment voluntarily report to the Health & wellbeing module.


3. EPCs

With the 2018 Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) deadline looming, we could see potential high profile litigation relating to historically incorrect EPC assessments. With not much more than a year to go, 2017 should see a lot of activity in this space with a push to understand and address EPC risks. This is something EVORA have recognised the need for expertise in having recently launched EVORA EDGE, our technical engineering division.


4. Science Based Targets

Following the first theme regarding the global context to action on climate change, 2016 saw an increase in the commercial real estate sector’s interest in science based targets (SBTs). One of our Junior Consultants, Kim Diep, wrote two blogs on this providing considerations for the real estate sector. EVORA anticipates that SBTs will continue to gain interest amongst the REITs and Institutional Investors that consider themselves at the forefront of carbon reduction target setting. This will no doubt be a topic on the minds of those following the ongoing response to the COP21 outcomes as a means of aligning the carbon reduction strategies for real estate to the requirements of broader climate policy.


5. Increasing Momentum in Voluntary Reporting

2016 saw a 30% increase in the number of participants in GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) in two years, with Europe participants alone comprising $750 bn in total asset value. EVORA was certainly kept busy managing the process of more than 40 submissions for our participating clients. Indeed, the uptake of GRESB in the real estate sector is a fairly good barometer of interest. Investors are asking more and more about ESG and GRESB appears to be an increasingly popular means of engaging in the topic with their fund and asset managers. GRESB has recently released the guidance for the 2017 survey; whilst it’s important that participants engage with GRESB to shape the methodologies to ensure scoring is reflective of market conditions, it will be good news to the ears of those involved with administering submissions that the Real Estate Assessment is being kept stable. EVORA expects increased uptake but also even more focus on score improvement.

Stay tuned to our newsletters for information on the release of our upcoming GRESB eBook and our GRESB Masterclass in March.


6. Focus on Data Accuracy

With more and more data being collected and analysed to inform real estate decision making, accuracy is going to be ever more important. We’ve already highlighted this in respect of EPCs but also GRESB as an example where accuracy of information will be key to implementing improvements and where there is a trend increasingly toward the need for investment grade data. These are merely two examples against a background of emerging ‘big data’ trends which are increasingly pertinent in the real estate sector. Our Technical Architect, Alex Graham, blogged about this very topic in 2016; he highlighted how big data will continue to shape our approach to our software SIERA, for example, to enable our clients to get the insights and information they need to improve their sustainability efforts.


7. Continued Fall in Cost of Low Carbon Tech

Despite the recent backtracking from the Government on the fiscal incentives for low carbon technologies, EVORA would argue that the shortfall in policy could be replaced by market forces which seek similar objectives to ensure a low carbon, energy efficient, economically viable and productive real estate sector. Therefore, despite the seemingly persistent barriers, we expect to see a continued uptake and fall in cost of low carbon technologies. Getting the strategic balance between decarbonisation of energy supplies/generation and energy efficiency will continue to be important.


If you have any questions or if you would like more information on any of the topics covered in this blog post, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts today.

The 2017 GRESB Reporting Cycle and Five Tips for GRESB Survey Submission Success!

On your marks, get set… GRESB!

According to the time stamp on Tuesday’s Newsletter from GRESB, 01:51pm marked the starting gun for the GRESB 2017 reporting cycle. The race is on…!

Within the Newsletter, GRESB provided a link to the ‘pre-release’ of their Real Estate and Developer Assessment surveys. Review of the pre-release offers early insight into changes to the 2017 survey. Understanding the changes may unveil potential impacts on your organisation’s ability to maintain/improve its GRESB score and illuminate possible logistical challenges regarding gathering the necessary evidence and data in order to complete the survey.

I have written this blog to help you unpick these changes and explore the potential impacts on your business. Loosely, the contents of this blog boil-down as follows:

  • very brief reminder of the purpose and importance of GRESB and key dates for your 2017 diary
  • outline of the key changes for the 2017 survey and reflections on the impact of these changes
  • some humble tips on how to achieve GRESB and, more generally, ESG success.
The GRESB 2017 reporting cycle. The race is on…!Click To Tweet

What is GRESB?

In their own words, GRESB (or Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) is “…an investor-driven organization that is transforming the way we assess the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of real assets globally, including real estate portfolios and infrastructure assets.”

With over 250 investor members and having assessed more than 1,100 property entities, GRESB continues to dominate the ESG rating industry for commercial real estate, globally.

Key dates for your calendar:

  • March 1, 2017 – Release of
    • Assessment Reference Guide
    • Health & Well-being Module and Reference Guide
  • April 1, 2017 – GRESB Portal opens
  • June 1, 2017 – Response Check request deadline
  • July 1, 2017 – Assessment deadline
  • September 6, 2017 – Results day
Here are 5 key GRESB dates for your calendar...Click To Tweet

Key changes identified in the ‘pre-release’

Overall, the changes this year are relatively minor and thus if you are familiar with the GRESB format I think it would be justified for you to breathe a sigh of relief at this point. That said, it is important to bear in mind that larger changes are pipped for 2018, which GRESB Managing Director Sander Paul van Tongeren confirmed at our GRESB event in November 2016.

Scoring and weighting changes

Perhaps the most significant change is the increased emphasis on completing technical building assessments covering a broader range of sustainability impacts (Q16). ‘Piloted’ in the 2016 survey, from 2017 technical building assessments of impacts other than energy will be scored for the first time. This includes:

  • water (up to 1.5 points)
  • waste (up to 0.5 points)
  • health and wellbeing (up to 0.5 points)

Critically, the increased emphasis on assessment of improvement opportunities has been balanced by slightly reducing points available for actual implementation of efficiency measures for energy (Q17) and water (Q18).

We at EVORA have mixed feelings about this particular change. On the one hand, we worry when attention is taken away from making real and tangible interventions to improve asset sustainability performance. As such, we speculate as to whether the points should have been ‘balanced’ through reductions in points associated with a different section of the survey.

On the other hand, we do welcome the increased emphasis on other sustainability issues beyond energy. Energy has rightly been the emphasis of action for many organisations to date as it typically contributes the greatest environmental impact and is attributed with the highest operational cost of buildings, after security and M&E. However, water, waste and health and wellbeing matter as well and also present real opportunities for operational improvements that can benefit tenants, asset owners and investors. This is something EVORA strongly supports and on which we have a strong track record of advising clients. For example, we have competed more than 300 sustainability audits over the last six years.

Increases in reporting requirements

A small number of questions have been bolstered in order to increase the robustness of their assessment.

  • Increase in data granularity: Portfolio coverage for energy (Q17), water (Q18) and waste (Q19) technical building assessments must now be reported as a precise percentage of the whole portfolio. Previously, drop-downs were provided at 25% increments (e.g. >0 – <25%, ≥25 – <50%).
  • More supporting evidence: Monitoring property/asset managers’ compliance the sustainability-specific requirements (Q41.1) must now include upload of supporting evidence.

Reduction in the reporting burden

Several questions have been streamlined, generally on the basis that they will make the survey more straightforward and / or less resource intensive to complete, without compromising data and therefore rating quality. For example, a number of open text boxes and evidence upload requirements have been reduced or removed.

As long as the robustness of the assessment is preserved, we welcome improvements in the efficiency of GRESB’s reporting requirements.


Five Tips for GRESB Survey Submission Success!

As I write this blog, there are about 163 days left until the 2017 deadline.

In some respects this feels like a long time, however – and you will know this if you have completed an investor survey of this nature before – it is easy to underestimate the importance of planning when it comes to GRESB delivery.

Don't underestimate the importance of planning when it comes to GRESB delivery!Click To Tweet

As you look to start plotting out your programme, we recommend that you consider the following:

  1. Start early.
  2. Remind yourself what went well and less well last year – consider both the process and individual question responses.
  3. Engagement and education of people that will support you in delivering GRESB. Keep in regular touch with these people, particularly if they will be providing you with information.
  4. Data automation – our propriety software, SIERA, delivered 41 GRESB submissions in 2016, helping clients to seamlessly acquire and report data. Why not take a look at the following blog post: GRESB Data Automation: Ensuring Seamless Does Not Result in Senseless.
  5. Seek external support / advice. EVORA will be holding a masterclass on responding to GRESB, in March 2017. Keep a look out for this in our e-newsletters and be sure to sign up early.
Here are Five Tips for GRESB Survey Submission Success!Click To Tweet

Tips for ESG management and performance success

For more general advice on how to implement practical and tailored sustainability solutions, please refer to the following blog post: Environmental Management Systems: Plan-Do-Check-Act…Deliver?


EVORA is a GRESB Premier PartnerAbout Us

Why firms choose us for GRESB survey submission support

EVORA is an independent, pan-European sustainability consultancy and software provider, specialising in (but not limited to) the commercial real estate sector. We are a GRESB Premier Partner Consultancy.

We have helped a large number of funds complete the GRESB survey, including Schroder Real Estate, AEW and Moorfield. Our experience and relationship with the GRESB team has enabled us to provide comprehensive client support – and in all cases improved results.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

For more information, please sign up to our newsletter and remember to look out for our upcoming GRESB Masterclass!

Giving Our Clients The EDGE With Our New Technical Engineering Division

I hope you are having a very happy new year, which will also bring you good health and prosperity. It has been three months since my last update bringing the exciting news of our rebrand to EVORA, recognising our own evolution, as well as that of the real estate industry, being transformed by the impact of sustainability.

A lot can happen in three months, as we experienced in 2016 with some pretty groundbreaking changes around the world. So, not to be outdone, we have some pretty groundbreaking news of our own with the launch of EVORA EDGE, our new technical engineering division.

CRE sustainability consultancy, EVORA, launches EVORA EDGE - its new technical engineering division.Click To Tweet

Technical Engineering Solutions for the Built Environment

EVORA EDGE, being an acronym for Energy, Design, Generation and Engineering, further positions EVORA as a leading full service provider to meet the ever-evolving needs of the commercial real estate sector. EVORA EDGE will complement our current energy and M&E consulting provision with a much more comprehensive breadth and depth of engineering solutions.

I am also delighted to announce that Andrew Cooper, an expert in asset and energy management, and Neil Dady, a senior building services engineer, have merged their respective businesses with EVORA to head up EVORA EDGE. Both Andrew and Neil have joined as Directors and bring a wealth of knowledge and practical experience.

Andrew Cooper & Neil Dady join EVORA as Directors of its new technical engineering division, EVORA EDGE.Click To Tweet

EVORA EDGE will not only significantly strengthen our existing technical offering, which includes the delivery of Part L of Building Regulations, energy audits, EPC work and MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) compliance, but will also provide us with a wealth of new services, including:

  • Building services specification and management
  • Compliance with the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations and with CIBSE CP1(Heat Networks: Code of Practice of the UK)
  • Indoor air quality performance auditing (health and wellbeing)
  • Life cycle assessment including embodied carbon

Please click here to see the full list of services delivered by EVORA EDGE.


Andrew Cooper EVORA EDGE Technical Engineering SolutionsAndrew Cooper

Andrew has over 23 years of property experience. He is regarded as an expert in asset and energy management, and has a background in lease advisory. He is a Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Low Carbon Consultant (in Building Design, Building Simulation and Heat Networks), a CIBSE Low Carbon Energy Assessor (to Level 5, the highest level of accreditation possible) and a MEI Chartered Energy Manager. Andrew comments:

“I have worked as an independent consultant and Deloitte LLP sub-consultant since 2008, and I am delighted to be joining EVORA to help set up its new engineering division. EVORA EDGE will both complement and expand upon the existing technical services offered by company.”


Neil Dady EVORA EDGE Technical Engineering SolutionsNeil Dady

Neil has over 25 years Director-level experience in the building services sector, specialising in air conditioning and mechanical services. He has a wealth of experience in delivering energy audits, identifying inefficiencies and optimising energy performance whilst project managing deliverable solutions. Neil comments:

”Having worked with the EVORA team for many years, I am excited to be joining this dynamic business. EVORA EDGE will bridge the gap between design concepts and engineered projects. Our focus will be on practical solutions with measured and managed outcomes.”


Looking Ahead

This continues to be a very exciting time for EVORA. Our mission from the beginning has been to work with our clients to provide practical solutions whilst providing an outstanding level of service.

Our services now extend to:

  • EVORA – expert commercial real estate sustainability consultancy across Europe
  • SIERA – leading sustainability management software for the commercial real estate investment market
  • EVORA EDGE – industry-leading technical engineering solutions for the built environment

EVORA SIERA EVORA EDGE logos together

EVORA - providing practical sustainability solutions and an outstanding level of service to the commercial real estate sector.Click To Tweet

To learn more about any of the services delivered by EVORA EDGE, or to contact Andrew or Neil, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

New Guidance on Climate Related Disclosure and Reporting

On December 14th 2016 the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate Related Disclosure published its long-awaited recommendation report. The report sets out recommendations for helping businesses disclose climate-related financial risks and opportunities.


The report states that the impact that global warming can have on economies is widely recognised.  However, at present, it is difficult for investors to know which companies are vulnerable to climate risks.  It is recognised that without financial disclosure, the financial impacts of climate change may not be effectively priced.  Pricing of risk is an essential function of financial markets.  It it is increasingly important to also understand the governance and risk management context in which financial results are achieved.

At present, it is difficult for investors to know which companies are vulnerable to climate risks.Click To Tweet

The Task Force states that non-financial disclosures should be:

  • Adoptable by all organisations
  • Included in financial filings
  • Designed to solicit decision-useful, forward-looking information on financial impacts
  • Strong focus on risks and opportunities related to transition to lower-carbon economy

The Task Force’s recommendations apply to all financial sector organisations including real estate asset managers and owners. Importantly, it is recognised that large asset owners and asset managers sit at the top of the investment chain and, therefore, have an important role to play in influencing the organisations in which they invest to provide better climate-related financial disclosures.

Recommendations are structured into four categories, as summarised below.

Governance

Organisations should disclose their governance approaches covering climate-related risks and opportunities.

Recommended disclosures:

  • The board’s oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities
  • Management’s role in assessing and managing climate-related risks and opportunities
Organisations should disclose their governance approaches covering climate-related risks and opportunities.Click To Tweet

Strategy

Organisations should disclose actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities.

Recommended disclosures:

  • Climate related risks and opportunities the organisation has identified over the short, medium, and long term
  • The impact of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organisation’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning
  • The potential impact of different scenarios, including a 2°C scenario, on the organisations businesses, strategy, and financial planning (a clear link to the adoption of science based targets)
Organisations should disclose actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities.Click To Tweet

Risk Management

Organisations should disclose how they identify, assesses, and manage climate-related risks.

Recommended disclosures:

  • Processes for identifying and assessing climate-related risks
  • Processes for managing climate-related risks
  • Processes for identifying, assessing, and managing climate- related risks are integrated into the organisation’s overall risk management
Organisations should disclose how they identify, assesses, and manage climate-related risk.Click To Tweet

Metrics and Targets

Organisations should disclose how metrics and targets are used to measure and manage risk.

Recommended disclosures:

  • Metrics used to assess climate risk
  • Scope 1, 2 and if appropriate (3) GHG emissions
  • Targets used to manage climate change risks and opportunities
Organisations should disclose how metrics and targets are used to measure and manage risk.Click To Tweet

To underpin these recommendations, the Task Force also sets out seven principles for effective disclosure.

  1. Disclosures should represent relevant information
  2. Disclosures should be specific and complete
  3. Disclosures should be clear, balanced, and understandable
  4. Disclosures should be consistent over time
  5. Disclosures should be comparable among companies within a sector, industry, or portfolio
  6. Disclosures should be reliable, verifiable, and objective
  7. Disclosures should be provided on a timely basis

The Task Force’s recommendations provide a foundation to improve investors’ and others’ ability to appropriately assess and price climate-related risks and opportunities.   They are wide ranging but also practical in the near term allowing the financial industry to develop and grow capability to report within a structured framework.

For information and if you want to get more involved, a public consultation to solicit views on the Task Force’s recommendations is now open until 12 February 2017 and can be accessed here.


EVORA is uniquely positioned to support commercial real estate organisations in the development and reporting of climate risk strategies through to implementation of management plans and collation and analysis of sustainability data using SIERA – our industry leading sustainability management software.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

EVORA is uniquely positioned to support commercial real estate organisations in the development and reporting of climate risk strategies.Click To Tweet