The Non-Financial Reporting Directive: Three Key Questions and How to Approach the New Requirements

This is our 20th blog post of 2017 so far – have you signed up to receive our monthly digest yet?


In December 2016, the EU non-financial reporting directive (Directive 2014/95/EU) was transposed into UK law via The Companies, Partnerships and Groups (Accounts and Non-Financial Reporting) Regulations 2016.

In short, this legislation requires large companies to report additional non-financial (i.e. environmental and social) performance-related information within their annual reports.

The original timetable for transposition into national legislation by member states was the 6th December 2016. On the continent, several states are reported to have missed this deadline, which presents uncertainty as to how and when these requirements will be interpreted across jurisdictions.


1. Which companies are affected?

‘Public interest entities’ matching both of the following criteria are required to report against these new requirements:

A. Traded/listed company (anywhere in European Economic Area), banking company, insurance company, or company carrying on insurance market activity

B. ≥ 500 employees (on average during the financial year)

[Notwithstanding these criteria, in our opinion it would be a valuable exercise for any organisation to review their opportunities to develop or improve reporting of non-financial information to relevant stakeholders.]


2. What must be disclosed and when?

The legislation requires disclosure of these aspects of performance:

  • Description of the company’s business model
  • Policies (incl. due diligence procedures)
  • Principal risks and corresponding risk management procedures
  • Management approach
  • Non-financial key performance indicators
  • Outcomes

All the above aspects of performance should be reported in relation to these ‘non-financial’ issues:

  • Environmental matters
  • Social matters
  • Employee matters
  • Respect for human rights
  • Anticorruption and bribery matters
  • Board diversity (i.e. age, gender, geographical diversity, and educational and professional background) [1]

Information must be relevant and material, in order that stakeholders can fully understand an entity’s approach, impact and performance in relation to these environmental, social and governance matters. Where there are gaps in disclosures, an explanation must be provided.

For affected entities, these reporting requirements apply to reporting in relation to financial years starting in 2017. This includes financial years that begin on 1st January 2017.

Interestingly, the European Commission has committed to preparing a report for the European Parliament and Council by 6th December 2018 on the implementation of the Directive, including its scope, effectiveness and the level of accompanying guidance and methods. However, clearly, with the UK now committed to leaving the EU by April 2019, the outcomes of this review will not automatically directly impact UK legislation. More fundamentally, the entire existence of this piece of legislation may be threatened as a result of the UK leaving the EU, as the UK Government will be completing a process of reviewing the applicability of all laws passed pursuant to EU Directives. However, please note that in the meantime and until further notice [by UK legislators] companies will be required to apply this new legislation in its entirety.


3. Where should these disclosures be reported?

According to the legislation, the required information should be included as part of a ‘Non-Financial Information Statement’ within the strategic report of the entity’s annual report. Importantly however, “If information required by subsections (1) to (5) to be included in the statement is published by the company by means of a national, EU-based or international reporting framework, the statement must specify the framework or frameworks used, instead of including that information.”

As such, if for example an entity presently or plans to report through the UN Global Compact (UNGC) or Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), they may already be compliant and can continue to report this information outside of their annual report. In this instance, these separate aspects of reporting would need to correspond to the same financial year.

In our opinion, for companies that present UNGC or GRI-related information outside of their annual report, we hope that they will elect to include more than just a sign-post to this information within their Non-Financial Information Statement. Providing at least a summary of this information will clearly better comply with the intent of this legislation, which is to have relevant and material non-financial information presented alongside financial information in an integrated manner.


Final thoughts on how to approach these new requirements

  1. Consider the relevant criteria to determine whether your organisation is affected.
  2. Unpick the requirements and complete a gap analysis against your organisation’s current activities, performance and data/information collection procedures.
  3. [Optional] Explore synergies with other voluntary/mandatory reporting frameworks that your organisation already reports or would like to report against – e.g. Modern Slavery Statements (Modern Slavery Act 2015); Financial Standards Board (FSB) Climate-related Financial Disclosures (currently draft); GRI; UNGC; and, European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA) Best Practice Recommendations on Sustainability Reporting.
  4. Take a look at what your peers are doing – the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) have helpfully compiled some relevant good practice examples that can be accessed here.
  5. Develop a plan to both improve your organisation’s performance in these areas and ability to report accurately and completely.
  6. Implement the plan.
  7. Report!

Nearly finally… we would recommend discussing with your auditor the level of assurance/verification incumbent upon information contained within your non-financial information statement. That said, we would always recommend that such information and data be generated and checked via robust procedures and, where appropriate, supported by third-party advisors and/or software tools. For example, our proprietary software SIERA holds all an organisation’s property-related environmental data in one secure database with powerful validation tools to ensure the accuracy and completeness of data.

And finally, please do get in touch if you would like to explore these requirements further and/or to discuss how your organisation can:

  • achieve compliance

  • derive benefits from better risk management and transparent reporting


We’re ready to help. Contact our experts today.


[1] Please note: Board diversity disclosure requirements are nuanced depending on the exact nature of the business. EVORA can provide more information upon request.

The 2017 GRESB Reporting Cycle (Part 2): A Review of the Recently Released Reference Guide

Two months ago, I set out the main changes to the 2017 GRESB Real Estate survey, based on what could be gleaned from the ‘pre-release’ of the questionnaire.

Critically, the full 2017 Real Estate Reference Guide has now been released.

At the time of writing, the Health and Wellbeing module and its accompanying reference guide had still not been released.


&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/gresb-reporting-cycle/" data-link="https://twitter.com/share?text=Important+updates+to+the+2017+%40GRESB+survey+-+Part+2+of+EVORA%27s+series%3A+%23GRESB+%23CRE+%23sustainability&via=">&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/gresb-reporting-cycle/" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Important updates to the 2017 GRESB survey - Part 2 of EVORA's series.Click To Tweet

Additional key changes to note

Having read (comprehensively skimmed!) all 203 pages of the new Real Estate Reference Guide, I can share a few additional key changes that are worth noting:

Content

  • Performance indicators: There is a new table to complete as part of the energy question (Q25). Participants must set out the following total floor areas for each property type (the contents of the table are not scored):
    • Managed Assets split across:
      • Common areas, shared services and tenant spaces and/or;
      • Whole building.
    • Indirectly Managed Assets:
      • Whole building.
    • Stakeholder engagement: The question, “Does the entity include sustainability-specific requirements in its standard lease contracts?” (Q39.1) has changed in the last two months (i.e. since the 2017 pre-release) and is now aligned with the BBP Best Practice Lease standard.

Evidence uploads

  • GRESB has introduced an ‘evidence template’ for use as standalone document or document cover page (see the last page of the guidance document).
  • The attachment feature has been amended, adding in an option to make uploaded documentation accessible to investors. This feature is optional on a document by document basis. The default option will be for documentation to not be made available to investors.
  • It will now be possible to upload multiple documents per indicator.

Response check

  • The deadline for the response check is two weeks earlier than last year (1st June).

Validation

  • The number of respondents subjected to Validation Plus and Validation Interviews, is expected to “increase significantly” this year. GRESB anticipates selecting approximately 25-40% of respondents for Validation Plus and approximately 5% for a Validation Interview.

What Next?

I’m sure many of you will agree that the speed at which these past two months have passed is somewhat terrifying. There are now approximately 100 days left until the 2017 deadline…

As before, these remain my five tips for GRESB survey submission success:

  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.

&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/gresb-reporting-cycle/" data-link="https://twitter.com/share?text=Free+eBook+%40GRESB+Survey%2C+Submission%2C+Success%21+Download+now+in+preparation+for+your+2017+submission&via=">&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/gresb-reporting-cycle/" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Free eBook: 'GRESB Survey, Submission, Success!' Download it now in preparation for your 2017 submissionClick To Tweet

Tips for ESG management and performance success

For more general advice on how to implement practical and tailored sustainability solutions, download your free copy of our GRESB eBook.


For market-leading GRESB submission support, please 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.

Healthy and Wealthy! Upcoming Event: How to Improve Health and Wellbeing in Existing Commercial Properties

On Monday 3rd April, EVORA is running an event in partnership with BRE focusing on the health and wellbeing of operational buildings. There has been a lot of attention on health and wellbeing at the design and construction stages, but practical steps need to be considered for our existing building stock.


&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/health-wellbeing-properties/" data-link="https://twitter.com/share?text=Event%3A+How+to+Improve+Health+and+Wellbeing+in+Your+Existing+Commercial+Properties+-+book+now%21&via=">&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/health-wellbeing-properties/" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Event: How to Improve Health and Wellbeing in Your Existing Commercial Properties - book now!Click To Tweet

As professional sustainability consultants, a key part of our role has focused on reducing the environmental impacts in buildings, especially energy, due to the greater carbon impact and cost.

However, with the World Green Building Council’s Health buy levitra india online https://levitraed.com/ Levitra is a modern medicine that can give me unforgettable emotions during sex. I prefer Vardenafil pills as it rapidly impacts my body, has a long-lasting effect and even is compatible with alcoholic beverages that I like to drink on a date. Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices study referencing that 90% of a typical business’s overheads are staff costs compared to less than 2% for energy, common sense dictates that we must also ensure focus on providing healthy and productive properties for our landlords.

Although far from easy, approaches like the WELL building standard are available to support application in design and construction phases. However, consideration in existing buildings, especially from a landlord perspective, is more challenging. The infrastructure is already in place and the fabric of the building is set, so is there much opportunity to address the key elements of health and wellbeing as defined by the WELL Building Institute, i.e.

  • Air
  • Water
  • Nourishment
  • Light
  • Fitness
  • Comfort
  • Mind

Secondly, where tenants are in situ, what influence can the landlord have? Energy management has generally been straightforward with the majority of managed offices providing shared services of heating and ventilation enabling the landlord to influence the energy efficiency throughout the building. Health and wellbeing is more complex where the real opportunity is in the tenants’ own demises. How should the landlord engage, who pays for an evaluation of the tenant’s space and what are the intended outcomes both for the tenant and the landlord?

In our Healthy Buildings event, we bring together a number of industry experts to share their knowledge, experience and latest research to provide clarity and practical application in achieving healthy and productive operational spaces to work in.

The event is split into three sessions: the first focusing on the landlord and occupier perspective; the second provides a consultant’s viewpoint, identifying both the challenges and opportunities; and the final session identifies research and the application of solutions in relation to key elements of healthy buildings including lighting, biophilia, air quality and thermal comfort.

&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/health-wellbeing-properties/" data-link="https://twitter.com/share?text=Healthy+Buildings%3A+join+%40evoraglobal+%40UKGBC+%40BRE_Conf+%40ArupGroup+%40TheCrownEstate+%2B+more.+Book+now%21&via=">&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/health-wellbeing-properties/" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Healthy Buildings event: join EVORA, UKGBC, BRE, Arup, The Crown Estate, British Land and others on 3rd April. Book now!Click To Tweet

Among the 15 speakers are:

  • John Alker, UKGBC
  • Rebecca Pearce, CBRE
  • Darren Wright, Arup
  • Jane Wakiwaka, The Crown Estate
  • Matthew Webster, British Land

I am extremely excited by this event which will challenge the real estate industry on what can be done to make our existing assets healthy and productive places to work.


Don’t miss this exciting event – click here to view the full agenda and book your tickets now.

Are you Future-Proofed for IoT? How SIERA can help you navigate the IoT landscape (part 3 of 3)

I highlighted in parts 1 & 2 of the series that the Internet of Things (IoT) will have a dramatic effect in shaping the commercial real estate industry but that it also presents significant opportunities to add value. With an emphasis on Big Data, data acquisition, accessibility, visualisation and more efficient reporting tools, the need for a solution has never been greater.

EVORA has created a solution which is fit-for-purpose now, but is also able to be continuously enhanced to meet industry requirements as these evolve. Our platform SIERA (Sustainability Intelligence Environmental Reporting & Analysis) is specifically designed to harness the IoT landscape to navigate and make sense of the data being collected, as I will elaborate below.

Are you future-proofed for IoT?

Our SIERA platform really channels the true potential of the IoT network. SIERA is a solution which draws together data, processes and people. For example:

  • Disparate data sources can be brought together to build powerful reporting analytics; data feeds have been established directly with SIERA enabling mass data acquisition of performance data, property information and data for normalisation.
  • Data can be accessed anytime and anywhere in the world, 24/7. The cloud-based application is available at your fingertips ensuring accessibility, availability and security.
  • Personal logins can be created for different types of users across your organisation.
  • It is built by Commercial Real Estate specialists for the industry, meaning that we share a common language with you to really understand your needs.
  • Powerful data visualisation capabilities, and data validation functionalities ensure data tracking, performance reporting, data completeness and robustness.
  • Our in-house consultancy service is part of the SIERA solution providing you with specialist Commercial Real Estate sustainability support. SIERA can help you harness the value of data to inform your strategy.

Common Issues Addressed by SIERA

I also wanted to summarise some of the most common issues of the industry to explain how, through SIERA, EVORA is providing a solution. If any of the challenges below sound familiar then SIERA could be the solution for you.

Common Issue 1: “My data is held physically on a hard drive. I can only access it when I am on a specific computer. It has been difficult connect all my information together as they are held in different locations.”

SIERA Solution: The IoT is demanding massive improvements in data management, connectivity and accessibility. To truly prepare for the data-driven landscape and extract the value that Big Data provides, we have focused on connecting these different elements together in one simple platform. If you need a better system for data storage and management, SIERA is a cloud-based application enabling data access anytime and anywhere 24/7 via the web. With data capture from various sources, all your environmental data will be held in one, simple and secure portal.

Common Issue 2: “How can I link all my disparate data sources into one place? Can this be achieved automatically?”

SIERA Solution: With the ever-increasing quantity of data available as part of the information age, it is crucial to link different datasets together to identity trends and conduct analyses to extract value. This is the essence of what Big Data is all about. For SIERA, we have really focused on connectivity and data acquisition. Where it is cost-effective and depending on the infrastructure in place, a direct data feed can be established with SIERA. This information is supported under the secure file transfer protocol (FTP) and an application programming interface (API) when can pull data into one place. We also have our consultancy service to support you on devising an appropriate strategy for you, which is informed by your data and reporting requirements.

Common Issue 3: “I already have an existing system, but it’s not working too well. It’s been a challenge to manage data across my portfolios. I want to engage the Facility Managers, Managing Agents and other nominated responsibilities to input and review performance data for specific buildings.”

SIERA Solution: We have really thought about usability when it comes to data input to streamline the process and improve engagements on all levels. In addition to automated consumption data feeds, data can be input by users through a simple tool. Data access and input, views are tailored according to the user depending on the locations they are responsible for as well permissions to appropriately manage security. Along with automated data validation functionalities and bulk data loading capabilities through CSV or Excel, data will be managed in the most effective way. Our audit trail is built into the application which will help you track data changes instantly. Our sophisticated data validation features ensure accuracy and completeness of data. Data variance checks are conducted to identify values above or below a threshold. Any data gaps and overlaps are also flagged. We also have on-going support to provide training where required.

Common Issue 4: “I want to normalise my portfolio performance by drawing in heating degree day (HDD) information to track against targets but I’ve been struggling to manage the information from lots of different sources and prevent errors creeping in. I want to centralise and standardise my data sources for reporting to GRESB and INREV.”

SIERA Solution: The API bringing in HDD and calculating intensity enables performance to be automatically HDD adjusted and normalised to be consistent with the way some of our clients report performance, whether this internally or externally such as for GRESB. Our cloud-based application has powerful automated reporting capabilities for GRESB and INREV. SIERA can model the data for reporting requirements, reducing on time and costs. As part of our integrated solution, we also have our consultancy service where our sustainability experts can support you on your reporting.

Common Issue 5: “I am concerned about the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and risks across my portfolio.”

SIERA Solution: The visualisation capabilities of SIERA enable a quick and easy assessment of data from property management systems such as lease expiries, which can be intelligently analysed and modelled against EPC data to profile MEES risks.

SIERA – Our Solution

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 IoT platform designed for the information age. We are keen to have personal conversation with you to assess your current infrastructure and where SIERA could help you tap into new opportunities.


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


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.

&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/inrev-and-sustainability-reporting/" data-link="https://twitter.com/share?text=The+2016+%23INREV+Guidelines+consist+of+mandatory+requirements+and+best+practice+recommendations&via=">&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/news-views/inrev-and-sustainability-reporting/" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">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.

&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/sustainability/measuring-embodied-carbon/" data-link="https://twitter.com/share?text=How+EVORA+is+helping+%40Hammersonplc+to+measure+embodied+%23carbon+at+its+new+retail+park.+&via=">&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/sustainability/measuring-embodied-carbon/" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">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.

&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/data/thinking-smart-real-estate/" data-link="https://twitter.com/share?text=Exploring+the+role+of+%23data+and+the+%23IoT+in+the+commercial+real+estate+sector+%23CRE+%23sustainability&via=">&url=https://evoraglobal.com/news/data/thinking-smart-real-estate/" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">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.

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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.