GRESB 2018: The Results

At EVORA, we support a broad range of clients to complete GRESB submissions – from new starters and organisations just starting out on development of their ESG strategies through to industry leaders.

This year, we assisted around 70 submissions.  It has been (and continues to be) challenging work. However, we are delighted with the results.  We are in the process of completing a detained analysis for all participants we supported, however, below, we set out some exciting highlights.


GRESB 2018 Results for some of our clients

FORE Partnership, a purpose-driven, direct co-investing platform for UK and European real estate achieved five green stars (out of five) and came third in its peer group.  This was particularly pleasing as FORE has rapidly progressed to five green stars through a deep-rooted commitment to incorporate sustainability into everything it does.

SPF Joint Venture, an investment in German out of town retail parks and managed by PATRIZIA achieved five green stars and came third overall in Germany.  This GRESB result recognises two years of work to establish best practice ESG programmes.

The Hines Pan-European Core Fund(HECF), an open-ended non-listed pan-European diversified core fund, also achieved five green stars.  This time, for the second year in a row. HECF also retained its GRESB Global Sector Leader status and ranked first among European diversified office/retail portfolios. This year, HECF also achieved first place among the 367 European non-listed vehicles and seventh globally among the 874 vehicles that participated in the survey. Notably, the HECF also ranked first globally in the optional ‘Health & Well-Being’ and ‘Resilience’ modules.  Read more here.

Europa Capital submitted five funds to GRESB. EVORA has supported Europa to develop and operate an ESG strategy over the last two years and has assisted with responding to GRESB for longer.  The ongoing work is paying off.  This is reflected by improved ratings for all funds and an average 15% score increase.

For more information on GRESB, and on Health, Wellbeing and Resilience in particular, why not request to attend our upcoming event.


EVORA Global GRESB Premier PartnerWe 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.

GRESB 2018: A Call to Arms!

Following the release of individual respondent-level GRESB results on Friday 7th September, overall results were presented by GRESB in London on Tuesday 11th September. Results presentations will continue to be delivered by GRESB around the world throughout September.

Headline figures presented demonstrated both the increased level of interest in GRESB and the positive impact the survey is having on real estate sustainability performance. In summary:

  • Participation has increased. In 2018 there were;
    • 903 survey responses (207 of which were from publicly listed entities)
    • From 64 countries
    • Covering 79,000 assets and $3.5 trillion in gross asset value.
  • A continual improvement in ESG performance was reported – where average GRESB scores increased to 68, up from 63 in 2017.  GRESB state that this continued improvement reflects the industry’s commitment to further integrate ESG best practices.
  • Australia maintains its regional leadership position but the performance gap between geographies is narrowing.
  • Of the 79,000 buildings covered by GRESB, 50,000 submitted data at ‘asset level’ (74% of all participants).
  • 83% of reported energy data was subject to a third party review.
  • Like-for-like energy, GHG and water data all demonstrated a year-on-year reduction (a good thing).
  • 11% of reported floor area benefits from some form of green building certificate.

I am heartened by progress to-date and continue to believe that GRESB remains a powerful mechanism that can help drive change in the real estate industry. However, I also believe that as an industry we must change-up a few gears.

However, as an industry we must rapidly progress further towards automated collection and transfer of ESG performance data to speed-up the process and also reduce potential for human error.

We have been talking about data – coverage and quality – for years, and yet it is still a problem. This must be addressed ‘globally’ and soon. EVORA developed our proprietary software tool SIERA to support the process of data acquisition and validation.  The decision to do so was and continues to be transformational for us and our clients. It has helped simplify and speed-up data collection and analysis at meter, asset and fund level. However, as an industry we must rapidly progress further towards automated collection and transfer of ESG performance data to speed-up the process and also reduce potential for human error. The technology exists to automate data acquisition but adoption remains low, in simple terms, data collection is still a bottle neck and the source of many errors, even in 2018!

Furthermore, wholescale adoption of new technologies and investment in retrofit of domestic and non-domestic buildings is needed, especially if, as an industry, we are going to contribute to our fullest ability to the internationally agreed commitments to mitigate climate change.

Rapid progression is needed!


EVORA Global GRESB Premier PartnerWe 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.

The Sustainability Case for Business

Upon reading a number of recent sustainability articles; “2018 will be fourth hottest year on record…”,  “Humans are damaging the oceans in profound ways”, “Earth’s resources consumed in ever greater destructive volumes”, I am left pondering what priority is this critically important issue being given at a time when – more than ever – the evidence is right before our eyes?


There is now more pressure on organisations, companies and individuals to act as ‘Sustainability Stewards’ for society and the environment. Especially with a UK government lost in the quagmire of Brexit, dealing a serious blow to real sustainability policy, legislation and leadership.

Over the past decade or so, I have witnessed some improvement in the nature of organisation and client conversations in this space; however, challenges on making the business case for sustainability do remain.

My hope is that energy efficiency practices, environmental standards and initiatives become default best practice in every organisation…  Don’t get me wrong, there are some very pro-active organisations leading the charge. However, wider adoption is needed to really embed the levels of sustainability required to reduce and mitigate the impact of climate change.

The built environment is rapidly expanding. It is critical that a genuine understanding of how these buildings perform and impact the environment throughout their lifecycle is developed and disseminated to all. Surely it makes sense to futureproof property assets, securing their long term value and sustainability? At the same time, these solutions will deliver on wider sustainability goals that protect the planet and our finite resources.

To help lead the charge, EVORA focuses on using accurate data to benchmark and track performance across various types of real estate. This forms the basis of an holistic approach to develop definitive end to end solutions for our clients to support their strategies, through feasible initiatives that enhances the operation of their assets and the wellbeing of their occupants .

I will finish on a positive note, there are signs of positive action where EVORA have helped clients: “Monitoring & Targeting delivers 30% energy savings”, “16% increase in recycling & zero waste to landfill”, “Ground breaking approach to BIM results in proposal to reduce CO2 emissions on all new developments by 20%”.

If we can continue this trajectory then we are certainly heading in the right direction. We just need to up the momentum and reframe the conversation to make the “sustainability case for business!”


To speak to a member of the team about how we can support you, please contact us.

Health and Wellbeing in Student Accommodation Investments

The demand for student accommodation continues to grow in the UK. In 2017/18, there were 602,000 purpose-built bed spaces available to students; 87% of these were delivered by the private sector[1].

Critically for investors, the value of transactions is greater than ever, in spite of fears that the market had peaked and concerns over the impact of Brexit. Despite this market buoyancy, clearly risks must be appropriately managed and investment decisions taken carefully. For us and many others, researching, analysing and integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is a critical element of such risk management. Investments involving student accommodation intersect with a broad range of ESG issues that may of themselves, or in combination, have potential to materially impact on overall profitability. One ESG focus is that of health and wellbeing, an area of growing importance to both active investors and student occupiers.

For us and many others, researching, analysing and integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is a critical element of such risk management.


When planning for student accommodation, consideration should be given to the connections between the built environment, both physically and mentally. For example, in terms of nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns and performance. Aspects include:

  1. Lighting: Ensuring availability of sufficient natural light and windows. Mood is significantly affected by access to natural light, and by the type of artificial light we are exposed to. Lighting has a big effect on alertness and concentration and traditional lighting can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm (associated with chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and depression).
  2. Bed quality and comfort: Sleep and mental health have a bidirectional relationship; investing in mattresses that improve sleep quality can contribute to improved wellbeing.
  3. Curtains: Related to the above, ensuring that light pollution does not prevent sleep is important.
  4. Sound-proofing: Noise has been found to influence occupants’ mental health. Each asset must at least meet relevant regulatory standards (and preferabley surpass) to minimise the impact of noise.
  5. Temperature: Respondents to NUS’ Homes Fit for Study survey in 2014 described being mentally affected by the temperature in their accommodation. Whilst good provision of heating is important, issues such as pre-set thermostats could result in heat stress which itself has a negative impact on mental health. Heating can also affect occupants’ physical activity which in turn can impact on mental health. Reducing drafts can also help.
  6. Air quality and ventilation: Being damp free and simple improvements like plants to help with better air ventilation should be considered.
  7. Green space: Views and access to nature have been connected to better wellbeing.
  8. Safety and security: Implement 24/7 management strategies and promotion of safety precautions to students (refreshed for each new student intake). Consider early (i.e. during design).
  9. Physical Exercise: Consideration to provision of gym facilities, indoors or outdoors. Establishing relationships with local sports facilities to enable subsidised membership.
  10. Nutrition: High quality kitchen facilities with appropriate cleaning strategy in place. Healthy food options, preferably with pricing and/or other choice incentives. Students should also be able to easily access good quality drinking water.
  11. Accessibility: All residences should aim to be within feasible walking distance of suitable public transport or educational establishment. Adequate and well-maintained cycle storage facilities (secure, well-lit with overhead cover) should also be provided as standard.

Additionally, property managers need to cooperate with the university’s welfare services to maximise the support that can be provided for students to reach their optimum mental wellbeing. Mental health training should be provided for all student-facing staff, so they are equipped to follow the right protocols, respond adequately to distress, understand the boundaries of confidentiality, and consider the positive things they can do to create a supportive culture, including signposting students to further support and community care.

Student accommodation not only provides shelter, but should also offer a rich environment of inclusiveness, generosity of spirit, respect and excellence in which students are enabled to become the best people they can be.

Integrating with existing local communities and/or supporting creation of new communities within and around student accommodation is crucial, particularly as it helps first year students transition into their new lifestyles. Student accommodation not only provides shelter, but should also offer a rich environment of inclusiveness, generosity of spirit, respect and excellence in which students are enabled to become the best people they can be. Students deserve an excellent residential experience where they feel a sense of belonging and engagement to facilitate true academic success. Property managers should support social measures and pastoral care. Design and fit-out of accommodation can enhance community spirit, by providing comfort and high quality social space. An allocation system should be employed to allow new students to choose their room in the accommodation and provide a matching service to live with a preferential mix of others, that relates to gender, nationality and stage of study.

Attention to considerations such as these can reduce project risks, build social support and generate incremental value.

EVORA can provide comprehensive end-to-end sustainability consultancy support for investors in and operators of student accommodation, including:

  • Development of ESG policies and strategies;
  • Certification (e.g. WELL Standard and Fitwel); and,
  • Reporting (e.g. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports, Responsible Property Investment Statements and / or disclosure of sustainability performance within Annual Reports).

Contact us to speak to a member of the team.


[1]Cushman & Wakefield, UK Student Accommodation Report, 2018

IoT: How can it help address urban sustainability challenges?

A common trend occurring in countries across the world is the movement of people into cities. The knock-on effect of city growth is that their energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions rise exponentially in order to meet the needs of the inhabitants.

Current estimates state that cities consume over two thirds of the world’s energy and are responsible for similar levels of global greenhouse gases[1]. As cities are expected to continue growing in the future, it is important that urban sustainability issues and challenges are addressed in order to restrict the impact of climate change.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical devices which can connect and exchange data. Often, IoT forms the basis of new innovative approaches, which are presented as the solution to many urban sustainability challenges. According to the world economic forum[2], which analysed 640 IoT deployments, it found that 84% of these can in some way help address the UN Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting the global potential of IoT. For the purpose of this blog I have focused upon two key areas of interest to me, air quality and commercial buildings. In both of these areas the IoT has the potential to drive sustainability progress forward.


Air Quality

Air quality has received considerable attention in the media over the past year. In London, where we are based, the major source of pollution derives from transportation. It is important for environmental and health reasons that within cities we are able to monitor air quality effectively. However, a key challenge has always been the coverage.

Often air quality is measured by monitoring stations at set locations providing limited spatial representativeness, which is problematic in densely populated areas where significant variations can occur due to a wide range of emission sources. Advances in low power wide area (LPWA) networks (long range wireless communication) has enabled small and low-cost sensors to be developed, which can be attached to street furniture (think sign posts and street lights) within cities. Readings can be received in real time from these sensors providing air quality data with greater depth and scope than before. Using this information in models can support decision making processes and also help raise general awareness of the issue.

A practical example using IoT to improve air quality monitoring is the Air Map Korea Project[3], which involves sensors (with IoT capability) being placed on over 4.5 million telephone poles, 60,000 public phone booths and 4000 offices. The desired result is for the data to help government-led efforts to reduce air pollution. Another example, slightly closer to home is a mobile air quality monitoring project in Glasgow[4], where sensors are placed in vehicles to provide readings throughout the city. I am expecting more and more schemes like these two to start occurring in cities around the world.


Commercial Buildings

Cities contain a wide variety of commercial buildings, such as offices, hotels and shopping centres, which account for a considerable part of the overall energy demand. If cities are going to continue to grow as expected, it is vital that these buildings are able to reduce their energy demand and associated carbon emissions. Savings can often be achieved through improving the operational functions. Commercial buildings commonly have a set level of intelligence built in, with internal networks providing a tool for communication between equipment, for example as part of the Building Energy Management System (BEMS).

Approaches utilising the IoT are now offering greater system connectivity, providing building managers with more accurate data and better methods to regulate and control internal conditions, enabling building environments to be improved and efficiency savings achieved. An example of this connectivity would be a building where heating and cooling is adjusted automatically based on the occupancy and weather conditions or even lighting systems that adjust to our natural circadian rhythm.

At EVORA, we have been providing monitoring and targeting consultancy across a range of assets to help reduce consumption within buildings. Our SIERA software can be directly linked to a utility AMR stream providing us with consumption readings every 30 mins. Through reviewing the data monthly, we are able to optimise plant equipment timings and highlight unusual fluctuations, leading to financial and carbon savings (click here to see a case study where we delivered energy savings of 30%).

Having greater connectivity allows for services like this to exist, which improve the internal environment and assist in the way buildings are managed and operated, offering a viable solution for lowering energy demand from commercial buildings.

If you are interested in discussing this further or want to know how EVORA could help your organisation with sustainability initiatives,then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of the team.


[1]C40 Cities – https://www.c40.org/why_cities
[2]World Economic Forum – http://widgets.weforum.org/iot4d/
[3]Business Korea – http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=19374
[4]ScotlandIS – https://www.scotlandis.com/news/2017/september/with-iot-air-quality-in-glasgow-gets-smart/

Sustainable cities: innovative “hubs” and battlefields against negative change

Only ten years ago, knowing about sustainability meant that you might have accidentally read a piece of avant-garde research, speculating about harmful changes in our climate. In the blink of an eye, sustainability has gained wider momentum, and today has established itself as a global goal for our future and that of our planet.

However, years have passed but we still have a long way to go: threats to our environment and humankind haven’t disappeared as quickly as we’d hoped, and industrial production has largely been favouring short-term interests over environmentally-sound long-term benefits. Hence, the war against negative environmental impact is still on. What better battlefield than cities today?


Cities are expected to be home to over 70% of the world’s population by 2050[1]. In Europe, urban areas account for 75% of the population already. It is anticipated that US350 trillion are to be spent on urban infrastructure over the next 30 years[2]. How can we use those monetary resources effectively and sustainably?

Real Estate is a sector with one of the most comprehensive sets of tools and practical standards aiming to improve sustainability and resilience in cities. And thankfully so, as buildings account for almost 40% of carbon dioxide emissions globally, and in bigger cities up to 80%[3]. Ensuring that buildings are sustainable means finding ways to use resources efficiently, without compromising their overall purpose. Buildings should be designed with the best solutions and ideas at stake and should be a grounding element of future-proofed cities.

Great theory, great lesson, but what has been done so far?


Practical learning n 1: Business for sustainability, or sustainability for business?

A lot of initiatives and developments have taken place in the real estate sector to advance sustainability holistically. More and more, environmental standards and certifications such as BREEAM, LEED and many more have set out criteria to measure buildings’ sustainability and determine which actions can contribute to better results. Along this line, the GRESB sustainability survey has become a turning point for real estate investors’ business-wide future decisions. The speculative market environment can therefore easily be influenced by what investors believe to be future risks. This means that sustainable cities and structures are at the core of the international agenda, and they have the power to steadily shape what is next.

Practical learning n 2: All that glitters today is not gold tomorrow

Industries such as Real Estate, which deal with infrastructures that need sustainable (re)development, have started rewriting their founding lessons, with an eye for long-lasting value, rather than short-term benefit. Why is business, often the enemy to our environment, suddenly turning towards more sustainable solutions?

Industries such as Real Estate, which deal with infrastructures that need sustainable (re)development, have started rewriting their founding lessons, with an eye for long-lasting value, rather than short-term benefit.

Sustainable cities mean resilience, hence resistance to future risks and challenges. This means better stability and reward for the years to come as well as a greater understanding of how to peacefully live within our environment, rather than harming it or feeling threatened by it.  More in cities than anywhere else, where consumption patterns are the direct cause of environmental degradation, there is a need for enduring value, which can only go hand in hand with an increasing respect and understanding of how to treat our urban surroundings. What glitters today is not going to be the gold of tomorrow, if it cannot last until tomorrow!

Practical learning n 3: The happier, the better

Cities are a hub of production, which means innovation, creativity, financial reward, increasing services and ambitious professional, social and cultural opportunities. As a result, however, cities can also be stressful environments, filled with people, vehicles, infrastructure, but with little space and resources to support them. This does not only affect the resilience of businesses and infrastructures, but also of the people contributing to them, who increasingly suffer from psychological distress, anxiety and hence lower productivity. Sustainable cities and their infrastructures can only achieve enduring value if they become healthier environments for their people.

The Real Estate sector has recently made advancements in establishing health and wellbeing as a part of the sustainability agenda. Not only do sustainable buildings mean good management of resources, which inevitably meet future human needs, but research has shown that proximity to more natural elements within our urban spaces is fundamental to advancing our well-being, and as a result our productivity[4][5]. Standards such as the WELL, RESET and Fitwel have taken health and wellbeing as their main focus to aspire to resilient and thriving communities within urban spaces. Similarly, GRESB recently introduced a health and well-being module in their annual survey and it will likely gain wider coverage in future years. It seems that if you feel great within your environment, you will be happier, healthier and will reach your full potential. Isn’t this what we are all looking for?

If you agree, then you have reason to believe that because our current cities are the major obstacle to improving sustainability and finding enduring value, they are also the inherent solution.

This blog post was originally written for and published on GRESB Insights.


[1] Neij, L., Bulkeley, H. & McCormick, K. (2015) Cities and climate change: The great decarbonisation challenge, Climate in Focus, 1-4.

[2] WWF (2012) Reinventing the City: Three Prerequisites for Greening Urban Infrastructures, p. 6

[3] WF (2012) Urban Solutions for a Living Planet. P.10

[4] WF (2012) Urban Solutions for a Living Planet. P.9

[5] Ryan, C., Gaziulusoy, I., McCormick, K & Trudgeon, M. (to be published) Virtual City Experimentation: A Critical Role for Design Visioning. In: Evans, J., Karvonen A. & Raven, R (eds) The Experimental City. London: Routledge.

GRESB Survey: We answer your questions

With many of us currently knee-deep in spreadsheets for this year’s GRESB submissions, we took some time out to speak with one of our Consultants and ask your questions about the GRESB survey.

About the survey

GRESB is an investor-driven assessment of sustainability performance, that gives Real Estate and Infrastructure funds of all shapes and sizes the opportunity to measure and showcase their performance on a range of environmental, social, and governance issues, and compare themselves to similar entities in the industry.

Real Estate and Infrastructure funds participate in two separate GRESB Surveys which, whilst having a different set of questions, have a similar structure and cover many of the same core ESG issues. At EVORA we have in-house experts on both surveys, so if you’re looking for assistance with your submission or just want some more information, then give this blog a read to get the basics and feel free get in touch if you want to know more.


Q.  How long is the overall submission process to the GRESB portal? Is there a timeline for the submission process?

The final GRESB deadline is July 1st, but a submission doesn’t come together over night! I would say that, to allow time for careful completion of the portal and a proper review, you generally need to have started collating data and evidence in March and you want the pieces in place by early June.

GRESB also offer a ‘Response Check’, where a GRESB employee will evaluate your response and help ensure you’re not going to miss out on points through mis-completion or insufficient evidence. The deadline for this is June 8thso, whilst you don’t have to be finished at this juncture, you want to be most of the way there to get the maximum benefit from the Check.

Q. What kind of evidence do I need to prepare before the GRESB portal opens?

To uphold the credibility of GRESB, a large amount of supporting evidence is required throughout the Survey, and rightly so. Certain indicators are entity specific, such as tenant surveys, risk assessments and completion of technical building audits, whereas others do allow responses from the Organisation / investment manager, such as employee and governance issues.

The key thing here is to make sure people on all levels are well-informed of what GRESB entails for them and that, linking back to the previous question, you start getting organised early!

Q. What is the most efficient way of collating and submitting to the GRESB portal if I have an international portfolio? 

At 25.6%, the Performance Indicators section carries the greatest weight of all the Aspects. Therefore, whilst it is often a challenge to organise, the hard work is heavily rewarded by GRESB. I would highly recommend that you get some purpose-built environmental data management software such as ours, SIERA, which is designed with GRESB in mind and can produce an import sheet which can be uploaded straight onto the GRESB Portal. Data collection programmes can be at all levels of temporal granularity, from a one-off annual request ahead of GRESB, to half-hourly data imports into our M&T module.

Q.  How can I improve my GRESB scores?

Each entity is a little bit different and will be stronger and weaker in different areas, however these are some general areas that you can target:

  • Get an EMS – Having an Environmental Management System in place not only scores points directly on the GRESB Survey, but has the indirect effect of planning and guiding your ESG strategies to be as effective as possible.
  • Sort your data – As outlined above, PI data is a huge part of the Survey so it’s worth the effort of organising it. EVORA’s bespoke environmental data management software, SIERA, is perfect for minimising effort and maximising performance in these elements of GRESB.
  • Green Building Certifications – with a global average of just 46 out of 100 last year, the Certifications aspect is a common weakness for participants. At EVORA, we have in-house BREEAM, WELL, LEED and Fitwel Assessors, so get in touch if you’re interested in certification to bolster your GRESB score and reap the wider benefits of certification.

Read more about our research and how to improve your score in this blog.

Q.  Can you make a submission without disclosing the results?

A cornerstone of GRESB, as an investor-driven sustainability assessment, is that the results can be made visible to investors. However, there is a “Grace Period” for first time participants allowing them to opt-out of sharing  result whilst they get to grips with the Survey.

Q.  Can I only submit my evidence and responses in English?

Responses do have to be made in English, however, GRESB will allow you to submit foreign language documents as evidence. In these circumstances, be sure to clearly indicate in the open text boxes provided exactly where in the document the relevant information is held, along with a thorough summary of content. This will help ensure nothing is missed or misinterpreted.

Q. What happens after I make my submission?

GRESB’s response validation process takes place in July and August, with the official results released at a series of events across the world in September. You will also receive your Benchmark Report at this point, which gives you the full breakdown of how you did on each Dimension, Aspect, and Indicator. Off the back of this, EVORA offers a “GRESB Gap Analysis” to new and existing clients, where one of our in-house experts will evaluate your performance and pick out key opportunities for improvement, and can then help implement them. In truth, for top GRESB performers, the process never really stops! The Survey really rewards comprehensive, sustained sustainability programmes.


Year-on-year the GRESB survey is becoming increasingly comprehensive. This year increased scrutiny has been placed on some existing questions, such as asking that Green Building Certification ratings be provided, some new questions have been added, and every participant will be subject to at least a low-level of validation. Furthermore, the currently optional Health & Wellbeing and Resilience modules are set to be built into the main Survey next year and in three years respectively. I expect this trend of increasing complexity and moving goalposts to continue as investor demands expand and change, so having an experienced GRESB consultant to provide support will become increasingly important.

Here at EVORA, we are entering our seventh year assisting with GRESB submissions, and have acquired a great knowledge base in this time to help maximise your GRESB performance. We have experience of delivering more than 150 submissions, including a number of 5 Star submissions and Sector Leader status.

In conclusion, I think the key takeaways for a successful GRESB submission is to: make sure everyone on all level is well informed and knows their role, start your submission early, use SIERA, and get an experienced consultant on board to help out.

If you have anymore questions about the content of this blog or GRESB in general, get in touch and our team of experts will be happy to help.


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.

Do you know how to assess the financial risks related to climate change on your business?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to separate climate related risk from the conventional view of financial risk.

So how do you assess the financial risks related to climate change?

Unpredictable weather patterns across the world can influence everything from food prices, health costs, retail clothing sales patterns as well as how effective and efficient our buildings are at being comfortable places to live and work in.
This has been acknowledged globally by G20 finance ministers and Central Bank governors who tasked the Financial Stability Board (FSB) with helping various stakeholders such as investors, lenders, and insurers – identify, quantify and report on climate-related financial risks.


The FSB, an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system includes members such as Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and representatives from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Its taskforce released a series of recommendations (Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, Bloomberg, 2017) structured around four thematic areas: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets.

Financial risks related to climate change – Scenario Analysis

A key element of the report is that organisations should use scenario analysis to assess potential financial implications of climate-related risks and opportunities and disclose those in their financial filings.

Organisations are encouraged to select a set of scenarios to include a global warming potential of 2°C and potentially 2 more global warming scenarios across different timelines.

Real Estate

One sector that is particularly at risk from climate change is the real estate sector. Energy consumption and asset resilience are key elements for the sector which can be directly and linearly related to climate conditions.

Increasingly real estate investors are wanting more information and data on sustainability and its predicted influence on property value and sector decision making.

Building Information Modelling for Strategic Asset Management (BIM:SAM) Modelling

EVORA EDGE (EDGE) has pioneered the use of energy models for strategic asset management purposes. Using CIBSE future weather data, EDGE can literally simulate and stress test building performance and building resilience in a virtual environment across 3 or 4 climate change scenarios. Using leading software, we can create financial models around building capital and life cycle costs within the energy model.

This 3-D digital modelling technique, which we call BIM:SAM (see below), enables our clients to identify climate related risk over the short, medium and long term. And this enables both the optimisation of existing building use as well as future-proofing.

This same model can be used to manage EPC MEES risk and can be transferred with the property creating a digital passport for the lifetime of the building.


What is BIM:SAM?

EVORA BIM-SAM Logo TM

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

Strategic Asset Management (SAM) involves the balancing of costs, opportunities and risks against the desired performance of assets.

 


To speak to our EDGE Technical Engineering division, please contact us.

Why sustainability cannot be ignored by the real estate industry

A key motivation when we started this business was for sustainability to be seen and accepted as a valuable asset management tool by the property industry. Seven years on, has our goal been achieved? Read on!


What is sustainability in Real Estate?

Sustainability can mean many different things to many different people so to keep it simple, I see sustainability in Real Estate as delivering enduring value. For the real estate industry, ultimately, for a building to be sustainable it needs to be occupied both now and for the foreseeable future, delivering an acceptable return to the investors.

Delivering value comes down to the key drivers of occupancy, rent, lease length and covenant strength so if a sustainable approach can enhance any of those key elements it will deliver value, in the same way as any other asset management tool. That has been my approach for the last seven years although I hope some of our methodologies have matured!

Sustainability is far more than managing energy, water and waste. Don’t get me wrong, these are important aspects, which can reduce the operating costs of a building and improve its resilience, all of which should be attractive to the occupiers.

Does this deliver quantitative returns?

The answer is not obvious in Europe, although the award-winning study entitled “Decomposing the Value Effects of Sustainable Real Estate Investment: International Evidence” measured the impact of sustainable investment on the value and performance of listed real estate investment firms (REITs) and found that strong sustainability practices are associated with superior investment performance.

More importantly, if you ignore sustainability you marginalise your ability to attract the broadest scope of occupiers, potentially those most likely to have the best covenant strength who often also have the strongest CSR credentials. We have experienced, on a number of occasions, corporates matching this profile, willing to commit to longer leases for buildings which have excellent green credentials. This is of course not a one size fits all.

What does this mean?

At a regulatory level, in the UK it is now unlawful to let a building if it does not have a minimum EPC energy rating of an E. In addition E rated properties may still be at risk from MEES regulations. This is significant. For the first time we have energy efficiency regulation that impacts rental income and value. It will be interesting to see if this transitions into Europe in the future.

Interestingly though, we have seen greater uptake of sustainability through voluntary reporting than enforced regulation. GRESB, the global sustainability benchmark survey has mobilised the real estate industry over the last few years with 850 portfolios participating in 2017, representing more than USD$3.7 trillion in assets under management. GRESB is investor driven, to assess the environmental, social, governance (ESG) performance of their investment managers, where many see ESG as a fiduciary duty to protect and enhance future value of their investments. It is also interesting to note that research in July 2017 by Dirk Brounen and Maarten van der Spek identified a return premium of 3% between the highest and lowest GRESB scoring participants.

What practically should we be thinking about for the future?

So there appears to be some quantitative correlation to performance if enough research is done. But what practically should we be thinking about for the future?

For me, the three big impacts to plan for will be climatic change, technological advances and a generational shift in behaviour. I’m not going to dwell on climate change but the combination of rapidly advancing technology with a changing work culture will see a move away from honest work for honest pay to meaningful work in a meaningful environment. The advent of health and wellbeing to deliver a ‘meaningful environment’ is already upon us and my instinct tells me this will be the new face of sustainability, which will mobilise the industry far more quickly than just measuring energy.


To speak to a member of the team about how we can support you, please contact us.

PropTech: A Real Estate (R)Evolution

Back the 1980’s I was co-founder of a software company, which specialised in creating systems for the (then) new generation of PC’s. Myself and my colleagues had learned our programming skills whilst studying for PhDs using massive mainframe computer systems with clunky user interfaces and torturously slow software development cycles. We seized upon the new generation of “Micro Computers” that had emerged in the 1980s and new software tools that let us develop systems far quicker.

We started to develop software for the commercial real estate market, creating a system that allowed agents to match client requirements against a database of available property. We created a centralised service to compile the database of property and distributed it by electronic bulletin board. Fairly rapidly, we had all of the major agents using our system with over 100 clients.


This was before the internet. In short, we had used technology to disrupt an industry, revolutionised the distribution of information, automated manual processes and consolidated effort. I guess these days we would have beards and drink flat whites in some trendy loft studio near Old Street.

30 years ago PropTech was confined to the primal needs of the commercial real estate world, namely managing the process of finding tenants or a suitable property, managing the process of rent and services charge, and valuing the property. And that was about it.

These processes remain core to the PropTech offerings that are currently on the market and over the years they have been augmented by new technologies, but we have not necessarily seen disruptive change. The advent of the Internet in the 90s bought about huge changes in the way that property could be marketed, but, did this really shake the residential and commercial agency markets? New technological developments are bringing new products to the market but will we see further ‘disruption’?

Let’s examine the potential for change.

EVORA Global Proptech in Real Estate


Virtual and augmented reality

This technology certainly has the potential to enhance and quicken the design process, allowing the client to get closer to what their space will could look and feel like. Certainly, this technology will impact the way that architects and designers work with their clients, reducing the cycle time from concept to finished product.

However, in reality, is this tech making an existing process more efficient rather that creating a new model?

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT has the potential to enhance the way that we monitor and control space. It’s noticeable that some BMS vendors are now rebranding as IoT vendors. Closer control and monitoring will enable more cost efficient and environmentally sustainable use of our workspaces. As suggested this technology is already disrupting the BMS market, causing established vendors to shift their stance as new players start to infiltrate their market with new platforms that allow monitoring and control of workspace use, CO2 levels, basic energy use and focussing on a ‘Wellbeing’ agenda.

IoT has the potential to also produce lots of Big Data, but what does that mean?

Big Data

The potential for Big Data within real estate is enormous. At a micro scale, looking at data from IoT sensors and BMS and meter data and also on a macro scale, analysing value trends etc.

But, as Dan Areley of Duke University said:
Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…

There is the potential for Big Data to extract nuance and understanding from complex systems. In real estate terms, to be able to identify how factors such as weather, occupancy and footfall can impact on cost and environmental impact.

The issue with Big Data is that by its very nature, it is big. So big that conventional Business Intelligence tools cannot really cope with the sheer volumes that are in play and the complexity of the relationships between the data. The potential for disruption through enhanced insight is always possible but, with current tech, unlikely.

But there is hope, in the form of AI/Machine Learning, how would this look for the Real Estate industry?

Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning

AI/Machine Learning is the new kid on the analytics block and is the key to unlocking the value of the Big Data that could disrupt many aspects of the real estate world, such as valuations, sustainability, planning and market analysis.

The driver behind AI/Machine Learning is Data Science, a whole different approach to analytics. It is not so much about the evolution of Business Intelligence (BI), but more of a completely new approach, a new species.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Data Science offers the opportunity for discovering new questions to be answered and takes the approach of statistically analysing the data, so that the relationships between the different data types can be articulated as a model.” quote=”Data Science offers the opportunity for discovering new questions to be answered and takes the approach of statistically analysing the data, so that the relationships between the different data types can be articulated as a model.”]

BI is about KPIs, charts and answering questions that we knew – in very crude terms – sorting, grouping, charting and comparing data that exists in regular structures. Data Science offers the opportunity for discovering new questions to be answered and takes the approach of statistically analysing the data, so that the relationships between the different data types can be articulated as a model. As that model becomes refined and perfected that gives us the intriguing possibility of prediction.

DAaaS – Data Analytics As A Service

Data Science isn’t new, it has been around for around 30 years and arguably, has been driven forward more recently by faster processing, high capacity storage. This is now manifesting itself as DAaaS – Data Analytics as a Service. Cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are offering storage, data handling and modeling tools to provide the possibility of creating predictive analysis opportunities based on our own data. However, these tools require new skills in our teams, Data Scientists to create the models that we need.

So don’t be surprised to see service providers and end users on the real estate market recruiting and training Data Scientists, which will lead to the creation of value from Big Data. This value, in terms of strategic and operations advice will in turn reveal The Big Answers and also The Big Questions.

Blockchain

Whereas Big Data is a fairly easily understood concept, Blockchain causes a few difficulties. Firstly, what is Blockchain and, secondly, how could impact the real estate world and, in particular, the sustainability agenda?

Blockchain originated back in 2008 as a digital ledger that provides a way of encrypting and providing transparency for cryptocurrency transactions. More recently, it being seen as a way of encrypting transactions between parties in such a way as to provide total transparency and auditability. In the real estate world, this could be used to encapsulate lease transactions, rent payments and rent review agreements. If we extend our crystal ball into the sustainability world then we could see Blockchains between utility companies and consumers, providing investment strength data with regards to energy consumption.


EVORA can help you capture your building data with SIERA Sustainability Software. Contact Us for a demo.