Health and Wellbeing Certification Standards 101

This post was co-authored by Oli Pye, Associate Director and Rhianne Menzies, Junior Sustainability Consultant

Momentum behind the topic of health and wellbeing in commercial real estate is building […no pun intended…] and we at EVORA are committed to expanding our expertise in this area significantly. We firmly believe that the health and wellbeing of building occupants is now a critical element of the wider sustainability agenda. Here we set out a post about Health and Wellbeing Certification Standards.

In support of this, we recently held our own wellbeing event in partnership with BRE as we were keen to bring operational assets into a discussion that has so far tended to focus on the new builds and major refurbishments.

Furthermore, and looking closer to home, we recently assessed the positive improvements to our own wellbeing in our office move earlier this year and published the results on our website for all to see.

As has been evidenced by the vast amounts of discussion around the WELL Building Standard, certification schemes have played and will continue to play a vital role in the evolution of the conversation around health and wellbeing. They not only provide standardised, third party-validated assessments that support performance benchmarking, but they are also used widely as key pieces of reference material for the industry.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Certification schemes will continue to play a vital role in the evolution of health and wellbeing” quote=”Certification schemes have played and will continue to play a vital role in the evolution of the conversation around health and wellbeing”]

So, which scheme(s) can be used to assess what type of building, at what cost, and to what level of rigour? And which scheme(s) should be consulted when developing an internal strategy to progress health and wellbeing?


Three key standards – Fitwel, WELL and Reset

As the number of certification schemes has recently begun to proliferate in earnest, we thought now would be an appropriate time to provide a brief introduction to the three front runners: WELL, Fitwel and RESET.

[clickToTweet tweet=”EVORA provides a brief introduction to the three front runners: WELL, Fitwel and RESET” quote=”We have provided a brief introduction to the three front runners: WELL, Fitwel and RESET”]

This blog forms the first in a series of health and wellbeing-related communications. Following this ‘introduction’ to the three dominant certification schemes, we will return to each scheme one by one and in greater detail. The next blog will take a detailed look at Fitwell, then we’ll tackle WELL and RESET.

(It is worth noting that established green building certification schemes such as BREEAM and LEED also cover aspects of health and wellbeing within their assessments. These schemes are not covered in this blog.)


Fitwel – Simpler, holistic, office-focussed, no mandatory credits, no onsite validation

Fitwel is a process for assessing the level to which a building supports the overall health and wellbeing of its users. It looks and feels like a normal building rating system – e.g. BREEAM or LEED – with its guidance document, assessment criteria and evidence requirements. Its assessment process is more straightforward, with photos taken on a mobile device providing sufficient evidence for many criteria and an online portal that serves as a one stop shop for guidance materials, pre-assessment, assessment and verification.

In our experience, Fitwel has been ‘on the scene’ in the UK for roughly 12 months. From the beginning, it has been touted across the industry as being easier and more cost-efficient than other schemes. This is undoubtedly true though it remains to be seen whether it’s correspondingly less prescriptive approach is accepted by the industry as being sufficiently robust. As of March 31st 2017, there were three projects in the process of achieving certification in the UK.

EVORA Global Fitwel Table


WELL Building Standard – Complex, holistic, robust, mandatory credits, onsite validation

Like Fitwel, The WELL Building Standard (‘WELL’) is an assessment routine that takes a holistic look at building-related health and wellbeing – the topics it covers ranges from indoor air quality to sleep. It also has all the hallmarks of a typical building rating system – guidance, criteria and evidence requirements etc. However, just 5 minutes with both manuals in front of you and it becomes very clear that they are quite different in their level of complexity. WELL assessment criteria are more prescriptive and unlike Fitwel they contain many mandatory performance standards that must be third-party validated.

WELL is undoubtedly the preeminent health and wellbeing assessment for buildings. With the first manual released in 2014, it has certainly been around the longest.

Despite its profile and the number of assets registering under the scheme, so far only a relatively small number of assets have seen it through to certification in the UK: 20 registered; 1 certified (as of 16th August 2017).

Costs were taken from the WELL ‘Pricing Calculator’

EVORA Global WELL Building Standard Table


RESETAir quality, robust, flexible, onsite validation

RESET (Regenerative, Ecological, Social & Economic Targets) is a modularised certification programme, currently covering just ‘Air’ – i.e. indoor air quality. According to their website, new modules to assess ‘Comfort’ and ‘Environment’ are in development.

RESET Air is a sensor-based certification programme that requires ongoing measurement via real-time monitors and communication of results directly to users. It’s stated aims are to standardise and validate the quality of sensors, their installation and calibration. It also sets standards for overall performance and reporting the results to building occupants. RESET does not prescribe any routes to compliance (i.e. design criteria); instead, it is entirely results-based. There are a number of completed certifications in Asia, although we are not currently aware of any completed certifications in the UK.

Costs were taken from the RESET ‘Pricing Calculator’

EVORA Global Reset standard table


Health and Wellbeing Certification Standards – Concluding Remarks

Fitwel – If you want a relatively quick and cost-efficient third-party verified stamp of approval for new or existing assets. Challenges may arise in conveying the relevance of the standard to prospective and existing tenants, however, it should provide an effective framework for discussions.

WELL – A belt and braces design, assessment and certification routine. Likely a higher cost option, when considering certification, consultancy and capital expenditure fees but correspondingly robust and well received across the industry. Certainly, one to consider for ‘lighthouse’ schemes going through construction or major refurbishment. The manual is freely available and so provides a useful reference guide for those wanting to benchmark and or update their strategic approach to health and wellbeing without going for full certification.

[clickToTweet tweet=”WELL provides a guide to update your strategic approach without going for full certification” quote=”WELL provides a useful reference guide for those wanting to update their strategic approach to health and wellbeing without going for full certification”]

RESET – One to watch closely and in the short term. There is a real need for standardisation around sensor calibration and implementation and air quality is arguably the first health and wellbeing aspect that as an industry we need to get right. It is easy to imagine a procedure like this becoming a statutory responsibility in the near future, particularly in public (e.g. schools) and health/social-care related buildings. Forward-thinking corporate occupiers are also likely to be highly interested in this scheme.


Interested in exploring health and wellbeing risks and opportunities relating to your portfolio? Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation with one of our expert consultants.

Six weeks in the life of an EVORA Data Analyst

The EVORA team has grown by 108% since May last year. Jenny, our new EVORA Data Analyst tells us what the first six weeks of EVORA life have been like.


Straight into GRESB deadline season

I joined as an EVORA Data Analyst at an extremely busy time of the year, it was the business end of the GRESB window, which resulted in me being plunged into the deep end from my first day. After my initial induction where I learnt more about EVORAs recent expansion I began on my first (of many!) GRESB tasks. GRESB was a completely new concept to me, and the amount of data which needed to be collected and analysed was mind-boggling, but thankfully we had SIERA to take a lot of the pain away. Whilst being given responsibility on the first day can be a little bit daunting it was great for me as the usual first day nerves didn’t have time to take hold. The main problem was the fact that it was the hottest day of the year and everyone in the office was melting!


CRC – allowances, annual reports and data audits

With GRESB behind us just a couple of weeks after joining, the CRC deadline was then looming. At University, I had briefly studied the CRC so I knew the basic principles and the intention of the legislation. However, I wasn’t aware of the amount of data which needed to be collated and the amount of money our clients pay for allowances in order to ensure compliance. Calculating the allowances, compiling annual reports and completing data audits resulted in me taking a lot on board in a short space of time – which was a steep learning curve. I was shocked to discover that following the 2018-19 reporting year the government are scrapping the CRC. Whilst it may be considered overly burdensome with regards to the time taken to collate the data and general administration – it at least keeps energy on the business agenda. Whilst adding extra monies onto electricity and gas bills (after 2019) is going to result in a similar amount of monies going into the government purses it doesn’t exactly have the same impact on business as ordering £200,000 worth of carbon allowances!

I was shocked to discover that following the 2018-19 reporting year the government are scrapping the CRC. Whilst it may be considered overly burdensome with regards to the time taken to collate the data and general administration – it at least keeps energy on the business agenda


SIERA – collate and analyse vast data sets quickly and easily

In addition to the GRESB and CRC deadlines, quarterly performance reporting has become a huge part of my daily life at EVORA. With the assistance of SIERA I collate and analyse vast data sets of electricity, gas and water consumption across various assets for multiple clients. The most rewarding part is when the performance reports we produce directly help to focus the facilities and building managers on the areas which matter. For example, we recently issued a quarterly performance report to a building manager which highlighted poor gas performance. Within an hour, emails had been sent to tenants asking about their heating requirements and the M&E engineer was investigating potential issues with the boilers. Without our reports – none of that would have happened, they might have just noticed that their bill was a bit higher for the quarter. I find this part of my job extremely fulfilling as these reports directly help our clients to discover their inefficiencies, improve the performance of their assets and ultimately save money.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s rewarding when performance reports directly help facilities/building managers on areas which matter” quote=”The most rewarding part of this is when the performance reports we produce directly helps to focus the facilities and building managers on the areas which matter.”]

When I mentioned at the start of this blog that I joined EVORA at a particularly busy time of the year I was wrong. I don’t think there ever is a quiet time of the year at EVORA! I have joined EVORA at an exciting time; the recent rapid expansion of the company demonstrates just how in demand our services are. I can’t wait to get stuck into the next task sent my way (potentially Environmental Management System work or shadowing an energy audit). Here’s to the next six weeks!


You can keep up to date with vacancies at EVORA on our social media channels: Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

BIM:SAM – A Revolutionary Way To Optimise And Future-Proof Your Buildings In A Digital Age

Strategic asset management within the BIM environment; bringing all the information you need into one building model

EVORA EDGE‘s remit is to support clients to implement sustainability at both fund and asset levels. We do this by helping to design, deliver and manage technical engineering solutions to the built environment. To support our delivery of these technical services, EVORA EDGE has developed an innovative management approach, which we call BIM:SAM – Building Information Modelling for Strategic Asset Management.

BIM:SAM is nothing mysterious or untested. It’s our way of delivering a connected, intelligent approach to designing, maintaining, monitoring and reporting asset performance within the Commercial Real Estate sector.

[clickToTweet tweet=”BIM:SAM – EVORA’s approach to managing the challenges that exist within commercial real estate” quote=”BIM:SAM is our approach to managing the many challenges that exist within commercial real estate, and is our way of future-proofing properties in a digital age.”]


BIM:SAM – a ‘one stop shop’ for managing real estate challenges.

  • 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.

EVORA has created a methodology for combining BIM technologies with SAM processes into a ‘one stop shop’ solution that informs the building management process, resulting in a useful transferable asset – the building information model.

The schematic below demonstrates how, acting as a technical manager, we use BIM:SAM to manage commercial real estate and developments.

BIM:SAM Projects diagram

As you can see, the BIM can be created for a number of solutions, such as a high-level MEES risk assessment, a Health and Wellbeing study, or as part of a building services design project.

Whatever the requirement, the same BIM can be used as a ‘digital passport’ for your building, recording data and information of the building and its services – one model, multiple functionalities.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The launch of BIM:SAM provides a ‘one stop shop’ approach to delivering M&E technical consultancy” quote=”The launch of BIM:SAM now provides a ‘one stop shop’ approach to delivering M&E technical consultancy”]


Merging real intelligence and innovation with strategic asset management.

The typical M&E/FM service model below illustrates how the M&E consultant’s role can be restricted to periodic checking and/or specific project involvement:

Conversely, our BIM:SAM model below illustrates how EVORA EDGE, as a Technical Manager, continuously interacts with the Property Manager by using a dynamic building information model.

This BIM can be integrated with our SIERA software to create a powerful monitoring and targeting (M&T) toolset. BIM:SAM merges real intelligence and innovation with strategic asset management.

SIERA BIM:SAM diagram

At the heart of BIM:SAM is the relationship between our Technical Manager and the Property Manager. We develop and provide the building information model that informs the decision-making process.

Within our model and our SIERA platform, we collate the information required such as energy usage, CO2 emissions (embodied carbon and operational), asset condition reporting, maintenance scheduling and life expectancy reporting.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Using a dynamic BIM model alongside @SIERAsoftware can bring innovation to asset management” quote=”By using a dynamic BIM model, alongside monitoring and targeting through our SIERA software, we can bring real intelligence and innovation within the strategic asset management approach”]


Outputs that are easily integrated and simple to understand.

EVORA EDGE is experienced in using BIM processes to manage MEES risks, engineering and energy efficiency, resource efficiency and capital cost planning.

Our systems follow the recommendations in the RICS New Rules of Measurement (NRM) Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building works. This ensures that any outputs can be easily understood and integrated into capital cost planning and asset management by non-engineering professionals.


BIM:SAM in action.

Guildford Borough Council

We used our BIM:SAM approach to undertake an exciting project for Guildford Borough Council, supporting it with its CO2 reduction strategy.

Download our Guildford Borough Council case study here.

EPAM

We have been appointed by our client EPIC Property Asset Management Ltd (EPAM) to conduct a BIM:SAM project at 120 Old Broad Street – a 49,000sqft multi-let office building. We look forward to sharing the results of this work soon, and at X Energy 2017 in October, at which we are the Building Optimisation Partner.


The benefits of our BIM:SAM approach:

  • Managed by technical M&E specialists
  • Centralised data collation, consistent processes and simplified reporting structures
  • BIM ‘Digital Passport’
  • Data quality and performance modelling
  • Conditioned-based monitoring and intelligent PPMP
  • Performance Management – energy and productivity
  • Future-proofing of assets
  • Health and Wellbeing planning
  • Improved fund performance

To learn more about BIM:SAM and how it can revolutionise your approach to asset management, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or download our BIM:SAM brochure for all the information in a handy PDF.

Health And Wellbeing In Practice: 7 Ways Our Office Move Has Improved Life At EVORA

In March 2017, after four years at Vintage House on Albert Embankment, close to Vauxhall, our London team relocated to The Hop Exchange on Southwark Street, by London Bridge and Borough Market.

Having outgrown Vintage House, we took the opportunity to look for a space that provided a better working environment. As sustainability practitioners, we are acutely aware of the health and wellbeing agenda. Improvement of our own employees’ health and wellbeing was therefore seen as paramount.

Employee opinions matter to us, so we decided to complete short before-and-after staff surveys, issued in our final week at Vintage House and again after our first four months at The Hop Exchange. The results have helped us to understand the hugely positive impact the office move has had on our employees’ health and wellbeing, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.

Let’s dive straight in and look at the results.


(All questions except 4 and 7 were based on the following format: “To what extent do you agree with the following statement?”, where 10 was “Completely agree” and 0 was “Completely disagree”.  With 16 employees taking the survey, there was a maximum score of 160 for each question.)

Health & Wellbeing

1. Physical Exercise

“Facilities at the office enable you to participate in physical exercise. (Consider the availability of showers and the proximity to external facilities – gyms, swimming pools, etc.)”

Vintage House: 70
The Hop Exchange: 70
Change: 0%

This question proved to be the anomaly of the set, as it’s the only one for which the results showed no improvement.

Vintage House was considered by staff to be in a worse location overall as far as being able to do exercise was concerned, but it gained bonus points for having a shower room. This enabled people to cycle to work and freshen up before heading into the office for the day.

At The Hop Exchange, although it’s in a better location generally (closer to a variety of gyms etc.), unfortunately we have no shower facilities – yet!

2. Healthy Eating

“You are able to access varied and healthy eating options in the local area.”

Vintage House: 78
The Hop Exchange: 151
Change: +94%

The options for buying a varied and healthy lunch close to Vintage House were extremely limited, with only a Pret a Manger, a Sainsbury’s, and a small handful of other places nearby.

Relocation to The Hop Exchange, which is situated next to the thriving Borough Market, has meant that we have access to a huge variety of different food every day, including a truly enormous range of fresh fruit and vegetables.

3. Natural Ventilation

“You are able to benefit from natural ventilation.”

Vintage House: 55
The Hop Exchange: 92
Change: +67%

“Productivity improvements of 8-11% are not uncommon as a result of better air quality.” – ‘Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices’, UK Green Building Council

While there was the option to open windows at Vintage House, there was always an element of compromise between the temperature and noise levels from outside. With the office being adjacent to the busy Waterloo railway tracks, if the windows were open, the noise levels increased significantly. Windows would often remain closed with the air conditioning on. However, this didn’t allow for natural ventilation and the temperature often dropped too low due to the inefficient air conditioning unit’s thermostat controls.

At The Hop Exchange, we have tried to optimise ventilation now that noise from outside is less of an issue. There is the option to open various windows both in the main office and also in the meeting room to allow for circulation of air throughout the space, especially in the morning after the office has been closed up for the evening and the air has become stuffy.

We’re confident we can further improve this situation over time.

4. Indoor Environment

“How do you rate the overall indoor environment (temperature, air quality, noise)?”

Vintage House: 47
The Hop Exchange: 118
Change: +151%

This question saw Vintage House get its lowest score at just 47 out of 160. This was due to the combination of being unable to naturally ventilate the office (as described in Question 3 above) and an air conditioning system that wasn’t able to regulate the temperature particularly well, meaning that the space was often hot or noisy, or a combination of the two.

At The Hop Exchange, there are a number of options to improve both ventilation and temperature. A modern and much improved air conditioning system regulates the indoor temperature efficiently and there is also the option to open windows and circulate fresh air when the CO2 levels get too high. Hot desking in the office also allows employees freedom in where they sit so that they have some personal control of temperature in their immediate environment.

Since the survey, we have now also bought a variety of plants for the office in an effort to further increase the air quality and add a splash of colour.


Productivity

5. Productivity

“The office enables you to work effectively and productively.”

Vintage House: 82
The Hop Exchange: 134
Change: +63%

Vintage House gained its highest score for this question, but even that was only 82 out of 160. The building was well situated on Albert Embankment, with fantastic views of the Thames. Sadly, our office was on the wrong side of the building and we had a view of the train tracks leading to Waterloo – hardly conducive to a quiet working environment!

The Hop Exchange was an improvement for staff due to a better set-up of hot desking and the provision of new office equipment. I find that our excellent desks, chairs, and dual screen set-ups are particularly effective at increasing productivity. There is also better temperature control and ventilation (as discussed above), as well as an increase in the amount of natural light and a variety of spaces for working, socializing and a quiet space in which to make phone calls.


Job Satisfaction

6. Social interaction

“Facilities at the office provide opportunities for social interaction with colleagues and others in the building (e.g. provision of break-out areas, etc)?”

Vintage House: 54
The Hop Exchange: 134
Change: +148%

This was Vintage House’s second lowest score. The office had absolutely no breakout areas for the sole use of EVORA staff, meaning having quick meetings, a quiet space to make a phone call, or enjoying lunch together was practically impossible.

The layout at The Hop Exchange is far more conducive to socializing with colleagues, with an excellent breakfast bar allowing staff to enjoy time away from their desks together, whether it be meeting over a coffee or having lunch. With the exception of two desks, all others are hot desks and are arranged in small groups, encouraging collaboration and communication between colleagues from different teams and the sharing of ideas. Due to the local area, there is also the opportunity for more varied social activities outside of the office.

The 148% increase speaks for itself!

7. Overall satisfaction

“How do you rate the overall quality of the office space (considering all elements)?”

Vintage House: 71
The Hop Exchange: 134
Change: +88%

As evident from questions 1 to 6, there have been many improvements which have increased employee satisfaction since the move from Vintage House to The Hop Exchange. Our employees are very happy with the new office and the improvements in their working environment.

Importantly, it’s not just our London staff who are feeling the benefits of the move. Paul is based in our Greater Manchester office, but is in London every week for client meetings. Here’s how Paul finds the new office:

“I am delighted with our new office. It provides an ideal location for both permanent staff and visitors.  Important elements for me are location, access to public transport (it’s a stone’s throw from London Bridge) and quick access into the City, where many of our clients are based. However, most importantly, the abundance of natural light and office layout make it a great place to work.”

The Hop Exchange also has a real ‘wow factor’, thanks to its impressive facade and beautiful atrium – complete with old F1 racing car! This has a positive effect on our visitors, from clients to interview candidates, who all arrive at our office with a smile, commenting on how unique our office is. (View photos of The Hop Exchange here.)


Summary

Overall, the survey results are a great indication that we have a happy, productive workforce. This is of particular importance given our rapidly growing team – 100% growth since May 2016.

And we’re not stopping there… We are already considering new office improvement strategies, including increased use of plants and better communication of air conditioning control guidelines. And we’re also pushing our landlord for that all important shower!


Results Comparison Chart


To speak to us about health and wellbeing in your operational buildings, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Visit our YouTube channel to watch the highlights of our Healthy Buildings conference from April 2017.

How To Use A Data Management System To Improve Your ESG Performance

Data Management: stop guessing and start making informed decisions that achieve real results!


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said “A goal without a plan is just a wish”.

I couldn’t agree more. Without a plan, you’re basically lost and hoping you’ll get to where you want to go. But to make a plan you need to know where you are, what is on the road ahead of you, and understand if you’re heading in the right direction. In the world of sustainability this is where data comes in.

As I mentioned in my last blog, we create massive amounts of data in our buildings every day. The challenge is making sense of it all, allowing us to understand what the impacts of our actions are, and what we need to do (or not do) to reach our end goal.

A data management solution, therefore, is essential in helping you achieve your objectives – understanding your data will allow you to understand your challenges and make the right decisions.

Using SIERA, we have been able to identify energy savings of between 10-15% on average for our clients, without any CAPEX costs. Let’s put this figure into perspective for a moment: Investment buildings consume around 40% of the worlds energy and contribute up to 30% of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Imagine what results we could achieve collectively, globally, with said 10-15%  energy savings!

More than 95% of the world’s building stock is in existing buildings, and although we are making great advances in green technologies for new buildings, we need to make sure that we optimise the use of our existing ones as well.

Besides the potential of energy savings and GHG reductions, there are many other benefits to managing and sharing your data:

  • You can find and understand your data, allowing you to make more informed decisions
  • Business continuity if staff leave or new team members join
  • Avoid unnecessary duplication e.g. re-collecting or re-working data
  • Sharing data leads to more collaboration amongst teams
  • Improved scores on sustainability benchmarks through better management/data collection

Data management is not just about collating and reporting out the data. It is about understanding the data you’re producing to make informed decisions based on the results of your actions.

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Sir Winston Churchill


If you would like to learn more about the positive impact a data management system can have, please join our experts and GRESB on July 6th at 9.30 BST at our free webinar. More details on the webinar here.

In one hour, you’ll see how easy it can be to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of your buildings, and achieve your ESG goals!



PS – SIERA is now on Twitter! Here’s our first Tweet, which has already got people talking!

Webinar: How To Save Up To 70% Of Your Time On GRESB Using SIERA

UPDATE: This webinar is no-longer GRESB specific. We will still be showcasing the GRESB automation functionality, but due to high demand we will also be demonstrating SIERA’s other features, such as its M&T module, which has been described as ‘groundbreaking’, ‘visionary’ and ‘the best system of its kind’. Trust us – you’ll want to see this! Scroll down to book now.


Goodbye spreadsheets, hello automation!

We are delighted to be partnering with GRESB on this upcoming webinar.


What?

How to save up to 70% of your time spent on GRESB using SIERA. Discover how SIERA automation saves you time and stress by delivering immense GRESB reporting efficiencies.

When?

Thursday July 6th 2017, 09:30 – 10:30 BST

Who for?

This webinar is for all GRESB participant organisations, or those who are thinking of responding for the first time in 2018.


Don’t let GRESB reporting and multiple spreadsheets cause you undue stress next year. There’s a better way!

This live demonstration will show you:

  • How simple yet powerful SIERA is, and why it ‘wows’ everyone who sees it
  • How SIERA has revolutionised the collation of data in a format that enables Performance Indicator reporting thanks to its highly efficient drag-and-drop functionality
  • How the responses for various questions, including R5.1 (portfolio characteristics) and Q31 (EPC coverage), have been automated, thereby delivering even greater efficiencies
  • How easy it is to get started and how our expert consultants and SIERA will do the hard work for you

Following the demo, there will be a Q&A session with a representative of GRESB.


If any of this sounds appealing, what have you got to lose by attending this short free webinar?


[clickToTweet tweet=”I’m joining @GRESB and @evoraglobal on this upcoming webinar about #GRESB reporting automation!” quote=”I’m joining GRESB and EVORA on this upcoming webinar to learn about GRESB reporting automation using SIERA!”]


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.

Greater Automation in SIERA Delivers Even Greater GRESB Reporting Efficiencies

It’s that time of year again; GRESB reporting has the potential to take over your life.

The complexity in pulling together the varied data elements alone can be enough to make you want to pull your hair out! But GRESB continues to gain momentum and there is no doubt it is mobilising many organisations to take action to collate and better understand their environmental data, which should lead to performance improvement.

So is there a magic solution to deal with the complexity of GRESB data reporting?

Well yes, actually!

GRESB has allowed the automated transfer of Performance Indicator (PI) data from sustainability management software systems, such as SIERA, directly into the GRESB portal for the last few years.

SIERA, our proprietary sustainability software developed specifically for the real estate industry, was one of the first software platforms to transfer PI data directly into the GRESB portal, which we implemented for the 2015 reporting year.

The PI automation, together with SIERA’s revolutionary ‘Drag & Drop’ data loading capability has seen efficiencies of at least 70% in delivering GRESB reporting.

Automating the reporting is only one-half of the challenge. The potentially bigger half is the collation of the data in a format that enables the PI reporting. SIERA has revolutionised this process through its highly efficient ‘Drag and Drop’ data loading functionality – never before has loading and validating sustainability data been so easy and efficient.

[clickToTweet tweet=”SIERA’s drag & drop #data loading can lead to efficiencies of >70% in delivering @GRESB reporting” quote=”SIERA’s Drag & Drop data loading capability has seen efficiencies of at least 70% in delivering GRESB reporting”]

Even more GRESB reporting efficiencies for 2017?

This year, GRESB has gone a step further and incorporated additional questions, beyond the PI reporting, into their Asset-level Integration – an asset level template that can be interfaced into the GRESB portal providing semi-automation. These include some qualitative questions around whether the reporting entity monitors energy, water or waste (Qs 23 -24) as well as well as completion of technical building assessments (Q16).

SIERA has already built these into its GRESB Asset Interface template. But we’ve gone a step further with SIERA and automated the responses for R5.1 (portfolio characteristics) and Q31 (EPC coverage) delivering further efficiencies and simplification to the GRESB reporting process.

SIERA: it’s leading the way in GRESB data automation and reporting.


 To learn more about how SIERA can deliver GRESB reporting efficiencies, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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 Buildings Are Here to Stay

This post is authored by Dr. Paul Toyne, and it originally appeared on the Building4Change website. It has been reposted here with permission.


Good engagement, a strong business case backed up by data and a sense of shared responsibility were all on show at the Healthy Buildings conferences, suggesting health and wellbeing is not just a fad.


Earlier this month I chaired the Healthy Buildings conference which explored ways to improve health and wellbeing in existing commercial properties. Organised by BRE in partnership with EVORA, the day featured a stellar cast of expert speakers who spoke to a packed audience at ARUP’s London HQ.

The programme gave a platform to developers, landlords, architects, building services engineers, fit-out contractors, as well as occupiers, with detailed specifics on biophilic design, indoor air quality, thermal comfort, acoustics, water and thermal comfort. There were lots of fascinating presentations – more than I can do it justice to here. Instead, I will share my three main observations of the day.

Health and wellbeing (H&W) resonates with people on many different levels

I was struck by the high level of audience participation and how most people stayed until the end of the day, rather than leave after the lunch as is often the case at conferences. Why is this? Because in my view the H&W agenda resonates with people, engaging them on many levels, be it technical or emotional; H&W is a global trend that is not likely to go away. And rightly so, because who is not interested in their own wellbeing while working in an office and the impact that an office environment can have? Another subject of interest to the audience environment professionals was being able to understand their role in the value chain that provides these improvements – be it through design, product innovation or behavioural change. This I hope bodes well for wider adoption of H&W solutions.

Business case evidence for H&W is strong and expectations will increase

The day demonstrated the strong evidence that shows clearly the benefits of a healthy building for office occupants and how that translates to commercial benefits for employers and the landlord. It is stating the obvious that no-one wants to design and operate unhealthy buildings, but knowing what elements are essential to H&W and measuring their positive impacts is necessary to convince those who are solely influenced by the bottom line. Various speakers made reference to an array of studies that demonstrate just that. There is no longer the argument that the data is lacking or not market specific enough. Furthermore, I believe that it will be important for commercial office developers and landlords to act and demonstrate how they are improving their stock to their customers to protect their brand and reputation and their market share.

Collaboration and shared responsibility is driving the agenda

Finally, it was clear throughout the day how delegates and speakers felt a shared sense of responsibility for delivering better buildings and a genuine show of collaboration between developers, building managers and the occupiers to achieve this. Landlords and developers were acknowledging their responsibility, arguing that H&W was more than just the building but extended to improving the public realm. What, for example, is the point of improving indoor air quality if the moment you go out of the building for a break or for your commute, you are hit with air pollution. Developers talked about creating the right social infrastructure both within and outside the building, dealing with not just environmental concerns but social concerns such as homelessness. Throughout the day examples were given on how the different stakeholders were working proactively together and with their supply chains to deliver H&W outcomes.

So what does this all mean?

All this suggests that H&W is not a fad or a trend that will go away in a few months. If you consider it as a global trend, covering lifestyles, diet, exercise and technology to monitor performance, then there is no reason to exclude buildings from being part of the mix. Next time you are in your office ask yourself are you in a healthy building? If you don’t know the answer ask your landlord and soon you will open up a discussion that can only lead to better buildings. That is after all the goal we all want.

Watch all the presentations on the BRE Conferences YouTube channel.


Author

Dr Paul Toyne is an independent adviser on the sustainable built environment and professional chair of conferences and events. Find out more about him on www.paultoyne.com or follow Paul on Twitter @Paul_Toyne.


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Are You 100% Prepared for GRESB? Take this 2-minute survey to find out

The window for GRESB submissions opened on 1 April and participants have until 1 July to complete the survey.

At EVORA, we support over 50 submissions each year, making this time of year a very busy period for us.  We are GRESB Premier Partners, and operate SIERA, our market-leading software, to ensure effective collation and analysis of data. In short, we are GRESB experts!

To help you with your preparations, we have created the following self-diagnostic questionnaire.

It takes 2 minutes to complete and is comprised of simple Yes or No questions. The questions can be used to analyse progress and preparation, and to flag where further consideration is needed.

With less than 50 working days before the survey deadline, ensuring you’re well prepared is key.



Further GRESB Reading:


For any questions about GRESB, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are perfectly positioned to assist you.


Introducing the GRESB Public Disclosure Score for Listed Real Estate Companies

In January, GRESB released its first public disclosure score (PDS) cards for listed funds. These new ratings are designed to complement the existing assessment and to provide investors with insights that are not fully captured in the standard GRESB reports for listed real estate companies.

The GRESB Public Disclosure Assessment evaluates each participating listed property company’s sustainability information disclosure. The results are communicated by a scorecard. An example is shown below.

The GRESB Disclosure Score is based on an A to E sliding scale (where A is best). Listed participants that score an “A” demonstrate leadership in their approach to environmental, social and governance disclosure, and are characterized by a high degree of transparency on ESG commitments.

The PDS is generated by using responses to a subset of existing GRESB questions that relate to public disclosure of ESG issues.

GRESB states that:

‘ [The PDS] represents a base level of information for about 400 listed property companies globally, and could be utilized for integration into existing data platforms such as Bloomberg and S&P Global Market Intelligence.’

Results published in January 2016 are only available to participants. However, 2017 results will be available to GRESB members who are investors in the relevant funds – in the same way that full GRESB results are available now.

EVORA is a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner and approved Service and Data Provider. In 2016, we provided GRESB support to 44 participant funds. Click here to download a copy of our free GRESB eBook, Survey, Submission, Success!’

For all GRESB support enquiries, please contact us 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.