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GRESB Results 2017: How SIERA Delivered Immense Efficiencies

The GRESB Results 2017 are out and the EVORA team is eagerly reviewing the scorecards and reports to see how our participating clients fared. Early indications are that the news is generally excellent. EVORA will have a presence at the results event in London next week, so we look forward to joining the other attendees to get GRESB’s view on the overall direction of travel.

Visit our GRESB support service page.


As one of the members of EVORA’s GRESB delivery team, I’ve been reflecting on the journey we took over the summer months to get to this point.

From a numbers perspective, it’s interesting to me that the effort to collate, validate and aggregate many and often disparate data points gets distilled down to a handful of scores across the main GRESB Aspects. The process of data gathering is a necessary function and can take a lot of time, but it’s important that participants and their delivery partners allow for time to understand the materiality of the data in each of the Aspects in relation to their business strategies. However, this is easier said than done when delivery times can often get compressed near the submission deadline. So it’s even more important that there are tools that drive efficiency in the data gathering and validation process so that we can take a step back from the detail to understand what the data is showing us.

[clickToTweet tweet=”@GRESB #data gathering can take a huge amount of time. The good news is that much of it can be automated with #SIERA.” quote=”GRESB data gathering can take a huge amount of time. The good news is that much of it can be automated.”]

For us as a delivery team, our system SIERA was vital in being able to provide the efficiencies we needed to be able to manage the sheer quantum of data that we were handling. The number of GRESB submissions that we were directly involved with delivering increased from last year by 57% to 36 in 2017. As many will appreciate, the sharp end of the data processing often relates to asset level data as this is more granular, so usually more assets means more data. To put this into context, in these direct submissions, we saw an 84% increase to just shy of 1000 assets collectively that without SIERA we would likely have found far more time consuming to manage.

New to SIERA? This video explains the software in less than 2 minutes.

SIERA is one of the systems that is helping with the shift away from manual entry to more automated transfer of data to the GRESB portal. Our Managing Director, Chris Bennett, wrote previously on how a more seamless transfer of data is welcome but it’s important we have visual clarity of the data being submitted. I’d like to explain a little more how SIERA helped provide both visual clarity but also massive efficiencies.

First of all, we had replicated GRESB’s Asset Level interface in SIERA so we could automate the transfer of not just the Performance Indicators but also a key set of qualitative asset level question responses and building characteristics. This meant that when we were happy with the data we could simply upload the SIERA template directly into the GRESB Portal and populate the Portfolio data, thus entirely removing the need to manually enter data into the GRESB Asset Spreadsheet.

This integration is only possible because SIERA’s database structure is fully aligned to GRESB’s data requirements. Even GHG calculations and waste volumes by disposal route are automatically calculated, which further reduces the chance of human error.

[clickToTweet tweet=”EVORA’s @sierasoftware significantly reduces the risks of human error when it comes to @GRESB’s #data requirements.” quote=”SIERA software significantly reduces the risks of human error when it comes to GRESB’s data requirements.”]

In 2017 we took SIERA beyond the Asset level interface to drive further efficiencies by automatically calculating the responses to a number of percentage coverage-related questions. Again, this was only possible due to SIERA’s ability to hold broad range of data types. For example, SIERA can store and profile EPC data for any EU region which meant that SIERA could automate the response to Q31, saving vast amounts of time using what would otherwise likely be spreadsheets. SIERA also replicated question RC 5.1 utilising the property characteristic information SIERA holds, which helped to align responses to the Performance Indicators.

The examples that I have highlighted in this post demonstrate how SIERA helped to save countless hours of data input which we typically estimated to be around a 70% time saving. EVORA is continuing to expand the question responses SIERA can auto-calculate and survey Aspects that can be more efficiently answered, so we look forward to being able to support on even more GRESB submissions in 2018.


Questions? Come and meet us at the GRESB Results 2017 Launch event in London on 13th September. To book a demonstration of SIERA, 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.

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.

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.

EVORA To Be Main Sponsor of The Crowd’s X Energy 2017

We are delighted to announce that we have teamed up with our friends at The Crowd and will be one of the Main Sponsors at X Energy 2017 in October.


EVORA has come a long way in its six years.

It’s amazing to think that Chris, Paul and Ed left DTZ to start Sustainable Commercial Solutions together in 2011, spotting an opportunity to deliver a better level of sustainability consultancy expertise to the commercial real estate sector. And then came SIERA, our sustainability management software, which was specifically designed for the commercial real estate investment market.

Fast forward six years and the EVORA team is now 21 strong, we’re revolutionising the way technical engineering and M&E consultancy services are delivered thanks to EVORA EDGE, and SIERA now manages data for the likes of Schroder Real Estate, USS, Europa Capital, and Rockspring to name a few. Not to mention all the GRESB work we do as a Premier Partner, and the multiple events we’ve hosted, including the 2016 40% Symposium in Berlin, and the Healthy Buildings Conference with BRE and Arup in London.

To be one of the Main Sponsors of an event like X Energy 2017 is another big step for us.

[clickToTweet tweet=”News: @evoraglobal to be Main Sponsor at @thecrowd’s X Energy 2017 in October! More info here” quote=”EVORA will be a Main Sponsor at The Crowd’s X Energy 2017 in October. 50+ already registered. More details here…”]

With 160+ senior energy, sustainability, property, and facilities professionals in the room, we will be hosting two roundtable sessions that play to our deep expertise in sustainability, energy, and data management (exact topics TBC), as well as having a series of one-to-one meetings with key decision makers who will be looking for support with their sustainability goals.

Here’s some information about the event, direct from the X Energy landing page:

This impactful half day event will explore the intersection of energy and tech, inspiring and connecting the leading minds from a mix of energy intensive sectors.

We’ll explore how disruptive technologies, new energy management strategies and financing models are exponentially changing energy programmes in large organisations, and share knowledge and latest thinking amongst the community. The programme on the day is a mix of inspiring keynotes, high level panels, peer roundtable discussions and structured networking.

With over 50 attendees already registered five months in advance, X Energy 2017 is already lining up to be a fantastic event.

We will be publishing a series of event-related content between now and October, so stay tuned to our blog and social media channels, and make sure you’re signed up to receive our newsletters.

Follow us on Twitter @evoraglobal, The Crowd @thecrowd, and search for the hashtag #XEnergy for event-related Tweets.


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.


To talk to us about improving health and wellbeing in your commercial properties, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


To be invited to our next Healthy Buildings event, make sure you are signed up to our mailing list.


 

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.


Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations: How they will impact flexible workspace from April 2018

Scroll down for our MEES Management 10-Point Strategy


What I’m about to write will come as a great shock to many operators in the serviced and managed office industries: you may not be able to sign up clients for more than 6 months as of April next year. This is less than a year away!


Why is the flexible workspace market at risk?

As of April 1 2018 landlords are no longer able to lease out commercial office space in buildings with an F or G EPC rating unless a time-limited exemption applies, which must be registered on an Exemptions Register.

Many serviced and managed office providers thought that they were exempt from this rule as they are not the primary landlord, however this regulation applies to any tenancy agreement over 6 months and this can include sub-leases and agreements sometimes referred to by serviced operators as licenses (we’d recommend that you speak to your solicitors to determine if your “license” really is a license or a lease/tenancy). This creates something of a challenge for the serviced workspace sector. But they are not the only ones who are not aware of the legislation: in a recent survey by Property Week magazine, 32% of all respondents did not know what MEES was and how it would impact their business.

[clickToTweet tweet=”In a recent @PropertyWeek survey, 32% of respondents still didn’t know what #MEES was…” quote=”In a recent PropertyWeek survey, 32% of respondents still didn’t know what MEES was and how it would impact their business.”]

MEES represents a significant risk to companies looking to sub-let space, because they may be treated as a landlord and as a result must undergo the same process of due diligence as the superior landlord.


What about the rest of the market?

Outside of the serviced office sector, occupiers of all types of non-domestic property may struggle to sublet sub-standard space without undertaking improvement work, the benefit of which may ultimately revert to the superior landlord. And while assignments are not captured until 2023, sub-standard properties may become stigmatised by their poor EPC rating making this type of transaction difficult. Indeed, there are already occupiers, such as Government and large corporates that will not lease sub-standard space. As an example, EVORA was recently engaged to develop an EPC improvement strategy by a fund landlord that needed to obtain a C EPC rating to secure a Government department. This requirement for a C rated property goes far beyond the requirements of MEES, highlighting the growing importance of EPCs as a benchmark for predicted energy efficiency.

Landlords with E (or even in some cases D) rated properties may still be at risk because the EPC calculation is dynamic. The calculation methodology is linked to Part L of Building Regulations which deals with the conservation of fuel and power in new properties. Part L, like most of Building Regulations, is updated on a periodic basis and the minimum energy efficiency targets in Part L have to-date been strengthened with each successive iteration. This has impacted the EPC rating, and in particular the changes adopted in 2010 affected EPC ratings from 1 April 2011 onwards (the date on which EPC software was updated). In plain English, what this means is that an E rated property before 1 April 2011 if reassessed today is likely to be an F or G rated asset if nothing in the building has changed. This means that planned preventative maintenance and improvements will need to factor in these regulations.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Landlords beware: even your D or E rated properties may still be at risk from #MEES…” quote=”Landlords beware: even your D or E rated properties may still be at risk from MEES regulations…”]

Failure to comply with the regulations will result in fines of between £5,000 and £150,000. The enforcement authority may also impose a publication penalty. This means that the enforcement authority will publish some details of the landlord’s breach on a publicly accessible part of an Exemptions Register.


What actions can you take?

Here is The EVORA 10-point Strategy for Managing MEES (an image version is available at the bottom of this post):

  1. For landlords with multiple assets, such as funds or workspace providers, review how you store your data. This should be digitalised and in a central and accessible location
  2. Identify where there are gaps in the data (missing EPCs etc.) and identify those assets that are at risk by virtue of their (EPC) rating, capital or rental value and/or a lease or transactional event
  3. Consider the use of software such as EVORA’s highly versatile, market-leading platform, SIERA
  4. Use or involve CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) accredited assessors, or assessors that work for a recognised and reputable engineering practice – preferably with additional professional qualifications (such as those recognised by the Engineering Council)
  5. Have your professional EPC assessor review the existing certificate for accuracy and relevance
  6. If it is necessary to prepare a new EPC, ask for an indicative (draft) certificate. The assessor may be able to deliver an improved rating by using better quality data and/or by having better knowledge of building services. However, if the asset remains at risk from MEES, then commission a strategy to improve the building to include capital costs, energy savings and, where appropriate, life cycle costs
  7. Review point 6 in the context of the lease(s) and the fund or asset management strategy
  8. Consider ways to recuperate capital costs through energy savings or asset management driven opportunities
  9. Ensure you retain future access to the energy model used to prepare the EPC and utilise it for energy and asset management purposes, including MEES management. After all, you paid for it!
  10. Finally, to ensure that you’re getting the best result from your EPC-driven improvements, review how operational performance can be monitored to determine if the predicted energy savings align with the operational realities. Again, SIERA can assist with this, thanks to its intuitive and easy-to-use monitoring and targeting capabilities

[clickToTweet tweet=”Here is the @evoraglobal 10-point Strategy for Managing #MEES Regulations…” quote=”Here is The EVORA 10-point Strategy for Managing MEES Regulations…”]


Final Thoughts

This all sounds very onerous, but in fact MEES should be regarded as an opportunity.

For occupiers

MEES is obviously an opportunity to save money through reduced energy bills and resultant CO2 emissions, and energy efficient buildings are more likely to help deliver a productive working environment.

There are also opportunities for occupiers to use MEES to mitigate rental increases after 1 April 2018 as a result of rent reviews and lease renewals. And it may be the case that occupiers can use MEES to reduce or remove any liability towards dilapidations.

For landlords

MEES is a great opportunity to engage with tenants, but if that were not incentive enough – MEES will become increasingly synonymous with building value and building resilience. Improve your EPC rating and you reduce your risk, and this could influence yields and even, in time, headline rents.

Energy savings could provide an opportunity to look at alternative methods of financing, using the value (£) of the energy saved to redeem finance. This could provide a cost-effective method of improving your estate.

Finally, for those looking to buy or sell sub-standard properties, MEES introduces an opportunity to discuss the price!


As CIBSE accredited assessors, we are perfectly positioned to support you with EPCs and MEES compliance. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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.