A new report published by the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Greenprint Center for Building Performance suggests that the global real estate industry continues to make progress in improving the environmental performance of existing buildings.

Volume 4 of the Greenprint Performance Report, which measures and tracks the performance of 3,232 buildings owned by Greenprint’s members, demonstrates a year-over-year reduction of 3.2 percent in energy consumption and 3.4 percent in carbon emissions. The report finds that the reduction in carbon emissions equates to nearly 268,400 barrels of oil not consumed, 24,044 cars taken off the road, and over 2.9 million trees planted in the past 12 months. The report also found a 21.4-percent increase in recycling, and only a modest 0.5-percent increase in water consumption.

green office buildingsThe property data was submitted to the Greenprint Center by its 31 members and affiliated partners, who comprise an alliance of the world’s leading real estate owners, investors and financial institutions committed to improving environmental performance across the global property industry. Greenprint is aiming to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the overall building emissions for its property portfolio by 2030.

The number of properties included in this year’s report has risen by 20 percent from last year, as Greenprint continues to expand both its membership and the building data collected from members. The portfolio has also grown by 15 percent in terms of floor area, and now includes over 75 million square meters (over 800 million square feet) of office, multifamily, industrial retail, and hotel property. The 3,232 buildings are located across 44 countries and accommodate more than 1.1 million people. Greenprint members hold over $600 billion (€450 billion) of real estate assets under management.

“The reduction in both energy consumption and carbon emissions are very encouraging signs and a clear indication that the global real estate sector is moving in the right direction,” said Greenprint’s Chairman Charles B. Leitner, III. “Greenprint continues to drive progress in improving the environmental performance of the real estate industry in ways that enhance the long-term value of our investments. I am proud of the progress we have made, but I know we can achieve more through leadership, commitment and stakeholder engagement.”

The Greenprint Performance Report is unique in that it provides an open standard for measuring, benchmarking and tracking energy usage and resulting emissions at a property, fund and portfolio level. The global scope and size of the report make it the industry’s largest, most verifiable, transparent and comprehensive benchmark of energy use and carbon emissions. Currently, the database includes 2,021 properties in the Americas; 1,022 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and 189 properties in Asia Pacific.

“Greenprint’s building performance management platform is a cornerstone of ULI’s efforts to promote sustainable land use practices,” said ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “The annual performance report provides the real estate industry with a useful indication of the progress being made in cutting resource consumption and reducing carbon emissions, and provides Greenprint members with an invaluable benchmark against which to measure their existing portfolios. Most importantly, it shows the positive environmental impact resulting from a solid commitment by Greenprint’s members to make a difference.”

Currently, Greenprint’s members are: Aetos Capital; AvalonBay; Beacon Capital Partners; BlackRock; Blackstone Group; CalPERS; CommonWealth Partners; Equity Office Properties; First Washington Realty; GI Partners; General Investment and Development Advisors, Inc.; GLL Real Estate Partners; Grosvenor; Hines; Jamestown Properties; Jones Lang LaSalle; LaSalle Investment Management; Miller Capital Advisory, Inc.; Paramount Group; PATRIZIA Immobilien; Prologis; Prudential Real Estate Investors; Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management; Silverstein Properties; Sonae Sierra; Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.; Thomas Properties; TIAA-CREF; Tishman Speyer and UDR. The center is guided by an advisory board that includes key industry leaders from Greenprint’s member companies.

In addition to working closely with its members, Greenprint continues to collaborate with its innovation partners Arup, Deutsche Bank, Gensler, Johnson Controls and Lutron. It also is strengthening its ongoing collaborative efforts with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the London Better Buildings Partnership. Over the past year, Greenprint has also established new alliances with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and the Downtown (Washington) D.C. ecoDistrict program. These relationships are creating opportunities for Greenprint to harmonize and scale standards and tools across the global real estate industry, while addressing the specific needs of individual markets.

Read the report: http://www.uli.org/research/centers-initiatives/greenprint-center/greenprint-performance-report/