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A Game of Inches

07/08/2014 | By Matthew Bechard

Published July/August 2014

The process of collecting and analyzing data simply puts a team in the best position to have those inches work in its favor.

ONE OF THE reasons I have always loved baseball is because it is a game of numbers and percentages. Th at seemingly endless amount of data combined with the storied history of the game provides a layer of context that goes well beyond one play, one game or even one season.

Statistics are as ingrained in baseball lore as rawhide and pine tar. However, all that information only gave part of the picture, and it was often one without any real context. It wasn't until the advent of sabermetrics in the later part of the 20th century that teams began to empirically analyze data to improve in-game performance.

Baseball managers soon had an abundance of information at their disposal to support or refute what their “gut” was telling them.

The impact of analyzing data may be most apparent in how teams set up their defense. It wasn't long ago that only the most feared left-handed sluggers warranted adjusting a team’s infi elders. Now, teams have such exhaustive numbers on where every player is most likely to hit the ball that players re-align for every hitter—and sometimes even change within an at-bat.

Some baseball purists will debunk this new age of data as over-complicating what is meant to be a simple game. Th row the ball. Hit the ball. Catch the ball. But baseball is, and always will be, a game of inches. The process of collecting and analyzing data simply puts a team in the best position to have those inches work in its favor.

For many real estate owners, there is a debate arising over how best to collect, analyze and ultimately act on data surrounding energy efficiency and sustainability practices. Part of the challenge companies face is that there is no common reporting standard currently in place. And while the institutional investment community is beginning to seek out more transparency tied to sustainability activities, there are still questions over what and how much information investors ultimately want. Add to that the logistical challenge some companies face in obtaining reliable, timely information across broad portfolios.

A number of REIT executives are at the forefront of this new age of sustainability data. Th e article in this issue profiles some of the efforts they have undertaken to meet shareholder, regulatory and corporate demands. These companies will play a critical role in shaping how sustainability metrics influence the real estate investment landscape.

When you are talking about millions of dollars in energy savings across a portfolio or the ability to attract large-scale institutional capital, the inches certainly add up.

Matthew Bechard
Editor in Chief

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