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Data Collection Important for Green Projects, Executive Says

01/24/2014 | By Mitch Irzinski

John Forester, director of energy and sustainability at REIT Management and Research, joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2014 Leader in the Light Working Forum in San Francisco.

REIT Management and Research manages several publicly traded REITs. Forester was asked if there are any particular sectors or property types where energy efficiency poses more of challenge.

“Our biggest challenge is collecting and aggregating the data on a regular basis,” he said. “Across all of our managed assets, we collect that data and make sure it’s updated, particularly with Energy Star as our baseline point. We get the property managers involved and we get the engineers involved and try to keep that data current. That’s just the first step in helping make energy decisions and project improvement decisions. We also have to aggregate data such as lease information, occupancy, lease length, lease terms–all of that data gathering is something we really focus on, and that’s a challenge across any of the sectors.”

Forester also talked about his current sustainability initiatives.

“A current initiative of ours is a combination of demand response and energy awareness program that we use for a piloted set of buildings,” he said. “What the program does is it helps develop a protocol for load shedding and demand response and earns revenue for the building. From that revenue, we’re able to pay for the efficiency-insight services.”

Forester shared his opinion regarding the next phase in energy use practices.

“I believe continuous commissioning is gaining more and more traction every year,” he said. “As buildings start to upgrade their energy-management systems to open protocol-style systems, the efforts required in order to get the overlay software into their systems is going to become more cost effective. Right now, with the technology, newer buildings that can implement this type of system relatively easily are, for the most part, performing much better than the buildings that have antiquated energy-management systems.”