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Management Support Critical to Sustainability, Executive Says

01/22/2014 | By Allen Kenney

Tom Klaritch, executive vice president of medical office properties for health care REIT HCP, Inc. (NYSE: HCP), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2014 Leader in the Light Working Forum in San Francisco.

HCP won a 2013 Leader in the Light Award in the health care category. Klaritch was asked about the keys to developing a successful sustainability program.

“I think, first and foremost, the support of our board of directors and executive management were key in the success of our program. Without that, you really can’t do a lot of the things you want to do,” he said. “Beyond that, if you look at how our team works to continuously improve the program, I think that really has generated great success over the years.”

Klaritch also cited HCP’s involvement with the Energy Star program starting in 2005 as an important building block for its sustainability platform. He noted that it provided the company with a benchmark to measure its progress. Klaritch also pointed to HCP’s participation in the Leader in the Light program as another significant boost to the company’s efforts to go green.

In 2011, HCP added two more “pillars” to its sustainability program, social and governance. Those efforts included publishing a supplier code of conduct for HCP’s vendors.

Klaritch discussed how HCP measures the results of its sustainability programs.

“First and foremost, we look at energy consumption,” he said. “If you look at our performance from 2007 to 2012, we were able to reduce our energy consumption by 15 percent in the buildings we benchmark in the Energy Star program. We also look at certifications of buildings. We have gone from one Energy Star-rated building in 2006 to where we now have 121. We have the most Energy Star-labeled buildings in the medical office building category.”

Klaritch also mentioned that HCP is increasing the number of its properties that are certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

In terms of challenges going forward, Klaritch said HCP has harvested the majority of the “low-hanging fruit” in its operations.

“We have to be on top of any new and existing energy efficiency equipment,” he said.