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Nearly 40 million Americans invest in REITs

Sustainability Executive Still Sees Tenant-Landlord Disconnect

01/17/2014 | By Sarah Borchersen-Keto

Marla Thalheimer, director of sustainability at Liberty Property Trust, (NYSE: LRY), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2014 Leader in the Light Working Forum held in San Francisco, Calif.

Liberty Property Trust develops high-performance green office and industrial buildings. Liberty currently has 67 projects completed or under construction that are certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

Thalheimer was asked what she considers to be the biggest surprise in the REIT industry’s evolution in the area of sustainability.

“To me, one of the biggest surprises is that we’re still having a disconnect between tenant and landlord,” she said. “When the tenant and landlord can work together, it’s win-win, and the results are so much faster. It’s good for everybody, so it’s still a little surprising to me that we’re still having these same conversations from the tenant side.”

Thalheimer noted that the main goal of Liberty Property Trust’s sustainability program is creating value for the company’s underlying assets.

“We want to have a highly efficient building,” she said. “We want it to be sustainable, because we want it to be good for the people. All of that wraps in a whole list of things that does create a valuable asset.”

Looking ahead, Thalheimer reflected on the next stage of development for sustainability programs.

“There’s this whole conversation around data and technology and smart buildings. We’ve done a little bit of piloting of some technology, and I think we’re going to see a lot more of that, but I think the interesting thing about it is that the technology’s moving quickly… but people move slowly,” Thalheimer said.

“As technology continues to make our buildings smarter and smarter… we also need to continue to make sure that our people understand what it means to have that data and what to do with it and that we’re able to keep up with the technology and our tenants as well,” she added.