11/14/2012 | by
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NAREIT honored the 11 winners of its annual Leader in the Light Awards competition on Nov. 14. The awards, done this year in conjunction with the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) survey, honored member companies that have demonstrated superior portfolio-wide energy use practices and sustainability initiatives.

As the first year that the awards were migrated into GRESB platform, participants completed both the 2012 GRESB survey along with the supplemental 2012 Leader in the Light questions. This is also the first year that the awards were sector-driven with categories in each of the major REIT industries.

Winners were announced by Steve Wechsler, NAREIT's president and CEO, in both Large Cap and Small Cap categories for office, residential and retail. There was one award given for the health care, industrial, lodging/resorts and diversified REIT sectors.

"Sustainability is a critical issue and one that has become increasingly important to our industry as well as its investors," Wechsler said.

AvalonBay Communities Inc. (NYSE: AVB) took the Large Cap award and Post Properties Inc. (NYSE: PPS) took the Small Cap award for the residential sector.

Brookfield Office Properties Inc. (NYSE: BPO) was honored with the Large Cap award and Thomas Properties Group received the Small Cap award for the office sector.

In the retail category, Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) received the Large Cap award, while Equity One was presented with the Small Cap award.

The industrial award went to Prologis (NYSE: PLD). Hersha Hospitality Property Trust (NYSE: HT) won for the lodging/resorts sector. The health care award went to HCP Inc. (NYSE: HCP), while the mixed use/diversified award went to Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO).

Additionally, London-based British Land Company received the "Global Recognition" honor.

"There's a positive link between energy efficiency and financial performance for those REITs that have a high fraction of efficient buildings," said Nils Kok, co-founder of GRESB.