This case study was published in the 2022 REIT Industry ESG Report, which details the REIT and publicly traded real estate industry's environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and features 32 case studies showcasing REIT leadership and ESG innovation from a variety of sectors. The report serves as a practical tool for shareholders and stakeholders to assess the scale and impact of the REIT industry's ESG commitments and initiatives. Applicable footnotes and/or citations for this case study are available in the full report.
Accelerating Decarbonization Strategies by Reducing Embodied Carbon
With a recent commitment toward achieving net zero carbon emissions, Brookfield Properties has advanced its strategies to successfully decarbonize the company’s footprint.
Brookfield Properties has long been committed to leading resilience and innovation to advance sustainable solutions in the real estate industry and continues to assess how it could further its impact. As a result, Brookfield Properties’ development group is focusing on opportunities to decarbonize the entire lifecycle of the company’s assets by extending its focus beyond operational carbon emissions toward reducing embodied carbon emissions. Embodied carbon, often attributed to construction materials, is an important component of Scope 3 emissions and refers to the greenhouse gases associated with the entire lifecycle of a material, including the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal.
Brookfield Properties’ Beaudry, a 56-story residential building located in downtown Los Angeles at 960 W. 7th Street, has served as a successful case study for measuring and reducing embodied carbon emissions. During the project, Brookfield Properties’ design and construction teams collaborated to implement a double-bottom-line material procurement process that involved a strict assessment of the company’s supply chain to identify ways to reduce both costs and embodied carbon of building materials.
“Our development team is committed to exploring every opportunity to actualize Brookfield’s sustainability goals through the full lifecycle of development. In the case of Beaudry, we challenged the status quo and achieved a 24% reduction in the project’s total embodied carbon footprint without compromising investment returns.”
-Patrick Rhodes, Vice President, Development, Brookfield Properties
A key contributing factor to the project success was the use of the newly developed tool, Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3). This allowed for ease in tracking and comparing the emissions of each material used throughout the construction project. The tool includes Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for materials, which aggregates all information and components included within a building material. This free tool proved critical in understanding how best to compare construction material suppliers to lower the project’s embodied carbon footprint.
In addition to reducing the property’s environmental impact, the project has been shared across the industry, serving as a model for future projects, strengthening the standard for measuring and reducing embodied carbon. Brookfield Properties is proud of its success and appreciative of its partners who collaborated to achieve tangible environmental and financial impacts. Moving forward, the company aims to continue focusing on and bettering its procurement practices to contribute to its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner.
Brookfield Properties develops and operates real estate investments on behalf of Brookfield Asset Management–one of the largest alternative asset managers in the world.