This is a case study that's a part of the 2021 REIT Industry ESG Report, an annual report detailing the REIT industry's environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance details in the publicly traded U.S. REIT industry. Featured case studies showcase REIT leadership and ESG innovation from a variety of sectors and serve as a practical tool for stakeholders to assess the scale and impact of the REIT industry's ESG commitments and initiatives.
Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT) was an early adopter of onsite renewables, installing its first array in 2012, and will have grown its onsite solar portfolio to a capacity of over 15 megawatts by Q3 2021, in less than a decade.
This integration of renewables in Federal Realty's energy practices has earned it recognition from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) as a top-five organization in the real estate sector for onsite solar capacity.
However, Federal Realty's focus on Healthy Buildings extends beyond incorporating environmental features in the buildings themselves to encompassing the health and wellness of the broader community around the buildings, and those who inhabit them.
The pandemic shone a light on the value of health and wellness, reinforcing Federal Realty's decision to become one of the first shopping center REITs to purse Fitwel certification—the organization's first health and wellness certification.
The certification, awarded at the end of 2020, is for Federal Realty's newly completed corporate headquarters building, 909 Rose, located at Pike and Rose in North Bethesda, Maryland—a LEED Gold neighborhood. Together, 909 Rose and Pike & Rose include a number of health, wellness, and environmentally responsible features such as:
909 Rose: Federal Realty Corporate Headquarters Building
- Dedicated outdoor air ventilation system (DOAS), delivering 100% outside air as needed to critical areas
- Circulation of 30% more fresh air than required by code
- PORT Technology to limit the number of elevator passengers
- WiFi enabled public spaces in the building and the surrounding neighborhood, to maximize alternative working spaces
- Provision of ergonomic desks and chairs and fitness facilities, to support employee health and wellness
- Walk score of 80.
Pike & Rose Neighborhood
- Access to Rose park on the property, just steps from the 909 building
- Close proximity to multiple forms of public transit
- Home to the largest rooftop farm in the Mid-Atlantic, which offers a CSA program to office tenants and residents on the property
These Healthy Building investments and neighborhood amenities were thoughtfully designed to make employees feel comfortable returning to work in the pandemic era. Underscoring the health and safety impact of Federal Realty's Healthy Buildings initiatives, in a recent survey approximately 95% of employees indicated that they are satisfied with the office health and wellness features and programming provided.
"We invest in our properties and the communities for the long-term, which is why it was important for us to be an early adopter of emerging ESG trends such as on-site solar, Fitwel Certification, and sustainable building design and construction. We're nearly a full decade into our efforts to ensure that our properties are designed to mitigate and manage the impacts of sustainability risks and withstand market challenges, both hallmarks of having a resilient business."
Emily Paciolla, Head of Sustainability
Moving forward, Federal Realty intends to continue investing in health and wellness features and programming, and aspires to use its Green Bonds toward achieving LEED Gold and Silver distinctions across its portfolio.
Founded in 1962, Federal Realty Investment Trust is one of the oldest US REITs, focused on the ownership, operation, and development of high-quality retail-based properties—from grocery-anchored shopping centers to largescale mixed-use neighborhoods.