12/28/2016 | by
Fulya Kocak

Rick Avery, vice president of sustainability at Welltower, discusses the objectives of the health care REIT's Green Arrow sustainability program with NAREIT's Fulya Kocak.


In a special edition of the The REIT Report: NAREIT's Weekly Podcast, Fulya Kocak, NAREIT's vice president for environmental, social and governance issues, spoke with spoke with Rick Avery, vice president for sustainability at Welltower (NYSE: HCN).

Welltower received the the 2016 Leader in the Light Award in the Health Care category. The awards recognize NAREIT Corporate Members for leadership and innovation in sustainability.

Avery offered insights into Welltower's Green Arrow program, which targets its outpatient medical assets. He said the program started as an initiative to raise tenant engagement by developing discipline around sustainability practices, including a tenant sustainability guide, benchmarking and a construction management program. Over time, Welltower incorporated a building certification element into the program. Feedback from tenants motivated Welltower to focus on improving indoor air quality and the environmental aspects of the buildings themselves.

"With this Green Arrow building certification program, we developed an infrastructure to manage, capture, and be able to report and ultimately make changes to building operations to drive many factors, including indoor air quality," Avery said.

Avery noted that part of the Green Arrow rollout included a successful challenge program to encourage members of its real estate management teams to meet tenant-engagement goals.

In terms of the business value of the Green Arrow program, Avery said it incorporates sustainability into the day-to-day practices of Welltower's property management teams. "It is no longer something that they do because we've asked them to do it," he said.

Regarding Welltower's senior housing portfolio, Avery pointed out that independent operators are running businesses within those buildings. Consequently, Welltower does outreach to share best practices with those operators. "We find that it's an effective way to communicate and engage that population within our portfolio," he said.

Kocak interviewed sustainability professionals representing the 2016 Leader in the Light Award winners at REITWorld 2016: NAREIT's Annual Convention for All Things REIT. Look for more special editions of The REIT Report featuring these conversations on REIT.com, including:

(Subscribe to the NAREIT Podcast via iTunes.)