Sabermetrics and Sustainability

7/17/2013 | By Matthew Bechard

Published in the July/August 2013 issue of REIT magazine.

Take one look at Los Angeles Angels outfield prodigy Mike Trout and you can see all the physical tools a baseball player could want. He is powerfully built, lightning quick and exceedingly graceful. Even if you didn’t know he was a professional ballplayer, you would likely guess he was some type of athlete.

Then take a look at Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. He shares more physical traits with an investment banker than a world-class athlete. He is short, balding and not exactly chiseled. But, like Trout, he is one of the truly elite players in the game today.

The eyeball test alone doesn’t always correlate to the performance delivered.

In baseball, teams are increasingly utilizing advanced analytics to weigh a growing number of factors that not only help identify the most effective players, but ultimately put teams in the best position to win games. It’s a trend known as sabermetrics and popularized by the book and movie “Moneyball.”

You can see growing reliance on data spreading throughout a wide range of industries as challenging economic times and ever-discerning consumers make every business advantage crucial. As author Kenneth Cukier says, today, data is power.

Real estate is no different. Just look at the now-clichéd first rule of real estate: location, location, location. At one time, an ideal location was determined by something close to the eyeball test. Now companies use complex algorithms to not only determine which locations are best, but also what underperforming cross-streets are most likely to emerge as the next hot spots.

You also find this increased reliance on data impacting the ways companies implement and manage their sustainability initiatives. “Cultivating Green Data” in this issue looks at how a number of REITs on the forefront of the energy efficiency frontier are analyzing usage data in real time to make cost-savings decisions and support future operational decisions. In addition, companies are also able to produce more detailed reports for management and shareholders to validate and explain the tangible benefits of their programs.

Think of retrofitting or developing a green building like drafting a baseball team. How you collect, analyze and act on the data is essential to getting the best return on your investment. It is the sabermetrics of sustainability.


Matthew Bechard
Editor in Chief


Other Features

Matt Bechard
The More Things Change
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” –Ferris Bueller That quote struck me recently while...
REIT Redevelopment Projects Are Transforming Communities
One of my favorite activities to do with my three kids is hiking on the trails that run alongside a nearby creek. It is a great way to get them away...
Global Expansion of REIT Brand Centered on Variety and Familiarity
The co-founders of Baskin-Robbins originally created the company’s 31 flavors marketing campaign in 1953. The idea was built on offering customers...
The Importance of Pacing
When I was growing up playing sports, running was either a dreaded training tool or a punishment. But like many Americans, as I got older, I began to...
Matt Bechard
A New Era
It took until April but Mother Nature finally relented and admitted that winter was done and warmer weather was here to stay. Fortunately for those...
Matt Bechard
A Compelling Offer
Shortly after I joined NAREIT in June 2001, the magazine (then known as Real Estate Portfolio) featured a cover story titled “Is the Dealing Done?”...
Matt Bechard
Knowing What We Know (and Don’t)
As we flip the page on a new calendar year, it seems appropriate to reflect on the words of famed philosopher Donald Rumsfeld. “There are known...
Matt Bechard
Put it on the List
This is the time of year when “put it on your list” becomes the mantra of my household. I’m not talking about the growing list of chores that seem to...
REIT magazine editor Matt Bechard
Trophy Presentation
I was only 10 years old, but I still remember standing on a dusty, sun-drenched infield with tears falling down my face shortly after my Little...
A Game of Inches
ONE OF THE reasons I have always loved baseball is because it is a game of numbers and percentages. Th at seemingly endless amount of data combined...