HCP Inc. (NYSE: HCP) reduced its utility expenses by $1.4 million in 2011 and the health care REIT's overall energy use is down 13 percent since 2007. HCP focused on various types of energy savings equipment when it first began implementing its sustainability program, according to Tom Klaritch, HCP's executive vice president in the medical office properties division.
Klaritch spoke with REIT.com during the 2012 NAREIT Leader in the Light Working Forum in Dallas about the evolution of sustainability at HCP as well as future initiatives.
"Our sustainability efforts grew to now where we're trying to be more transparent with our efforts by reporting and responding to the various surveys that are out there," Klaritch said, adding that HCP's next phase in its evolution of sustainability will be to produce a sustainability report.
He said HCP has been working to push Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in its development and redevelopment projects as well as existing buildings. The company recently received LEED silver certification in one of its buildings in Seattle.
"We've also implemented a magnetic drive system in one of our building in Las Vegas and it saved us 25 percent or more on electric usage," Klaritch said. "So I think technology like that is emerging. We're also looking into solar, geothermal and other types of energy."
The typical time to look at cost savings has been within one to three years, Klaritch explained. However, he said sometimes savings is realized earlier and sometimes it may take a little longer. Since implementing the sustainability program he said that it's been cost effective for HCP so far.
Klatich also discussed the differences in the roles of sustainability in the health care sector versus that of other real estate sectors.
He said while it's comparable in many ways, the medical office building division, which he oversees, tends to be more electric and water intensive.
"So we can get a little more bang for our buck in some of the things we do. Actually that is probably the biggest difference," he said.