04/04/2013 | By Mitch Irzinski
Sara Neff, director of sustainability programs with Kilroy Realty Corp. (NYSE: KRC), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2013 Leader in the Light Working Forum in La Quinta, Calif.
Neff discussed the evolution of sustainability at Kilroy. The company, which has its headquarters in Los Angeles, owns and operates 12.5 million square feet of commercial real estate space on the West Coast.
“Kilroy has been a REIT for over 60 years, and the entire time it has been focused on energy efficiency and indoor air quality,” she said. “We started as an industrial company – (founder) John Kilroy Sr. discovered that if you kept thermal comfort in mind, you could actually cut out a shift in an industrial process, because everyone wasn’t so miserable that they would actually be more productive. From those beginnings we have been building good buildings for decades.”
Neff also discussed how the company measures the success of its sustainability efforts and the results that it has seen.
“Portfolio manager and energy star benchmarking has been the foundation for all of our efforts,” she said. “For example, last year we know that we reduced our energies across the portfolio by around 5 million kilowatt hours.”
Neff also talked about how the company promotes its efforts, as well as the response from the investment community.
“We actively promote our sustainability programs,” she said. “It’s in all of our investor materials and everything we send to investors. We’ve noticed investors more and more asking, so we want to make sure we are demonstrating excellence in that area.”
Neff described a project that best exemplifies Kilroy’s sustainability program.
“Thirty-one percent of our office portfolio is LEED-certified as of this year,” she said. “I think that makes us quite distinctive amongst other office REITs and real estate owners in general.”
Neff shared her thoughts on what the next phase of sustainability might be.
“For REITs, it’s figuring out how to get the financing worked out,” she said. “It’s still really quite difficult for us.”