Prologis' (NYSE: PLD) high-profile merger in 2011 with industrial REIT AMB Property Corp. provided "a great opportunity" for the company to enhance its environmental program, according to Aaron Binkley, director of sustainability with Prologis.
In a video interview at the 2012 NAREIT Leader in the Light Working Forum in Dallas, Binkley discussed the ongoing evolution of sustainable commercial building and how Prologis is adapting to the changing environment. He said the sustainability programs in place at AMB and Prologis made for a seamless transition. The merger enabled the newly formed company to "take the best of both sides and make an even stronger program on the back end with the new organization," he said.
Like a number of other commercial real estate companies with eco-friendly platforms, Prologis has moved from on viewing green building as a project-by-project program, according to Binkley.
"I think over the past few years the evolution has really been to take our efforts and go from what a lot of companies started with and drive them deeper into the organization," Binkley said. "So to go beyond what I think in many cases is an initial focus on green construction or sustainable buildings and to move more into existing buildings and renewable energy and, ultimately, into carbon emissions and zero-energy buildings down the road in the future."
Prologis has currently set a goal of cutting its energy usage globally by 20 percent by the year 2020. One area where the industrial REIT is focusing its efforts is updating its existing assets.
"That's an exciting problem, because it's really where the opportunity is," Binkley said. "We have a 600-million-square-foot opportunity in terms of energy efficiency. The size of our portfolio gives us a unique starting point, I would say. We've made significant efforts in the existing operating portfolio to make it more energy-efficient and will continue to do that in the years to come."
Even in the midst of the economic recession, Binkley said the company continued its efforts to cut consumption. Although new building slowed down for Prologis, what it did build was done to energy-efficient standards, according to Binkley.