Daniele Horton, head of sustainability at Parkway Properties, Inc. (NYSE: PKY), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2016 Leader in the Light Working Forum at the Ritz Carlton – Coconut Grove in Miami.
Parkway owns and operates office properties located in higher-growth submarkets in the Sun Belt region of the United States.
Horton stressed that Parkway takes a holistic approach to sustainability, which incorporates reporting to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. She noted that Parkway has reported to GRESB for three consecutive years, and last year the company took fifth place in the U.S. office group. Horton described the award as a “great testament” to the progress Parkway has made.
Parkway plans to stay ahead of upcoming regulations, according to Horton. So far, Parkway has implemented 21 sustainability policies and has made progress in its data-tracking programs for energy, water and carbon emissions.
At the same time, Parkway is eager to better track waste, Horton said: “We think our industry as a whole has really struggled with that.” She added that as of this year the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR portfolio manager will enable waste data to be entered, which will help improve the overall tracking process.
To date, Parkway has achieved certification for 11 properties under the LEED EBOM volume program, and expects to achieve certification on a number of additional properties in 2016. According to Horton, about 34 percent of Parkway’s portfolio is currently LEED certified and 97 percent of properties are benchmarked on the ENERGY STAR portfolio manager.
Looking ahead, Parkway is considering different ways to maintain those certifications, and it is also exploring other programs it could implement for properties that don’t qualify for LEED, Horton explained.