Daniele Horton, founder and principal of Verdani Partners and head of sustainability at Parkway Properties, Inc. (NYSE: PKY), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2015 Leader in the Light Working Forum in Reston, Va.
Parkway Properties owns and operates office properties located in higher-growth submarkets in the Sun Belt region of the United States. Horton discussed Parkway’s strong improvement in sustainability, as measured by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) survey.
She noted that last year Parkway placed in the top quartile in the GRESB survey and ranked eighth in the office peer group. She called the finish “a great testament to all the sustainability programs we’ve implemented.”
Verdani, the sustainability consulting firm founded by Horton, has worked with Parkway to “create a game plan with goals and targets and metrics,” she said. That includes more than 20 sustainability policies, a resource site, infrastructure and an educational program “to work hand in hand with Parkway’s property teams,” Horton explained.
Last year, Parkway established a 25-building LEED program with the U.S. Green Building Council. This year, most of Parkway’s buildings will be entered into the program, Horton noted.
Horton also discussed the importance of tenant engagement for real estate companies that are going green.
“It’s challenging working with the tenants and engaging them, but it’s something we cannot ignore. It’s critical because 50 to 60 percent of the energy consumption in the building is the responsibility of the tenant,” she said.