REITs Continue Leadership on Sustainability, Advocate Says

Cliff Majersik, executive director at the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), 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.

IMT is a nonprofit organization promoting energy efficiency, green building and environmental protection in the United States and abroad.

Majersik noted that during the past year, REITs have continued their sustainability leadership.

“At a variety of levels, REITs are stepping up their game and being more public in terms of leadership on sustainability and climate change,” he said.

In addition to making improvements within their own portfolio, REITs are making public pledges to reduce emissions, according to Majersik. Additionally, they are discussing green bonds and other environmental initiatives, he added.

Majersik also discussed methods to ensure that tenants work more collaboratively with owners and operators on sustainability issues.

He noted that ‘win-win’ green leases, those that benefit both the landlord and tenant and enable the landlord to quickly recoup sustainability investments, are preferable to leases where the benefits appear to accrue only to the tenant.

Majersik added that tenant build-out guidelines are another means of ensuring collaboration between tenant and landlord. The guidelines allow landlords to outline the impact of a tenant’s lighting, layout and equipment decisions on the building’s efficiency and to clarify their expectations for the tenant.

Meanwhile, Majersik noted that increasing attention is being paid to sustainability measures at the state level. California, for instance, passed two laws during the last year that call for greater energy efficiency. Majersik said California could set a trend for other states to follow.

At the same time, Majersik pointed out that 15 cities, one county and two states have benchmarking and transparency laws in place that require public disclosure of building performance. Among the cities that have enacted regulations are Atlanta, Portland and Kansas City, Mo., Majersik said.

“Not the usual suspects,” he noted.