Thomas won a 2012 Leader in the Light Award in the office small cap category. Horton discussed the key ingredients in developing a well-regarded sustainability program.
“I believe it is a combination of things. First is by implementing things on a portfolio scale,” she said. “Second is being able to sell those things from a financial perspective. The other thing is evolutionary changes and ongoing improvements, and also having the right team on board to be able to implement those sustainability initiatives is important.”
Horton also discussed how the company measures the success of its sustainability initiatives and what metrics they use.
“On the technical side, a key performance indicator is that we are using less energy,” she said. “On the financial side, we’re looking at measures such as tenant retention, absorption and lower operating expenses.”
Horton also talked about how the company promotes its successes, as well as the response from their shareholders.
“We have a sustainability page on our website, and all of our properties have sustainability tabs,” she said. “We have annual sustainability reports and sustainability newsletters that we send out. We’ve gotten very good feedback from our investors, and I think they really appreciate having that information accessible to them.”
Horton described an initiative that best exemplifies what she is doing at Thomas properties.
“One of the projects I’m really excited about is our tenant engagement program,” she said. “We’ve created a green office challenge. We reward on Earth Day annually the greenest tenant on a property level, a regional level, and also nationally.”
Horton said the biggest challenge she faces on a day-to-day basis is “implementing things across the board.”
“Different regions have different challenges,” she said.