Ben Myers, sustainability manager at Boston Properties, Inc. (NYSE: BXP), 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.
Boston Properties was a joint winner in the office category of the 2015 NAREIT Leader in the Light Awards. Myers said the award validates company-wide efforts to implement a sustainability strategy. He noted that awards such as Leader in the Light are used by the company to celebrate the effort of employees who don’t usually get recognized in such a way.
“It also engages our C-suite in conversations around materiality, indicators and what we can do to improve our sustainability program,” he added.
Meanwhile, Myers pointed to renewable energy as an area of untapped potential within the sustainability realm. He noted that since 2006, the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) has fallen about 73 percent. As a result, there are more opportunities now to do onsite and offsite renewable energy deals ranging from a rooftop or parking garage, to executing a multi-megawatt power purchase, Myers said.
“That’s really going to be an exciting area of development and will help our economy transition from fossil fuels,” he added.
Myers also highlighted the importance of retrofitting existing building stock, given that more than half the buildings in use today will still be around in 2050: “While the projects may not be glamorous, we need to address that existing stock.”
One of the retrofit projects that Boston Properties has undertaken involves a mix of suburban office and laboratory space, Myers explained. The project enabled the company to work closely with the utility company and an integrated design team, using new software that allows for the real-time evaluation of energy efficiency measures.
“That was an exciting project that created a great atmosphere for us to do things we may not have done in the past, and it was driven by new technology,” he said.