Matt Praske, energy and sustainability manager at Washington REIT (NYSE: WRE), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s ESG Forum 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Florida.
Praske discussed a solar panel project in which WashREIT is providing some of its office rooftop space to Washington, D.C. nonprofit New Partners Community Solar.
“They will own, install, and manage the panels, and then any of the electricity produced by those panels gets credited to low income residents in D.C. We’re pretty excited about that,” he said. Praske added that the project helps address the company’s overall sustainability and community involvement missions.
Praske also talked about another office rooftop project at the Army Navy Building in downtown Washington, D.C. where the REIT installed a 700-square-foot raised-bed garden and a beehive to help pollinate the garden. He said that all of the produce grown and honey produced is used at the Army and Navy Club, a restaurant on the ground floor. WashREIT also recently began a composting program in the building that turns office tenants’ organic waste into usable soil that can be used in the rooftop garden.
Praske addressed the challenges of implementing corporate-wide sustainability programs for REITs that own portfolios with diverse property types.
“It takes a different approach to engage the people in our building for their participation in our programs. But I think we’ve learned ways to leverage that experience from one sector to the other,” Praske said.