Commercial Real Estate Industry Continues to Make Progress in Reducing Energy Consumption, Carbon Emissions and Water Usage, Says New Analysis from ULI’s Greenprint Center


Report Finds Improvements in Several Cities; Identifies Sustainability Trends

WASHINGTON (October 21, 2016) – (RealEstateRama) — A new report from the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Greenprint Center for Building Performance shows that many of the world’s leading commercial real estate owners and managers are making significant progress in reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions and water usage in their buildings.


Volume 7 of the Greenprint Performance Report™, which measures and tracks the performance of more than 5,400 properties owned by Greenprint’s members, demonstrates a 3.4-percent reduction in energy consumption, a 3.9-percent reduction in carbon emissions, and a 4.8-percent reduction in water use between 2014 and 2015.  Since Greenprint started recording building performance in 2009, the energy consumed by members’ properties tracked by Greenprint has dropped 13.7 percent. Carbon emissions from those properties have decreased 16.5 percent; and water usage has dropped by 10.6 percent. The reductions occurred even as building occupancy rose, suggesting that greater space usage does not necessarily cause a decline in building performance.

Globally, buildings account for nearly one-third of climate-changing carbon emissions. The results from this year’s report indicate that Greenprint members are on track to reach Greenprint’s target of a 50-percent reduction in overall building emissions well ahead of the center’s target date of 2030. This is a critical step towards achieving the emission reduction goals set in the L’Accord de Paris, which was agreed to by more than 190 countries.

The report showed energy reductions in Greenprint member properties in cities across the United States – regardless of whether the city had implemented requirements for disclosure of building performance, and irrespective of climatic and market differences. Of the cities included in the report, San Jose, California experienced the most significant 2014-to-2015 reduction in energy use by office buildings, with a decline of 10 percent; followed by Houston, at 9 percent; San Francisco, 7 percent; and Chicago and Washington, D.C., at 6 percent. Similarly, the report showed water use reductions on a city-by-city basis; in San Diego, water use by office buildings dropped nearly 40 percent – an extraordinary accomplishment given the city’s water-stressed conditions.

The favorable results achieved by Greenprint members in cities located in different climates, and in cities with and without performance requirements, suggests a broad movement within the commercial property sector to voluntarily adopt sustainable practices “because it makes good business sense under any conditions,” said ULI Global Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Philips.

“Greenprint continues to be an important catalyst for change, helping its members take meaningful and measurable action to advance environmental performance,” Phillips said. “Through Greenprint, we are demonstrating how the built environment can contribute to energy and water conservation, and be part of the solution to climate change. The achievements of Greenprint’s members are inspiring a broader movement within the real estate sector to improve building performance.”

The report identifies several industry trends related to the reduction in energy consumption and carbon emissions, including:

  • Increased engagement of building tenants in energy conservation and emissions reductions practices, spurred by the establishment of more tenant-focused programs such as ULI’s soon-to-be-launched Tenant Energy Optimization Program;
  • Growing interest in health and wellness at the building level, and the role high performance spaces play in promoting the comfort and health of employees;
  • Rapidly evolving technology that connects occupants directly to buildings to facilitate use of resources only when needed, optimizing performance and reducing waste;
  • Rising interest in net zero buildings that consume only as much energy as they produce from clean, renewable resources; and
  • Embedding sustainability throughout the investment life cycle by demonstrating how strong building performance can create value at every stage of the life cycle.

This year marks the sixth consecutive year that members have experienced improved building performance, in terms of energy consumed and emissions reductions. The lower emissions achieved since Greenprint’s inception are the equivalent of 8.3 million trees being planted. The data used in the report was submitted to the Greenprint Center by its 31 members and affiliated partners, who comprise an alliance of the world’s leading real estate owners, investors and financial institutions committed to improving environmental performance across the global property industry.

Greenprint’s members are: Aetos Capital Real Estate; Architecture 2030/2030 District Network; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Bentall Kennedy; Berkshire Communities; BlackRock; Clarion Partners; CommonWealth Partners; Deutsche Asset Management; First Washington Realty, Inc.; GI Partners; General Investment and Development Advisors, Inc.; GLL Real Estate Partners; Granite Properties; Grosvenor; Heitman; Hines; Invesco; Jamestown Properties; Jones Lang LaSalle; LaSalle Investment Management; Miller Capital Advisory, Inc.; Pacific Urban Residential; Paramount Group, Inc.; Parkway Properties Inc.; Prologis; Sonae Sierra; and Tishman Speyer.

The 5,414 properties tracked by Greenprint and owned by its members are located across 39 countries and accommodate more than 1.1 million employees. The value of real estate assets under management by Greenprint members exceeds $1 trillion, which is more than 5 percent of the value of high-quality commercial properties globally.

To help real estate professionals learn from Greenprint’s success, the report includes several case studies of sustainability practices from Greenprint members and other sustainability leaders that serve as models for improving building performance. These include:

  • Prudential Real Estate Investors and the City of San Antonio (a member of the 2030 District Network), cited for effective data collection and analyses;
  • CommonWealth Partners and Sonae Sierra, lighting retrofits;
  • Jones Lang LaSalle and Jamestown Properties, revised maintenance schedules;
  • Stem (a Greenprint Innovation Partner), energy storage;
  • Prologis, use of alternative energy sources; Bentall Kennedy, water conservation; and
  • Avalon Bay, use of technology for more efficient waste collection.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute ( is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines

About the ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance
The ULI Greenprint Center’s mission is to lead the global real estate industry towards improved environmental performance, focusing on energy efficiency, and reduced carbon emissions, water and waste. Greenprint is a member-driven organization that achieves its goals through measurement, action and education. For additional information, visit

contact Trish Riggs at 202-624-7086
by Robert Krueger

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