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CoreNet Global Advocates Net-Zero Buildings As Worthy Top Measures of Long-Term Energy Management Success

Clean energy management is a corporate social responsibility

Submitted by: CoreNet Global

Categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Governance

Posted: Feb 12, 2013 – 05:15 PM EST


ATLANTA, Feb. 12 /CSRwire/ - Multi-national corporations should strive for net-zero buildings as optimal outcomes of their long-term energy management and energy conservation strategies, according to a new public policy advocacy statement released today by CoreNet Global, the premier association for corporate real estate (CRE) executives who often develop and operate their companies’ energy management platforms.

In the statement opening, CoreNet Global says, “We support the principle that smart and responsible energy policies and practices reduce corporate carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions, (and) we encourage our members’ companies to drive energy efficiency to optimal levels with net-zero buildings as a top measure of long-term success.”

Net-zero buildings are commercial facilities that produce at least as much energy as they consume.

The same statement calls on federal governments around the world to incentivize building owners, investors and occupiers who proactively reduce their carbon footprints through the use of green energy development and retrofits.

“Office, industrial, retail and other types of commercial real estate account for 40 percent of the world’s annual energy consumption, making energy management and energy conservation socially responsible corporate practices,” stated CoreNet Global Chairman, Jim Scannell, Senior Vice President of Administrative Services at The Travelers Companies, Inc.

The statement emphasizes “tangible benefits for companies and management teams which prioritize energy efficiency and take steps to reduce the carbon footprint. They will realize meaningful return on investment financially, socially and environmentally – as is consistent with the principles of the Triple Bottom Line accounting model.”

CoreNet Global’s Issues Advocacy Focus Group coordinated the wide-ranging statement based on extensive input from subject matter experts and the extensive, long-term documentation of best-in-class energy management practices from among its more than 7,900 members worldwide.

It also marks the first time that corporate occupiers representing the demand side of the commercial real estate industry have spoken with a unified voice to advocate for public policy issues and corporate practices that impact business and society. In its 2012 Industry Leaders Opinion Poll, 90 percent of CRE executives who responded regard energy management as the most urgent issue facing the CRE industry.

“We’re beginning to see the huge environmental, social and economic benefits that energy-independent facilities are offering,” Scannell added.

A related finding from CoreNet Global’s new Corporate Real Estate 2020 research initiative identifies one key enabler of the migration toward net-zero, predicting that buildings will become energy-producing “micro-grids” that can share electric power across public and private distribution networks.

In its new policy statement, CoreNet Global encourages its members to adopt the following three key action steps it outlined in a previous joint study with the Rocky Mountain Institute, The Energy Challenge: A New Agenda for Corporate Real Estate:

  • Articulating a clear and compelling vision of a more energy-efficient future supported by specific objectives transparent to all stakeholders including local communities, employees, shareholders and suppliers
  • Working with energy suppliers and other pieces of the CRE supply chain, use the RFP process as a tool to reduce energy utilization in owned or leased facilities, and set target levels for performance based on historical data
  • Continuously measuring energy consumption and performance on a systematic, real-time basis to track success and identify waste that can be corrected or improved; steps often documented as low-cost solutions

CoreNet Global also encourages government incentives and financing programs to help real estate facility owners, investors and occupiers decrease the energy consumed by business and industry, and make buildings more energy efficient. Such incentives may include:

  • Tax deductions for actions making buildings more energy efficient, including expansion of existing tax credits for energy efficient building retrofits
  • Development of a federal loan guarantee program to support private financing for building retrofit
  • At the state and local levels, incentives that favor energy efficiency upgrades or retrofits in commercial buildings above 50,000 square feet
  • Building codes that reward forward-thinking companies for achieving peak performance; not only ones that penalize for lack of compliance

As the hub for thought leadership in corporate real estate, CoreNet Global continues to amass a growing body of knowledge and case studies from members whose companies are setting good examples by engaging in best-in-class practices.

To make a short- and long-term difference, companies can take these and other proven action steps as documented over the past 10 years by CoreNet Global:

  • Energy efficient design and construction for new and retrofitted facilities
  • Integrated supply and product development chains that reduce energy consumption
  • Green leasing and development practices encouraging energy savings, cost reduction and lower carbon footprints
  • Mobility and other flexible workplace practices with proven ability to reduce building, production, employee, commuting and other forms of energy use
  • Employee training to educate, build awareness and constructively align personal behaviors with company culture and sustainability practices
  • Use and re-use of natural resources starting with sun light, air and water
  • Use and re-use of building materials like weather sealing, insulation and windows; as well as energy-efficient boiler and cooler systems
  • Incorporation of alternative energy resources such as solar, wind, hydro, and bio-fuels whether from primary or secondary suppliers
  • Integration of carbon tax credits in triple bottom line accounting models
  • Regionalization or localization of supply chains, where feasible
  • Creation of micro-grids among energy self-generating facilities at or approaching net-zero status that are even able to sell surplus energy to the commercial grids
  • Application of nanotechnology and other technological innovations to alternative energy systems including energy storage and transmission
  • Emphasizing different forms of co-generation like bio-mass, geo-heat saving, frigid water supplies and closed loops like district energy systems

CoreNet Global’s Corporate Real Estate 2020 research initiative forecasts “regulatory incentives for resource efficiency and market penalties for resource inefficiency will meaningfully increase.”

“Thus, it makes economic, environmental and social sense for companies to proactively set and seek energy efficiency goals as company cultures, industry sectors, financial resources, locations and other factors allow or dictate,” the policy statement summarizes.

CoreNet Global’s 7,900+ members make it the world’s leading association for corporate real estate and workplace executives, service providers, and economic developers. www.corenetglobal.org

For more information, please contact:

Richard Kadzis Vice President, Strategic Communications
Phone: 678-687-9724


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