Sustainable Commercial Real Estate Sector: Innovation in Assets, Finance, and Policy

Sustainable Commercial Real EstateIn Canada the commercial real estate sector represents 13% of total Canadian carbon emissions, with “440,000 commercial buildings representing floor space of over 670,000,000 m2 and consuming over 1,036,000,000 GJ of energy annually” (KPMG, 2009). Additionally, the industry, although attempting to embrace sustainability, has actually increased its emissions by 25% since 1990 (REALPac, 2010). The Sustainable Commercial Real Estate Sector project is run in partnership with Larco Investments with the support of the MITACS Accelerate program. The project in addressing the gaps in the existing literature and industry needs, will focus on three key areas to understanding the gap in adoption of ‘green’ initiatives in the market, with a goal of outlining the possible strategies, goals, and tools to be beneficial and competitively viable for the Canadian commercial real estate industry.

  • First, the project will identify and map best practices for adoption, CSR, performance metrics and reporting, consumer strategy, new build and retrofit technology. Specifically, the team will focus on understanding five asset classes within commercial real estate based on property use: retail, hospitality, office, self storage and mixed used.
  • Second, the team will examine the concept of innovative financial mechanisms and strategies as key drivers for influencing industry change. Specifically, how can financial instruments such as SRPI’s, REIT’s, and PACE bonds drive environmental change within the industry, if so, what can their role be moving forward.
  • Third, the project will look at the role of municipal, provincial, and federal policies as incentives and/or barriers to innovation, implementation, and regulation. Self regulation and certification schemes have failed to push the industry to par with other industries who have fully embraced environmental and social change as part of their triple bottom line. It is evident that some form of government and/or regulatory driver needs to be reassessed. Ultimately the research aims to provide a wider range of recommendations on the industry and regulatory levels.

The wider goals of the project are to understand and benchmark to industry and assess best practices, which can be applied in the Canadian and BC context from the industry side, but also understand the role that government can have.”

Download Reports:

Drivers of Environmental Performance Among Building Stock

Retrofitting Vancouver’s Existing Building Stock

The Role of Government in Creating Green Buildings