For the second year in a row, Liberty Property Trust has ranked in the top three among 64 North and South America-based commercial real estate companies for its environmental and social performance. The real estate investment trust based in Malvern, Pa., which has a 5.7 million-square-foot portfolio in Virginia, also placed in the top 19 percent among 340 real estate companies surveyed globally.
The rankings come from an international study conducted by the GRESB Foundation (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark). It’s an industry initiative that seeks to enhance shareholder value by
increasing transparency in environmental and social practices in the property sector.The study ranks commercial real estate companies and funds in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia in many areas including management, monitoring and environmental management systems, performance indicators, certification and social factors.
“The GRESB report is important not only because it helps us understand how our current sustainable practices measure up, but it also provides a tool that helps us identify the areas where we can make additional improvements,” Marla Thalheimer, Liberty’s manager of sustainability, said in a statement.
Liberty owns and manages a combined 1.7 million-square-foot warehouse and office portfolio in Hampton Roads and a four million-square-foot warehouse portfolio in Richmond. In May, it sold its Richmond area suburban office portfolio — 14 buildings with 919,000-square-feet — in a $100 million deal to Richmond-based Lingerfelt Development. Prior to the sale, one of its buildings in 2009 became the first multi-tenant office in Richmond to receive a Gold LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for sustainable building elements.
Craig Cope, Liberty’s vice president and city manager for the Virginia region, said, “Our team has worked diligently to implement and measure sustainable property management practices across our Virginia portfolio which has allowed us to better manage energy costs and deliver savings to our tenants.”
In the last year, Liberty received Energy Star certifications for three of its office buildings in Richmond. It said it reduced energy consumption an average of 20.4 percent from its 2008 baseline in each of its managed buildings, which allowed the company to pass along cost savings to tenants. In the Richmond region, the company also completed lighting retrofits with energy-saving fixtures and bulbs, installed real-time energy usage monitoring, launched an energy awareness education campaign with tenants and implemented the use of Green Seal Certified cleaning products.
Since 2001, Liberty Property Trust said it has invested more than $1.5 billion in 43 LEED registered and/or certified sustainable office and industrial buildings, including the 975’–foot-high Comcast Center in Philadelphia, one of the tallest green buildings in the U.S.
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