Over the past year measuring the sustainability of building performance with sophisticated online software has emerged as a vital tool in the greening of the built environment.
Building performance software is critical because is provides a forum for property owners to benchmark the performance of their buildings and building portfolios relative to their peers and share information about building sustainability. It reduces the requirement for trial and error management and facilitates the implementation of affordable, efficient and effective sustainability strategies.
The importance of the building performance assessment tools is highlighted by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) purchase of Toronto-based ECD Energy and Environment Canada (ECD) in June 2008. ECD licenses its proprietary Green Globes software to BOMA Canada where it is marketed as the BOMA Go Green/Visez Vert program and by the Green Building Initiatives in the U.S.
Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Reach
Jones Lang LaSalle's potential to exert global influence on the sustainability strategies of buildings owners in the commercial real estate sector is significant. It is a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate services and investment management with more than 30,000 people in 700 cities in 60 countries. As such it has the capacity to drive the rapid deployment of a web based management tool, like Green Globes, around the World.
According to information provided to BOMA Canada concerning the JLL purchase of ECD, JLL intends to add thousands of corporate and investor-owned buildings it manages to the Green Globes system database. This alone will greatly enhance Green Globes viability for benchmarking purposes as well as advancing the sustainability of participating properties.
Commenting on the acquisition of ECD by JLL, Craig Bloomfield, Vice President of Public Relations said, “JLL is definitely thinking in terms of our clients who are international and who own whole portfolios of buildings. “
“Green Globe can be used as a management tool for properties anywhere in the World. There is no reason why it can’t be used in places that don’t currently have a Green Globe sticker.”
The terms of JLL’s purchase of ECD allows JLL to license the technology in other countries as well as other tools not covered under the exiting Green Globes and Go Green systems. In Canada, BOMA will continue to have exclusive rights to offer the GoGreen program and its data is protected and confidential.
Jones Lang LaSalle buys Upstream Strategies in the UK
Jones Lang LaSalle acquired Upstream Strategies in the U.K. in November 2007. Upstream was started in 1997 and has emerged as a leader in the field of sustainability reporting. It has developed tools for benchmarking levels of sustainability in three categories; corporations, investment portfolios and property.
Upstream benchmarking for properties has been operating since 2001 and measures the sustainability performance of buildings using real building performance data. It is available for tenants and owners and facilitates a comparison with peers. According to the Upstream website it currently offers its service to 150 shopping centres and 90 offices which will no doubt grow exponentially with JLL’s involvement.
A stimulus for Upstream's growth has been the issuance by the European Union of an Energy Performance Directive (buildingsplatform.org) in January 2003. The Directive sets out minimum energy consumption standards for new buildings and also requires that an Energy Performance Certificate be in place whenever a building is sold, rented or constructed. The certificate rates buildings from A to G with respect to energy performance.
Each EU country was required to incorporate the requirements of the new Directive into its national legislation by January 2006. The EU’s goal is for Member States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8% from the level of 1990 by 2008-2012.
According to the Upstream website, “A key part of this work has been the foundation of an Independent Advisory Panel comprised of high-level representatives external to Jones Lang LaSalle ranging from occupiers, investors and developers to sustainability experts. Its purpose is to provide independent assurance of the reliability and integrity of the sustainability benchmarks developed by Upstream”
There is an excellent interview with Matthew Tippett, Associate Director of Jones Lang LaSalle concerning the Upstream property benchmarking product available on the Upstream Strategies website.
Green Globes usable in any country. LEED spreads slowly
Until Jones Lang LaSalle acquired Upstream Strategies and ECD the only organization with significant global reach in the sustainable building realm was the network of Green Building Councils started by the US Green Building Council including the Canada Green Building Council in Canada and together represented by the World Green Building Council (World GBC).
The Green Building Councils are responsible for the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) green building rating system that incorporates both a commercial and residential programs popular in the U.S. and growing in Canada and some other countries. LEED programs are at various stages of development from pilot to fully operational.
To launch LEED in another country is a process that involves establishment of a Green Building Council and the preparation of a nation specific program. According the World GBC website it is active in 50 countries but there are only 12 established Councils and 5 emerging GB Councils.
Given that Green Globes is now available for use from JLL in the 70 countries where it has offices, it has become a more globally assessable, efficient and effective tool for initiating a sustainability strategy for commercial buildings than the LEED programs offered by the Green Building Councils. If JLL proceeds with licensing countries for the Green Globes where it does not have offices, then Green Globes will indeed have 'gone Global'.
With the deployment of Green Globes globally, coupled with the services offered by Upstream Strategies, we can expect to see Jones Lang LaSalle play a leadership role in the sustainable building initiatives around the World in the commercial sector.