Sunday, October 3, 2010

REITs Embrace Energy Efficiency in Property Portfolios

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are embracing the principles of energy efficiency in their property portfolios, principally as a way to boost their bottom line. With new construction activity severely depressed due to the poor commercial real estate market and difficult economic times, greater focus has been directed toward renovation of existing buildings. Such renovation often represents an opportunity to improve energy efficiency, improve net operating income and increase building value. Liberty Property Trust, for example, recently rolled out an energy monitoring network to 130 of its properties nationwide after a pilot test demonstrated significant wasted energy. Liberty has embraced sustainability and green building techniques for its portfolio of 750 buildings. Many other REITs are doing similarly, including Simon Property Group, AMB Property, Macerich, ProLogis, Hines REIT, Vornado Realty Trust, HCP, Wells Real Estate Investment Trust, among others. There appears to be little question today that having a green building can be particularly advantageous when there is tight competition for space. For those firms providing energy consulting services, REITs should definitely be on the business development radar screen!