Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors have become pivotal considerations in commercial real estate investment, development, and management. As stakeholders demand more sustainable and resilient buildings, owners and operators are incorporating ESG across the entire property lifecycle. Read on to learn more about the key ESG trends shaping the industry.
With rising energy prices and stricter regulations around building performance, energy efficiency has become a major priority. Property owners are investing in smart building technologies such as building automation systems, IoT sensors, and AI to optimize energy use. High-efficiency HVAC, heat pumps, and LED lighting are being installed, along with advanced metering and submetering. Renewable energy systems like solar PV and fuel cells are also gaining traction. These measures help reduce energy consumption, lower operating costs, meet emissions targets, and create more resilient buildings.
Health and Wellness
The focus on occupant and community health, wellness, and safety continues to accelerate. Indoor air quality is being improved through enhanced ventilation, air filtration, and monitoring. Access to daylight, green spaces, and amenities supports mental and physical health. Cleaning and operational protocols aim to reduce infectious disease transmission. Health-centered building certifications like the WELL Building Standard address factors like nutrition, fitness, and quality sleep. Healthy buildings reduce liability risks and keep occupants safe and productive.
With climate change fueling extreme weather, buildings must be evaluated for climate risks and vulnerabilities. Resilience strategies include physical protections like flood barriers, hurricane-resistant design, backup power and water supplies, and elevating critical systems. Emergency preparedness and response plans ensure business continuity when disasters strike. Climate risk assessments inform development in high-risk areas. Resilient buildings can better withstand storms, heat waves, wildfires, and other events.
On-site and off-site renewable energy adoption is accelerating globally. Rooftop and carport solar PV, community solar programs, and renewable energy procurement provide clean electricity. Some portfolios target 100% renewable energy or net zero carbon emissions. Renewables reduce operating costs over time, mitigate grid disruptions, and support aggressive ESG goals. Onsite EV charging and infrastructure also promote the transition to electric mobility.
With water scarcity a growing crisis worldwide, property owners are taking action to use water efficiently. Low-flow plumbing fixtures, smart irrigation systems, rainwater harvesting, and graywater reuse reduce potable water waste. On-site water treatment and reuse provide an alternative non-potable supply. Flooding can be mitigated with bioswales, permeable pavements, green roofs, and stormwater capture. Water management cuts utility bills and builds climate resilience.
Disclosure and Reporting
Investors and tenants demand transparency into building performance and operations. Asset owners and managers track and report on energy, water, waste, emissions, and other ESG metrics. Green building certifications like LEED showcase sustainability features. Ratings like GRESB benchmark ESG programs. Robust ESG disclosures give owners a competitive edge and help attract capital and tenants focused on sustainability.
GAIN CRE integrates key sustainability factors across our portfolio. This includes installing EV charging stations and pursuing energy efficiency. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our ESG-forward portfolio and GAIN Opportunity Fund II for accredited investors. The future is sustainable.