Positive Energy School Project Released In 2018

In Singapore, there are about 360 schools comprising more than 450,000 students and 33,000 teachers. To make schools more sustainable and conducive for learning, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is working closely with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to study the feasibility of achieving Positive Energy Schools (PES). The aim is to tap on the use of renewable energy and energy-efficient innovations to achieve net zero or even positive energy status. This means a school can produce more renewable energy than it consumes on an annual basis.

In a collaboration between Building and Construction Authority Singapore, Pinerge has launched a project to enhance thermal comfort of classroom in Tropics which is an important part of the project named Positive Energey School. The project achievement is presented in Public Service Engineering Conference 2018.

As speech by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the conference, technology is a key enabler for many exciting innovations. It is also the key belief of Pinerge that to provide professional IT tailored solution to our customers by using the latest technology. 

WorldGBC Congress 2019 to be held in Paris, France

The World Green Building Council is pleased to announce that its Congress 2019 will be held in Paris, France, in partnership with Alliance HQE-GBC France.

Titled ‘WorldGBC Congress France with Alliance HQE-GBC France’, the four-day event will take place in October, 2019. It will feature the WorldGBC Members’ Day and VIP Dinner; Board, Corporate Advisory Board and Established CEO Network meetings; the WorldGBC Global Awards; and two days of international conference sessions.

The event will take place during World Efficiency Solutions, the international meeting for a low-carbon and resource efficient economy, also held in Paris.

WorldGBC will be working with Alliance HQE-GBC France over the coming months to shape this truly international gathering that will see Green Building Councils, global speakers and delegates from five regions of the world (Europe, Africa, MENA, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific) combine with members of Alliance HQE-GBC to inspire industry, governments and society towards green buildings for everyone, everywhere.

The event will attract up to 1,000 delegates, including CEO and business leaders from the buildings and construction sector and beyond; influential policy makers from cities and national governments; leading academics; and experts from the NGO community.

Further details on WorldGBC Congress France with Alliance HQE-GBC France will be announced soon. Stay tuned!


Establishing New and Improved Waste Habits

Verdani Partners, a full-service sustainability consulting firm, has a mission to reduce waste among all the portfolios we manage. Waste is often a complicated topic to tackle as there are many restrictions, rules, and vendors to navigate through as well as requiring cooperation amongst tenants, residents, owners, managers, vendors, and property teams. Verdani works with each of our clients to educate all stakeholders on waste best practices.

As a top down measure, we have developed a comprehensive waste management policy and a one-hour waste management webinar available on our website for our clients and soon to the public. This webinar dives into issues we face today with the massive amount of waste we create and offers tips to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We also provide our property teams with trainings on ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’s new waste tracking features. We work with teams to automate the waste invoices (similar to energy and water invoices) to directly appear on ENERGY STAR within the ‘Waste & Materials’ tab.


Several best practices highlighted in the webinar are:

  • Select a recycling coordinator and conduct a waste audit
  • Determine which materials to collect for recycling
  • Select your collection contractor and design your collection system
  • Promote employee/tenant participation
  • Conduct annual electronic waste (E-waste) drives

Once our clients have watched our webinars and taken our trainings, they are ready to participate in Verdani’s Green Tenant Challenge, in which tenants compete against each other to be named the greenest workspace or living space. While this competition focuses on all aspects of sustainability, tenants can earn many points for their waste reductions strategies.

While educating tenants and providing interactive ways for them to get involved is crucial to a successful waste management program, it is also important to ensure that property managers are knowledgeable about laws and resources. In California, AB1826 required businesses that generate eight (8) cubic-yards or more of organic waste per week to provide composting services by April 1, 2016. By January 1, 2017, all businesses that generate four (4) cubic-yards or more of organic waste per week were required to establish composting services. Laws such as these are much easier to comply with when a property is knowledgeable about the requirements and have already started to take measures to proactively increase their waste diversion rates.

One of Verdani’s clients, CommonWealth Partners has had tremendous success with waste management and reduction at several properties. In 2015, these properties proactively implemented creative and effective waste management strategies to address the quantity of diversified waste generated at the buildings. Out of the 19 buildings and five states that CommonWealth Partners occupies, seven properties (or 40% of the portfolio) included composting at their buildings. In particular, 560 Mission in San Francisco achieved an astounding 88% diversion rate in 2015. The property surpassed the goals established by the city to divert 75% of waste from the landfill by 2010 and achieve zero net waste by 2020. This impressive diversion was largely a result of the property’s provision of specific types of easily accessible waste receptacles throughout the property including bins for recycling, compost, landfill, textiles, Styrofoam, e-waste, and fluorescent bulbs.

In addition to cost savings from reduced tipping fees, 560 Mission is also able to save a substantial dollar amount on each monthly bill due to city provided incentives. For every percent, up to 75%, of waste diverted from the landfill, 560 mission earns a corresponding percentage that can be discounted from the monthly bill. This can amount to a discount of upwards of $6,800 per month!

560 Mission continues to work together with tenants to establish new and improved waste habits.  The following waste reduction strategies have been instrumental in achieving their 88% diversion rate.

Waste Reduction Successes at 560 Mission

  • All 3 containers (compost, recycling, and trash) are placed together in every common area, breakroom, private office, and cubicle space
  • 560 Mission pays for a Styrofoam recycling service through Universal Waste Management.
  • Compost bins are in every restroom for paper towel composting.
  • Compost liners in the paper towel receptacles are reused to cut down on cost and unnecessary waste.
  • Compactor utilized recycling and compost.
  • An e-waste kiosk is provided for collecting
    • Batteries
    • Ink cartridges
    • PDAs
    • CDs/DVDs
    • Plastic Bags
    • Fluorescent light bulbs (AERC)
  • Lunch and Learns provided for tenants
  • Recology, a textile recycling company, offers an ecofriendly option to recycle unwanted textiles by providing drop-off bins located conveniently in the parking garage. Recology will accept donations of usable and unusable clothing items, bedding, towels, rags, and shoes. If the textile cannot be re-used or sold, it will be recycled. Recology puts the textiles back in the use cycle to conserve precious natural resources, therefore preventing greenhouse gas emissions and saving landfill space.
  • 560 Mission even employs an onsite waste sorter to ensure the waste going out is in the correct corresponding receptacle, reducing contamination of the waste types.




The Future of the Smart Precinct

Like many other sectors, property is undergoing a radical change, as new technology disrupts and permeates every aspect of the industry. Much of this change is being driven by start-ups, many of whom are joining forces with developers and other established organisations to provide innovative technologies, or challenge conventions to improve processes and drive the industry forward. This trend is known as PropTech.

PropTech and other advances in technology are rapidly changing the way buildings and cities are designed and developed, while also impacting the way humans interact with the built environment.

At Mirvac, we are exploring smart precincts and their role in our future cities. Smart precincts are digitally enabled, mixed-use urban districts that combine the latest technologies and smart services with new property and place-making strategies to provide collaboration and innovation.

In our new discussion paper, The Future of the Smart Precinct, Mirvac, together with WORKTECH Academy, has explored this trend and the impact of city-wide innovation as a predictor for the future of our workplaces and cities.

Smart precincts

Mirvac is working to deliver a smart precinct at its Australian Technology Park (ATP) at Eveleigh in Sydney. Mirvac is transforming the precinct with the aim of creating an advanced workspace-led innovation district for the tech economy by 2020.

Technology is playing a crucial role at ATP, with testbeds to be integrated throughout the site to generate data and inform the improvement of the precinct, for example:

  • Connected community: A network will be created to allow people to stay connected and transition seamlessly through the precinct. A living lab will also be created to open up data for the community to use and test new ideas.
  • Sharing economy: Shared spaces will be set up to enable an innovation precinct and shared learnings.
  • Rooftop farm: One of the first rooftop farms in Australia will provide access to locally grown produce. Sensors will monitor food production and yield, while providing real-time data for the community.

At ATP, Mirvac is also working with a tech provider to deliver a makerspace for start-ups and scale-ups to prototype and test their ideas. Start-ups can’t often afford to hire a space and equipment to test their projects, so spaces like this are essential to facilitate their advancement.

Testbeds for PropTech

Through the generation of data, smart precincts have the potential to become testbeds for urban innovation and can help foster the growth of PropTech and other new technologies in Australia. Testbeds provide the right tools for innovation and allow startups to work out which new ideas and technology will be viable.

Mirvac is committed to advancing Australia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by supporting the growth of start-ups and new technologies with Hoist. Hoist is an independent private company focused on solving the rapidly changing nature and function of work and workspaces.

A first-of-its-kind, Hoist will see the creation and curation of high-impact innovation precincts at Mirvac’s developments and assets nationally. Hoist uses an ‘outside-in’ approach that bridges the divide between diverse communities of start-ups, scale-ups, corporates and academia to drive the commercialisation of new business models and disruptive technologies. Mirvac is aiming to roll out this initiative throughout Australia to provide more opportunities for start-ups to grow in the property industry.

Hoist has already helped to grow start-ups such as Evergen, an energy services company that manages intelligent home energy systems comprising solar power, batteries and intelligent energy management developed by CSIRO.

Evergen is an example of the intersection of PropTech and environmental tech, where start-ups are helping to improve sustainability initiatives in the property industry. With sustainability now ubiquitous in new developments, this trend is set to increase, driving the planning and implementation of more sustainable smart precincts.

Hoist is also supporting retail tech, offering the winner of the Retail Pitch Fest a space at Hoist for three months. The competition, sponsored by Mirvac Retail and Inside Retail, saw Shop You win a competitive pitch process for their app that combines artificial intelligence and personal shopping data to customise and propose clothing options for users.

With new technology being developed all the time, there is potential for developers, councils, government and city planners to be overwhelmed by the endless possibilities for our cities. An important consideration when designing a smart precinct, however, is to ensure a balance between the human experience and the rise of technology to create vibrant, collaborative and inclusive places for generations to come – a vision we are committed to bringing to life at ATP.

This article is written by Paul Edwards, General Manager Workplace Experiences , Mirvac.

Sustainable cities: innovative “hubs” and battlefields against negative change

Only ten years ago, knowing about sustainability meant that you might have accidentally read a piece of avant-garde research, speculating about harmful changes in our climate. In the blink of an eye, sustainability has gained wider momentum, and today has established itself as a global goal for our future and that of our planet. However, years have passed but we still have a long way to go: threats to our environment and humankind haven’t disappeared as quickly as we’d hoped, and industrial production has largely been favouring short-term interests over environmentally-sound long-term benefits. Hence, the war against negative environmental impact is still on. What better battlefield than cities today? 

Cities are expected to be home to over 70% of the world’s population by 2050[1]. In Europe, urban areas account for 75% of the population already. It is anticipated that US350 trillion are to be spent on urban infrastructure over the next 30 years[2]. How can we use those monetary resources effectively and sustainably?

Real Estate is a sector with one of the most comprehensive sets of tools and practical standards aiming to improve sustainability and resilience in cities. And thankfully so, as buildings account for almost 40% of carbon dioxide emissions globally, and in bigger cities up to 80%[3]. Ensuring that buildings are sustainable means finding ways to use resources efficiently, without compromising their overall purpose. Buildings should be designed with the best solutions and ideas at stake and should be a grounding element of future-proofed cities.

Great theory, great lesson, but what has been done so far?

Practical learning n 1: Business for sustainability, or sustainability for business?

A lot of initiatives and developments have taken place in the real estate sector to advance sustainability holistically. More and more, environmental standards and certifications such as BREEAM, LEED and many more have set out criteria to measure buildings’ sustainability and determine which actions can contribute to better results. Along this line, the GRESB sustainability survey has become a turning point for real estate investors’ business-wide future decisions. The speculative market environment can therefore easily be influenced by what investors believe to be future risks. This means that sustainable cities and structures are at the core of the international agenda, and they have the power to steadily shape what is next.

Practical learning n 2: All that glitters today is not gold tomorrow

Industries such as Real Estate, which deal with infrastructures that need sustainable (re)development, have started rewriting their founding lessons, with an eye for long-lasting value, rather than short-term benefit. Why is business, often the enemy to our environment, suddenly turning towards more sustainable solutions?

Sustainable cities mean resilience, hence resistance to future risks and challenges. This means better stability and reward for the years to come as well as a greater understanding of how to peacefully live within our environment, rather than harming it or feeling threatened by it.  More in cities than anywhere else, where consumption patterns are the direct cause of environmental degradation, there is a need for enduring value, which can only go hand in hand with an increasing respect and understanding of how to treat our urban surroundings. What glitters today is not going to be the gold of tomorrow, if it cannot last until tomorrow!

Practical learning n 3: The happier, the better

Cities are a hub of production, which means innovation, creativity, financial reward, increasing services and ambitious professional, social and cultural opportunities. As a result, however, cities can also be stressful environments, filled with people, vehicles, infrastructure, but with little space and resources to support them. This does not only affect the resilience of businesses and infrastructures, but also of the people contributing to them, who increasingly suffer from psychological distress, anxiety and hence lower productivity. Sustainable cities and their infrastructures can only achieve enduring value if they become healthier environments for their people.

The Real Estate sector has recently made advancements in establishing health and wellbeing as a part of the sustainability agenda. Not only do sustainable buildings mean good management of resources, which inevitably meet future human needs, but research has shown that proximity to more natural elements within our urban spaces is fundamental to advancing our well-being, and as a result our productivity[4][5]. Standards such as the WELL, RESET and Fitwel have taken health and wellbeing as their main focus to aspire to resilient and thriving communities within urban spaces. Similarly, GRESB recently introduced a health and well-being module in their annual survey and it will likely gain wider coverage in future years. It seems that if you feel great within your environment, you will be happier, healthier and will reach your full potential. Isn’t this what we are all looking for?

 If you agree, then you have reason to believe that because our current cities are the major obstacle to improving sustainability and finding enduring value, they are also the inherent solution.

This article is written by Virginia Valentini, Junior Sustainability Consultant at EVORA.


[1] Neij, L., Bulkeley, H. & McCormick, K. (2015) Cities and climate change: The great decarbonisation challenge, Climate in Focus, 1-4.

[2] WWF (2012) Reinventing the City: Three Prerequisites for Greening Urban Infrastructures, p. 6

[3] WF (2012) Urban Solutions for a Living Planet. P.10

[4] WF (2012) Urban Solutions for a Living Planet. P.9

[5] Ryan, C., Gaziulusoy, I., McCormick, K & Trudgeon, M. (to be published) Virtual City Experimentation: A Critical Role for Design Visioning. In: Evans, J., Karvonen A. & Raven, R (eds) The Experimental City. London: Routledge.

Resilience: Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Change

Thinking about disasters is a hard sell. But whether we think about them or not, we pay for them. According to the 2015 UNISDR Global Assessment Report, expected annual global losses are estimated to reach $314 billion in the built environment alone. All indicators suggest that the frequency and intensity of disasters will increase, meaning that this cost will go up. Disruptions—natural, human-caused, or a combination of the two—are inevitable.

In this new reality, organizations that are able to manage risk will be better prepared to withstand disruptions and to capitalize on opportunities as they arise. Building owners are well positioned to take a leadership role and to benefit by going beyond preparedness to resilience.

Green building strategies can play a role in risk mitigation, but by themselves, they do not position organizations to respond to a dynamic environment. By building on sustainability efforts and tools, however, it is possible to prepare for disasters in ways that make organizations stronger today and that pay off whether disaster strikes or not. This is what Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, calls the “resilience dividend,”—the return on investment that organizations (both public and private) can achieve by investing in resilience strategies.

Resilience can be defined as the capacity of individuals, organizations and communities to adapt and thrive in the face of stressors and shocks. Shocks are the big events that keep emergency managers awake at night—major storms, earthquakes, tsunamis and other headline-grabbers. The stressors are what make us vulnerable to those shocks—crumbling infrastructure, degraded environments, public health issues, chronic unemployment, poverty.

The ability to weather the proverbial (and literal) storms will require new levels of creativity. The resources simply don’t exist to solve one problem at a time. The threats we face are interrelated, and the solutions must be as well. Systemic approaches are our best hope.

Many studies of disasters reveal how addressing underlying vulnerabilities can limit the impact of events and speed the recovery (for example, see Social Capital and Community Resilience by Daniel P. Aldrich and Michelle A. Meyer). The places, people and organizations that fare best are not necessarily those that are the strongest per se—strength without flexibility creates rigidity. Instead, resilience lies in the multiple points of connection—between people and communities; between sources of critical resources like energy, water and food and their destinations; across modes of transportation and communication; across segments of society.

Resilience is not an end state—it is a practice. Those points of connection are not created overnight. They require on-going maintenance and development. Local governments are gearing up to tackle many of the issues, but their efforts cannot do everything. Every sector of society has a part to play.

Building and property owners are well-positioned to take a leadership role at a finer grain in the built environment. Buildings serve as a nexus of the physical environment and human interaction. The way buildings are designed, managed and operated matters on a daily basis as well as during disruptions.

Resilient operations require assessing risk not only at the building and operational scales, but also at community scales. The vulnerabilities of the communities that intersect with a building have a direct connection to resilience of organizations themselves. Imagine, for example, that in a disaster your facility remains intact, but that the neighborhood around you is in chaos. You may not in fact be able to resume full operations in a meaningful way.

But what if you have existing relationships with your community and already know who will need help and who will be able to provide it? What if you are able to offer shelter, energy, water or food to your neighbors? What if you have invested in making sure your maintenance staff is trained to act as first responders?

Suddenly you are no longer a victim of the disaster. You are the hero.

This means broadening your understanding of your community to include your workers, contractors, visitors and suppliers. It requires thinking beyond your span of control and considering your span of influence and connection. It requires talking to your neighbors.

But the potential rewards are substantial and go far beyond those of corporate altruism. By incorporating social vulnerability assessments, direct community engagement processes and programs that promote social equity into your risk management program, you can generate measurable value. By making your physical assets as well as the people in and around them more resilient, you open the door to mutually beneficial opportunities.

The business case for an integrative approach to resilience is strong, as organizations can capture direct and indirect benefits such as:

  • Reduced uncertainty
  • Improved business continuity, including reduced losses and faster recovery
  • Improved financing terms and insurance rates associated with risk reduction
  • Reduced operating costs associated with simple, local or passive strategies
  • Improved ability to leverage new opportunities
  • Improved community relations
  • Improved brand association
  • Improved quality of life and public health for both building occupants and the surrounding community

With new tools and programs currently under development, what sound like lofty goals on first blush can become realistic, cost-effective measures that can be implemented at the building scale. For example, on a global level, the R!SE initiative, an international effort being led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, PricewaterhouseCoopers and other partners, is developing a framework to make all investments, private and public, risk-sensitive. The program will engage with business, the public sector, education, civil society, insurance and investors.

At a local level, the USGBC Los Angeles Chapter is developing a Building Resilience rating system to work seamlessly with LEED for existing buildings that includes metrics and processes for risk management and resilient operations of both physical assets and social capital. While the program will focus initially on Southern California, it will serve as a template for a broader national/international program.

FEMA estimates that $1 in preparedness is worth $4 in recovery. Others put that ratio closer to 1:20 or more. The goal now is to activate investment of that first dollar in resilience and to leverage as far as it will go.

This article was written by Heather Joy Rosenberg.

Green Finance in Real Estate Roundtable Event Report

On 9 May, the GRESB-APREA Green Real Estate Financing & Investing Seminar first examined real estate opportunities in the context of green finance and investment strategies. The seminar, which was supported by the HKGBC and WorldGBC APN, was well-attended by over 130 participants including many HKGBC Members. Josien Piek, GRESB Head of EMEA, and Martins Zurko, GRESB Debt Associate, were both speakers at the event. Ruben Langbroek, GRESB Head of Asia Pacific moderated the discussions. 

The Roundtable co-organised by HKGBC and GRESB on 10 May focused on analysis of the market enablers, relevant frameworks and standards as well as government regulations and the impact to real estate sector, with the presence of professional institutes, think tanks, public bodies and representatives from financial and construction sectors. Speakers discussed the green finance instruments that are available, such as green loan and green mortgage, and how these emerging tools could fill the investment gap created by the opportunities from the climate actions and the Paris Agreement, as well as the development needs in China, while guests were engaged in a dynamic exchange of ideas. Read the full event report here.

Scaling Building Resilience in the Face of Climate Change

In 2017 the U.S. experienced devastating storms, fires, and hurricanes that caused over $358 Billion in damages. And for countries and communities around the world, they continue to be impacted by climate change as weather patterns become unpredictable.

With an upward trend of increased average global temperatures, the effects of climate change will continue to worsen and intensify. In addition to hurricanes, we have also seen many other climate related risks including longer fire seasons, accelerated rates of coastal erosion, higher intensity of storms, greater numbers of drought-prone areas, and increased river runoff, all of which pose a threat to water resources, biological systems, agriculture, and human health.

As scientists continue to predict stronger weather patterns, it is essential that we learn to adapt to this new climate. It’s time to think strategically about how our existing buildings and infrastructure needs to be renovated and new developments redesigned to incorporate resiliency strategies. We must become proactive instead of reactive.

Building Resilience Requires People to Think Regionally

Since each region poses different weather-related risks, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to climate change adaptation. To address these risks and increase building resilience, we must understand them from a regional perspective and devise adaptation strategies accordingly. Building resilience planning requires property owners and managers to adapt to the fixed, long-term nature of real estate assets and the ever-changing climate. This is done to safeguard assets against these extreme climate risks prone to the region and maintain building occupant safety. All to proactively mitigate the financial risk that extreme weather events can cause.

In addition, cities must also step up to ensure that energy, infrastructure, and transportation networks are fortified during more frequent and severe weather events. Partnerships between private and public sectors are key to ensuring that assets are protected and made resilient in the face of climate change and natural disasters.

While resiliency requires multi-stakeholder collaboration, there are many strategies that property owners and managers can consider when assessing a building’s vulnerabilities.

Resilience Strategies for New and Existing Buildings

  1. Assess Vulnerability and Risk: Performing a risk assessment for existing buildings is an important first step of a resilience program because it helps owners to better understand their risks and develop a strategy to address them. The portfolio wide sustainability strategies we have helped our real estate clients implement also incorporates a Climate Change and Resiliency Guide and a risk assessment analysis to be used for their existing assets as well as for new acquisitions.
  2. Make a Plan: After determining the potential risks, it’s time to establish a plan that details the steps needed for a property to be prepared in the event of a disaster. First, evaluate the existing infrastructure and determine if there are changes that need to be made to ensure the building can withstand a disaster. The next step is to have a tangible action plan in place for all occupants to know what to do when a disaster strikes. Some cities have already created a resiliency plan. One example is the City of LA Resiliency Plan and Resiliency LA initiatives. Cities like Los Angeles have also added resiliency officers to help them prepare. These resources provide a well-rounded understanding of how cities and buildings can prepare for disaster. Verdani’s resiliency guide is geared towards recommended actions at a building level.
  3. Optimize Building Structures and Sites: There are several crucial steps that can be taken to optimize sites and structures for extreme weather conditions. For areas with extreme heat, analyze the possibility of a white roof or installing vegetation on the roof. Implement a hazard resilient landscape design by growing plants with a large root system (trees, shrubs, native vegetation) that allow for water to percolate faster. Depending on the year of the building, it may be necessary to add extra insulation to ceilings, walls, and crawlspaces. Utilize materials that can withstand potential flooding and manage heat gains. Floodproofing your property is an instrumental aspect of scaling building resilience, especially for underground spaces.
  4. Fortify Building Systems: Prioritize what critical systems need the most by running backups and conducting frequent tests to ensure the backup power systems can bear the load required in case of an emergency. Resilient heating, cooling and ventilation systems allow for cross ventilation for passive cooling if the equipment is no longer operating during a disaster. Ensure that there are building water reserves available if occupants must stay at the building but the water pipes are inoperable. Extend emergency lighting and services. In addition, keep generators or other back up power sources located on higher ground and away from flood-prone areas to ensure the units will remain operational when needed most.
  5. Streamline Building Operations: The operational procedures of your properties are just as important for resilience during a disaster as the buildings, sites, and systems themselves. An emergency communications plan is vital. Print hard copies of tenant listings to assist in evacuation and outreach services before, during, and after disasters. Train building and facility teams to be prepared for emergency repairs. Keep the emergency plan readily accessible on the building’s website. See sample from City National Plaza, a Los Angeles property managed by CommonWealth Partners.
  6. Protect People: Finally, your most valuable assets need their own comprehensive plan. During a heat wave, children and elderly are the most vulnerable demographics and are most in need of cool areas in the building. These areas should be run on a generator in the event of a power outage. Make time to meet with tenants to go over what potential needs they may have in case of an emergency and identify local shelters and other options available to assist them. It is important to also identify the most vulnerable building occupants and have a plan for them. As an example, during a black out in New York, some of the building occupants such as contracted janitorial staff that depended on public transportation were stranded at the property for five days. Since then, the building has made provisions for having cots on site and identified a location that occupants could sleep in the case of another power outage. It is also recommended to install outlet plugs in common areas that can be used by occupants and the community in case they need to power their cellphones to communicate with loved ones.

While it may seem like there are a lot of steps to take to be fully prepared for a natural disaster, it is in the best interest of property owners and tenants alike to be proactive and prepared rather than reactive in the face of an emergency.

Case Study on Parkway Properties during Hurricane Harvey

The City of Houston is no stranger to hurricanes and flooding. Before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in 2017, Houston was also hit hard with flooding in 2001 by Tropical Storm Allison and again in 2008 by Hurricane Ike. Building owners across Houston learned hard lessons from those prior flooding events that helped inform their response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

In the case of Parkway Properties, a client of Verdani that owns several buildings in the Houston metro area, they had formalized a Building Resilience and Climate Change policy in previous years to help deal with climate related risks. The measures included in the policy involved plans for proactively preventing and mitigating damages from flooding and water damage caused by hurricanes and included 19 of their office buildings.

One proactive measure their building teams took was installing flood gates in low-lying areas across Parkway’s entire Houston portfolio. After experiencing the previous storms and the damage it took on the buildings and city overall, they understood that the underground garages were susceptible to flooding. And as Hurricane Harvey engulfed the city, the flood gate features were put to good use. Along with the flood gates, the engineering team’s disaster prevention plans for Hurricane Harvey incorporated the widespread use of dewatering pumps in low-lying areas of the properties as well. The prevention plans also included 24/7 on-site maintenance staff for every building during the hurricane event itself. Having 24/7 staffing during Harvey’s landfall proved to be a vital aspect of the plan because they were able to walk through every floor of each building multiple times each day to assess damages. Using this strategy, they were able to identify and fix minor problems in real time before they became major issues. They could quickly power down elevators or other critical building systems if necessary based on any rapidly changing conditions in the hurricane.

With the resiliency policy and precautionary measures in place, Parkway’s Houston assets were fully prepared for the impending Hurricane Harvey. They were able to make it through Hurricane Harvey without any major damage to any of their office buildings and without any major flood insurance claims.


Recent climate change impacts will continue to increase demand for the adoption of resiliency, sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives. Investors and tenants are creating a greater push for more energy and water efficiency investments, climate change resilience preparedness, and workplace health safety and productivity. Many buildings and cities are preparing for climate change and resilience adaptation policies to address climate change risks, infrastructure needs, and increased resources to meet the needs for water and energy as populations shift. Policy and regulation will continue to drive the building industry to address these issues and increase transparency for these topics. Successful leaders must stay in front of these trends and be proactive about what is important for building occupants.

Climate Change is affecting everyone, and scaling resiliency strategies in the built environment is especially practical as we enter another hurricane and fire season in 2018.

Need Help with a Risk Assessment or Resiliency Plan?

Verdani Partners has performed risk assessment and formalized resiliency plans for national portfolios and helped strategically prepare for the uncertainties posed by climate related risks. If there are questions you or your team have about creating a resiliency plan for a portfolio or property, please reach out to our team at info@verdani.com. We are happy to share our insights and discuss how a plan can help mitigate climate related risks for you.

To Stay Up to Date or Reach Out:

  • VIBE: Please follow VIBE’s Facebook page to collaborate with us on resiliency strategies on an ongoing basis.
  • Verdani’s Website: Visit our site to see what Verdani can do for your portfolio and property

Additional Sources

This article is written by Jessica Loeper, Kelly Hagarty and Daniele Horton and edited by Adam Lindquist and Anne Shiraish, Verdani Partners.

SLEB Hub Launches in Sep, 2018

The Building and Construction Authority of Singapore plans to roll out the Green Buildings Innovation Cluster - National Building Energy Efficiency Repository (GBIC–Repository) to empower Singapore built environment practitioners (e.g. building owners and developers, consultants and contractors, policy makers, service and technology providers, research institutions, etc.) to gain adequate insights to support decision marking.

As an important part of GBIC, SLEB Hub (Super Low Energy Building) have it soft launch at the opening of the Singapore Green Building Week 2018 in Sep. This hub is a one-step integrated Research, Development and Demonstration hub to experiment, exhibit and exchange knowledge of promising building energy-efficient solution with industry stakeholders. It aims to encourage and accelerate the adoption of promising building energy-efficient technologies and solution, bringing them closer to market.

This SLEB Smart Hub goes beyond the sharing of ideas and data to foster closer collaboration among and within the industry and the research community. It contains technology directory and project directory. It has a central national database of building energy efficiency technologies with powerful smart data tools enabling professionals to shar experiences, learn well to adopt innovative technologies. And using the AI technology, this hub is also a smart advisor for building owner & developers, consultants& contractors to achieve the goal of ‘ Positive Energy Low-Rise, Zero Energy Medium-Rise, Super Low Energy High-Rise Building for the Tropics’.

As a technology provider and industry cooperator, Pinerge are embarking to set up this SLEB Hub together with BCA to provide technology information, illustrate buildings’ energy performance data, share best practices, show project information and disclose real-time building and technology performance. Pinerge is always working towards the common goal to shape a greener built environment that benefits Singaporeans.

WorldGBC announces new Chair & Vice Chair of Corporate Advisory Board

Thursday 07th December 2017


The World Green Building Council has announced the new Chair and Vice-Chair of its Corporate Advisory Board (CAB), the select group of companies which are global leaders on sustainability and which serve to guide WorldGBC on its strategy and activities.

Emmanuel Normant, Vice-President, Sustainable Development at Saint-Gobain, has been appointed the new Chair of the CAB, and Ibrahim Al-Zu'bi, Head of Sustainability at Majid Al Futtaim, has become the Vice Chair.

Emmanuel has held a number of high profile roles at Saint-Gobain since 2002, prior to which he worked for the French Ministry in charge of environment.

Saint-Gobain joined the CAB in 2013, and also supports WorldGBC across a number of other areas: it is a global sponsor of the Better Places for People project, a Regional Partner for the European Network of Green Building Councils, and is a member of national Green Building Councils in over 40 countries.

Emmanuel said: “I’m very honored to be appointed as the new chair of the CAB. The work done by the GBCs in more than 70 countries is remarkable. WorldGBC is now playing a key role at a global level to design what should be the building and construction of tomorrow. Jointly with Ibrahim and the CAB, and with the support of the Saint-Gobain teams, I hope to be able to help WorldGBC Chair Tai Lee Siang, CEO Terri Wills and the whole green building movement towards its next steps.”

As Head of Sustainability at Majid Al Futtaim, Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi oversees the group-wide Sustainability strategy of the company. He is also the Senior Advisor on Sustainability for the Dubai Land Department, Government of Dubai.

Majid Al Futtaim has been a member of the CAB since 2015, and last year became the first official Partner of WorldGBC's MENA Regional Network.

Ibrahim said: “It is a tremendous honour to be named the next Vice-Chair of the Corporate Advisory Board. I look forward to working with Emmanuel, Terri and the entire CAB in providing strategic guidance to the World Green Building Council. At Majid Al Futtaim, we are committed to green buildings and other sustainable business practices. We have made incredible progress on our sustainability journey, launching the region’s first Net Positive strategy earlier this year. We proudly join the WorldGBC and its CAB in sharing joint responsibility for our environment.”

Terri Wills, CEO of WorldGBC, said: “I’d like to congratulate both Emmanuel and Ibrahim on their new positions within the Corporate Advisory Board. Their expertise on green building – particularly their unique business perspectives – will add real value to the CAB and the advice that it gives to our green building movement.”

WorldGBC’s Corporate Advisory Board is composed of 12 companies - AkzoNobel, City Developments Ltd, JLL, JPMorgan Chase, Keppel Land, Lendlease, Majid Al Futtaim, Philips, Saint-Gobain, Shaw Contract, United Technologies and Volvo Construction Equipment.

It is with the financial support of the CAB that WorldGBC is able to advance green buildings as an effective solution to environmental, social and economic issues, and help member Green Building Councils to grow and flourish. The CAB meets twice a year in person, and once virtually.

Emmanuel replaces former Chair John Mandyck, Chief Sustainability Officer at United Technologies, who continues as a member of the Corporate Advisory Board. WorldGBC would like to thank John for his hard work and dedication over the last few years.

To find out more about our Corporate Advisory Board please visit the CAB web page, or to become a member visit the work with us page or contact Terri Wills by emailing office@worldgbc.org.