Sustainable Biz Canada

Bentall Kennedy honoured for sustainability focus


Bentall Kennedy has been ranked by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) as among the top firms around the globe for its commitment to sustainable investing for six straight years. 

 Its new “Invest Soundly + Sustainably” report demonstrates why.

Bentall Kennedy“We see a growing link between leading sustainability practices and higher tenant satisfaction, lower energy and operation costs, and stronger financial performance,” said Bentall Kennedy vice-president of sustainability Anna Murray.

“Since 2012, our energy initiatives have resulted in utility cost savings of $22.9 million across North America.

“Academic research commissioned by Bentall Kennedy found that properties with green building certifications tend to generate higher rents, have higher tenant satisfaction scores, have higher renewal rates with fewer rent concessions and, not surprisingly, tend to use less energy.

“Surveys of tenants consistently show a deep satisfaction when there is a commitment to sustainability.”

Emphasis on green building certifications

Seventy-five per cent of Bentall Kennedy’s Canadian portfolio is BOMA BEST-certified and 60 per cent of it is LEED-certified. The company has an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system and has been an Energy Star Sustained Excellence winner for seven consecutive years.

Bentall Kennedy ranked first overall in Canada and second among its peer group globally in the 2016 GRESB.

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“We are seeing a shift in the market as green building certifications — through third-party organizations such as LEED, BOMA, IREM and Energy Star — are becoming a baseline requirement for commercial real estate,” said Murray.

Bentall Kennedy’s office at the Pearson Corporate Centre in Etobicoke, Ont., was among the first in Canada to be certified under BOMA BEST Sustainable Workplaces, a certification standard for office tenants.

Policies, procedures and programs

BOMA BEST Sustainable Workplaces allows organizations to implement a set of policies, procedures and programs that provide:

* a baseline to begin tracking and then reducing their environmental impact;
* best practices that support sustainable building operations and a healthier work environment;
* an effective program to support overall sustainability efforts;
* and recognition as a leader in corporate sustainability efforts.

Seven of Bentall Kennedy’s North American offices have now earned the certification. In each of them, teams set and monitor sustainability goals and work with fellow employees to meet or exceed them.

“Green building certifications are important and we apply a great deal of time and effort to achieving these distinctions,” said Murray. “We continue to innovate and increase the coverage of building certifications across our portfolio to deliver higher income and value.”

ForeverGreen tenant engagement program

Buildings consume 40 per cent of global energy, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. Bentall Kennedy tracks and analyzes energy, water and waste data to identify conservation opportunities, strategically focus on capital improvements and innovation, and drive performance in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Bentall Kennedy’s energy efficiency certificate program training gives property management and operations teams tools and analytics to deliver continuous improvements while its ForeverGreen tenant engagement program provides a platform for collaboration between property managers and tenants to achieve energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, and health and well-being goals.

“There are a wealth of ideas and no shortage of motivation on both sides of the relationship to tackle the environmental challenges we collectively face today,” said Murray.

“We are often prompted by our tenants to challenge the status quo and bring new, actionable ideas to the table that they can adopt with us.”

What sustainability means to tenants

Bentall Kennedy focuses on high growth and urban communities that attract young and educated talent. Within those communities, higher Walk Scores and proximity to transit hubs, bicycle paths and health-oriented facilities can enhance the long-term relevancy of its building locations.

Within those buildings, placing a focus on high indoor air quality, natural light, thermal comfort and amenity spaces such as fitness centres, bike storage and shower facilities helps reduce absenteeism, enhance job satisfaction and support higher productivity.

“Through operational excellence, amenities and active engagement, we strive to create an environment that encourages tenant loyalty,” said Murray.

“We do this to enhance value for our clients, be it through more engaged tenants who are more likely to renew, or through lower operating costs that encourage tenant retention and offer the potential for higher rents.”

Bentall Kennedy serves the interests of more than 550 institutional clients with expertise in office, retail, industrial and multi-residential assets throughout Canada and the U.S.

It’s one of the largest real estate services providers in Canada, managing 58 million square feet on behalf of third-party and investment management clients.

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Steve McLean

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot Canadian Bands and has taught reporting to college students. He is based in Toronto.

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