At the forefront of decarbonizing real estate

SVP Environmental Strategies shares how we’re using technology to lead the real estate industry towards a sustainable future

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In a world where environmental challenges are increasingly becoming business challenges, pioneering new tools not only underlines our environmental stewardship but also cements our dedication to a sustainable future.

Mike Izzo
Senior Vice President
Environmental Strategies

What’s the Point?

As a forward-thinking real estate investment manager in relentless pursuit of excellence in sustainability and innovation, Hines has ventured into the intersection between the environment and technology. Innovative methods of tracking and mitigating environmental impacts are not just trends, but necessities.

Insights sat down with Senior Vice President Environmental Strategies Mike Izzo to discuss how our commitment to carbon reduction is not merely theoretical; we've developed a tool directly connected to our Global Data Hub to convert rhetoric into action.

What is the CRREM tool?
The Carbon Risk in Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) is a landmark tool in the property sector, recognized for its insights into the risks associated with high carbon emissions. Hines, being an early adopter, drew upon CRREM to understand carbon emissions risk and selectively carve out properties for asset decarbonization roadmaps.

Why did we customize the CRREM tool?
In 2022, we began collaborating with our data team on a custom web-based tool, powered by CRREM methodology, to run scenarios for more Hines assets to better understand their carbon, to help us track progress toward our net zero target and determine decarbonization pathways for every asset in our global portfolio.

Recognizing the power in customization, we tailored CRREM to not just align with but to drive our goal of achieving net-zero operational carbon by 2040 and to be more connected to all the data we have in our ecosystem. The result is a bespoke, web-based tool that runs scenarios for every asset in our global portfolio, providing a unique vantage point. In essence, we have created our own compass, guiding us to sound environmental practices that, in turn, fortify our market position and establish definitive action points for our sustainability goals.

What is your vision for the Carbon Impact Assessment Tool?
The Hines Carbon Impact Assessment Tool, powered by CRREM, is an integral part of our efforts to align with the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) and achieve net zero operational carbon emissions by 2040. The overarching purpose of the Tool is to determine the pace at which a property’s emissions and energy use must decline to align with a 1.5ºC global warming pathway and our commitment to SBTi.

Our broader goal with the Carbon Impact Assessment Tool is to lead the market by creating actionable decarbonization plans and leveraging our vertically integrated expertise to implement them, transitioning Hines assets efficiently and sustainably.

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What are some of the challenges you faced along the way?
Normalizing, aggregating, and consolidating data from our properties across 30 countries poses its own set of challenges, compounded by the diverse array of software platforms utilized within our global portfolio. The goal of achieving standardized, centralized data collection and streamlining reporting processes was paramount.

Obtaining pertinent and auditable data from external sources can be an additional hurdle and a complex endeavor. In striving towards net zero objectives, it is imperative to consider all emissions originating from a building, encompassing not only those from building systems but also those arising from the activities of tenants, occupants, and other end users.

Who is using the CRREM tool?
All of our property teams will be expected to conduct a CRREM-based analysis on their assets to understand the energy goals for the property, as well as how it's progressing against emissions reduction targets.

Why should teams use these tools?
The tool collects energy, water, waste, refrigerant, and aggregates the information to help our teams gain asset- and portfolio-level insights. Our teams can input an asset’s energy data and get a stranding risk analysis, and they can sort by building type across regions, types of spaces (office, retail, living, etc.) and other metadata to understand broader trends.

Utilizing this tool will help our project teams visualize if they're aligned with the science and upcoming legislation and are protected from risk or if the asset needs to prioritize attention.

Are you already seeing results from using the tool?
The tool is already helping us establish internal benchmarks and KPIs aligned with our four pillars to decarbonization, provide the data we need for transparent reporting, and meet investor expectations. It is also helping us make a quantitative case for integrating decarbonization into our capital planning.

How does the Carbon Impact Assessment Tool enhance our focus on sustainability?
The Hines Carbon Impact Assessment Tool is evidence to the belief that progress stems from active participation, not passive observation. It’s a symbol of our commitment to transform the real estate industry into a partner in preserving our planet. Through innovation, data and actionable strategies, we are not just future proofing our operations; we are pioneering a pathway for others to follow.