Supercharging our sustainable future

A new guide to help property owners cut energy costs and reduce emissions was launched at The Property Congress while Australia’s real estate sector took home GRESB’s top spot for the eight years running.

Distributed energy in the property sector – today’s opportunities was developed by the Property Council and Clean Energy Finance Corporation to give building owners and managers insights into benefits and payback periods of clean energy technologies.

The guide analyses a range of technologies – from solar PV and batteries to heat pumps, off-site renewables and demand management systems – and indicates which are best suited to different property types. 

Launching the guide to a packed crowd at The Property Congress, Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison said the industry’s leaders had demonstrated that clean energy technology could deliver “rapid improvements in the quality and performance of buildings” while mitigating against rising electricity prices and reducing emissions.

Examples in the guide include James Cook University, which is saving $3 million each year after installing thermal storage. The Sydney Markets have seen an 11 per cent drop in power consumption after investing in one of Australia’s largest private-sector rooftop solar arrays.

Ian Learmonth, CEO of CEFC, said the guide takes “the hard work out of switching to clean energy solutions right across the property sector”. 

Meanwhile, Australia’s real estate sector once again outperformed the rest of the world, topping the GRESB table for the eighth consecutive year.

GRESB, the global benchmark for environment, sustainability and governance in real estate, gave Australia and New Zealand an average score of 76, up from 73 last year. The global average was 68.

More 79,000 assets, representing US$3.5 trillion in gross asset value, were assessed globally in 2018.

Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial was ranked number one globally for the fourth time, this year against a record 903 real estate companies, funds and developers.

Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Retail was named global and regional sector leader for non-listed retail. The developer’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial was global and regional sector leader for non-listed office, while the top ranking for non-listed developer went to Lendlease’s International Towers Sydney trust. 

Commenting on the global trend towards sustainable assets, Lendlease’s managing director of investment management in Australia, Josh McHutchison said “we are seeing investors increasingly apply environmental and social performance measures to their investment decisions, not only to be good corporate citizens but as an indicator of delivering long-term risk adjusted returns”.

Frasers Property Australia’s logistics and industrial trust placed first for listed industrial, and Stockland for listed diversified office and retail portfolios.

Goodman Australia and Dexus were named regional sector leaders. And GRESB’s third infrastructure assessment singled out AMP Capital, Macquarie Super and Adelaide Airport as sector leaders.

Stockland followed up its great GRESB score with the top spot on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index – the fifth time the developer has held this pivotal position.

Stockland’s managing director and CEO Mark Steinert says his team has “taken a proactive and holistic approach to sustainability, developing policies and implementing initiatives that have cemented our industry leadership for more than a decade”.