January 31, 2019

IMT is laser-focused on unleashing the potential of energy-efficient buildings to improve bottom lines and property value, drive economic growth, and reduce harmful pollution to create healthier, resilient cities. Collaborating with building owners, tenants, governments, and other city and corporate stakeholders, as well as NGOs and strategic partners, IMT’s expert staff strive to catalyze collective and permanent market change. So, who is IMT? Get to know our subject matter experts in this blog series.

How to achieve effective
public-private collaboration
on climate: Pursue valuable, conscientious progress by balancing market feasibility and innovation with governments’ ambitions and community goals.
Chris Brown, IMT Director of Private Sector Engagement, has the details.

What do you value most about energy efficiency and high-performance buildings?

The value that high-performance buildings can create covers a wide range of benefits—environmental, economic, and social—but they are also critical to the people who live and work in them. Energy-efficient, high-performing buildings are a way for building owners and managers to positively differentiate their services and their buildings. At the same time, they are an opportunity for building occupants to be deliberate and strategic about the kind of spaces where they spend upwards of 90 percent of their time.

If we zoom out to the community and city level, the continued investment in higher-performing buildings addresses the obvious need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as buildings contribute an average 50-70 percent of a city’s total emissions. However, city governments are increasingly recognizing the added benefits of supporting the expansion of an industry that promotes innovation, spurs job growth, and fosters economic development, all while contributing to lower emissions and healthier neighborhoods.

What perspective do you bring to IMT?

I’ve spent 15 years working in commercial real estate, with much of that time focused on connecting sustainability goals with real estate priorities. I have also been very lucky to have opportunities to work with my peers and leading industry groups such as the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Nareit to make sustainability a more realistic, tangible strategy that is becoming standard business practice.

At IMT, I’m very excited to work with a dedicated and creative group of colleagues to tackle the energy efficiency piece in the larger climate change puzzle—the addition of the realities of the commercial real estate industry can balance market feasibility and innovation with the cities’ need to address the climate challenges they face. With improved alignment and mutual understanding, we can achieve real progress in buildings that is both profitable and conscientious.

How does your work at IMT contribute to market transformation?

Achieving market transformation means finding answers to complex questions facing our industry: How do we harness the momentum around climate change initiatives to spur action in the private sector? How do we market common-sense energy efficiency to be a top priority for real estate, and how do we reach out across cities and states to effectuate outcomes that are at scale—in order to be profitable—and at pace, in order to be impactful?

One of IMT’s areas of focus is streamlining energy efficiency in leased space. There is a real challenge to tackle the mismatch in the relationship between who uses the energy in a building (tenants) and who is responsible for paying for it (landlords). IMT’s Landlord-Tenant Energy Partnership recognizes this challenge and works closely with our over 80 participants to align new partnerships across portfolios and brands, communicate the shared value to both parties, and enable joint pursuit of lower energy consumption and the overall improvement of spaces that comes with it. Market transformation requires this brand of unprecedented collaboration.

What most excites you about working with cities and local communities?

Working directly with city governments is an opportunity to improve the relationship between local communities and commercial real estate. Cities that seek out partnerships with diverse real estate owners will have expert partners on their side that can help craft and deliver the necessary laws and regulations to achieve the climate goals that their constituents demand in ways that the local real estate community can technically and financially support.

What are you hoping to learn in 2019?

In 2019, I will be working more directly with IMT’s ambitious city partners. I look forward to gaining a detailed understanding of what these leading cities will tackle next while helping to deploy the right combinations of market-facing initiatives and smart policies to be effective in our shared goal to achieve energy-efficient buildings and contribute to stronger, growing communities.

Program Area(s):

Finance , Policy , Real Estate

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