In addition to spreading awareness of your company’s sustainability and energy-management programs to your employees, it’s also important to make sure that you and your team are aware of any pending regulation that might affect your building’s energy management or sustainability plans. Staying on top of potential legislation and regulations will allow you to avoid surprises and keep you from having to play catch-up.
Brookfield Properties, headquartered in New York City, prides itself on being poised for regulatory changes. As the government continues to alter regulations, Brookfield maintains a proactive plan to bring all of its properties in line with any new statutes and allow for consistent response to any future requests from its tenants about where their Brookfield building stands in terms of energy efficiency and greenhouse-gas emissions.
Brookfield Properties is actively involved in the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR® program, as well as the Carbon Disclosure Project. Involvement in the ENERGY STAR program is an excellent way for Brookfield to stay on top of proposed legislation, as most legislation going through Congress now suggests the use of ENERGY STAR as one of the main measurement tools. By registering all of its properties, Brookfield has been able to have a good idea about the statuses of its buildings and where they stand on the national level. Additionally, the Carbon Disclosure Project is an excellent tool for allowing investors and the general public to view the properties’ carbon emissions and other environmental factors.
Organizations exist to help real estate firms and building owners and managers stay on top of pending legislation that might affect a building – especially legislation that has to do with sustainability efforts and energy management. Brookfield remains active with organizations such as the Real Estate Roundtable Sustainability Committee, NYSERDA, BOMA Intl., IREM, and the National Association of Realtors, which are active in keeping members up to date on the progress (or lack thereof) of pending legislation.
According to Matthew Cherry, manager of corporate communications at Brookfield Properties, BOMA and NYSERDA have been very active in the proposed New York City legislation, and have attended the city planning meetings and sent out summaries. Both NYSERDA and BOMA have sponsored and participated in seminars and workshops to give building owners and managers ideas about what can be done if legislation is passed in its present form.
Cherry says that, by attempting to stay ahead of the curve and anticipating regulatory changes, Brookfield is poised to help mitigate some of the exposure that climate change will pose, and it is able to ensure that it will continue to progress in limiting Brookfield’s contribution to greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as lower its carbon footprint. Brookfield’s proactive plan includes keeping up to date on its energy initiatives and the progress of legislation, such as the cap-and-trade bill; Brookfield is able to do that by registering its buildings with ENERGY STAR and performing energy-saving retrofits and upgrades wherever possible. By utilizing available incentive programs through organizations such as NYSERDA and the federal government, Brookfield is often able to offset some of the costs of energy-efficiency retrofits. Additionally, involvement with organizations such as BOMA and the Real Estate Roundtable allows Brookfield to help form proposed legislation and possibly ensure adequate funding in the proposed bills.
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