Category: Blog

hello energy, GRESB and tenant engagement…

Almost everyone in real estate is either considering investing in energy efficiency or actively doing it. An alarming few, however, succeed in communicating their efforts and achievements to their stakeholders: tenants, visitors, and the public at large. We at hello energy have what you need to really ‘do good and tell about it’.

The core elements hello energy delivers are: visualize, communicate, activate. Their combination of data, content and software gathers real-time information about a property’s energy footprint and then broadcasts it to an online dashboard and screens, installed in the lobby of each building: visible to visitors and tenants alike. The value their solution brings has been acknowledged via their Premier Partnership with GRESB.

GRESB is of course the growing global standard in proper environmental, social and governance practices that allows fair benchmarking real estate at the asset portfolio level – for international agencies with more than a few assets in play.

Tenant engagement & data management

hello energy’s Benno Schwarz: “What our solutions play into most strongly are the areas of tenant engagement and data management – two core components of GRESB. Tenant engagement is another word for making tenants aware of their energy consumption and getting them to play their part; data management is the core of our product. We truly isolate and record energy output at the property level, in such a way that gives instant insight to all involved.”

“We have already been working with several leading clients in real estate, including Rockspring, citizenM, Prologis and Syntrus Achmea. Here’s a wrap-up of their activities with participants in GRESB so far.”

Rockspring

This well-known provider of business and commercial real estate recently filled in its commitment to tenant engagement by implementing hello energy for all units in its portfolio in The Netherlands. Schwarz: “We’ve been engaged in installing hello energy screens, sensory equipment and software for the past six months. Today, each property’s energy footprint is communicated to each building’s tenants and is available with a connection to GRESB.”

citizenM

“Though citizenM is a committed subscriber to GRESB, our collaboration with them dates further back. We have been involved with citizenM since 2015, with our solution monitoring their energy and water consumption in hotels worldwide.”

Syntrus Achmea

Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance is the largest investment manager in the Netherlands, specialising in real estate and mortgage investments for institutional investors. With their sustainability ambitions, it is natural to participate and aim for outperformance within the GRESB survey. Stakeholder engagement is an important part of sustainability/ ESG and thus the GRESB assessment. That’s why Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance has chosen to do a pilot in which communication of sustainability information with tenants is central. They have chosen to place screens and software that, amongst other things, communicate energy output to visitors and tenants in order to achieve higher awareness and lowering CO2 footprint of the real estate object. We started working with them this year.”

Prologis

“Prologis is a global player in commercial real estate and distribution centers, catering to clients such as Coolblue and DHL. As a global leader they have subscribed to GRESB since the early days of the benchmark, but they had little means of communicating their successes to the community. With hello energy, that has now changed significantly.”

Instant reward

Schwarz says he’s particularly fond of the response our product gets from the end user, the tenants: “One of Prologis’ major tenants is DHL. They’ve told me how they love the fact that their energy footprint is now visualized in front of them: when they make an effort to preserve energy, it shows on the screen. Instant gratification – for us, DHL and Prologis as well, of course.”

What is WELL? An interview with expert Timo van Vliet

Real estate influences its users’ health tremendously. If anyone knows, it is Timo van Vliet. He’s a WELL-expert (“Accredited Professional”), WELL-inspirator and technical consultant at M3E. Two-and-a-half years ago Timo became an Accredited Professional. He registered the Netherlands’ first WELL-accredited building. Since a few months, he’s a member of the WELL Faculty. Its members play an important role in spreading knowledge by speaking at seminars and instructing the right people.

But what is the WELL Building Standard? “At the time it was a new, American standard to improve the health of people in buildings.” Van Vliet explains. “We achieve this by inspecting characteristics like a building’s air quality, its lighting, and its comfort. This way WELL provides a building with better circumstances. WELL focuses on a building’s users instead of the building itself. Technical, architectural and organizational interventions improve the health of a building’s users. And this health is guaranteed by continuously monitoring it through data collection. Compared to other real estate certificates, the WELL Building Standard is quite new. That does not stop it from gaining traction. On the contrary, there are more Accredited Professionals every day!

Support

Sustainability is getting more and more attention. There is more attention to the health of real estate users. Portfolios that do not take this into consideration score lower with investors. Van Vliet gets more work out of this. So much more work, that he cannot do it by himself anymore. It provides challenges: “The material is quite dense, and there are not many people with experience. So, I organized coaching sessions. Unfortunately, people with a technical background are skeptical. They see the whole thing as vague, but they are the ones who have to work with it.”

The trainees are not the only ones who have trouble with the concept. The market itself is stuck in its ways: “I’ll hear: ‘This is the way we have always done it, and now some young guy comes along to tell us how it is done.’ That is a challenge. I am glad there is awareness that things need to change. Globally, the Netherlands is the fifth in WELL-registered buildings in absolute numbers, behind mammoths like the US and China. That is an enormous achievement.”

In the past year, WELL launched its second version. Its focus shifted to collecting and monitoring data. Because of this, the certificate can also be used to make comparisons to other buildings. The only thing WELL cannot do is cause people to live healthily at home. “We try our best to make the building as healthy as possible, but our reach does not extend behind people’s front doors. So, we focus on awareness as the next logical step.” At hello energy, we agree wholeheartedly. Let’s get aware and healthy!

hello energy and Prologis visualize sustainability

Early 2017 saw Prologis, a global investor and developer of sustainable logistic storage and distribution centers, equip its first buildings with hello energy: software for communicating and visualizing energy consumption and sustainability.

It marked the first step towards a joint goal: providing building users with an insight into energy consumption and sustainability performance. “hello energy gives us the opportunity to communicate our ambitions in the field of sustainability in an informative and attractive manner,” says Arthur van Kooij, VP development Benelux at Prologis. “Using this software also strengthens our position as a frontrunner in innovation.”

Prologis has a strong focus on sustainability. A range of impressive results in 2016 include the installation of 165 MW in solar panels, and obtaining 223 certificates for sustainable construction for a total of 6.4 million m2 in 16 countries. In addition, 78% of the company’s total building portfolio was equipped with efficient lighting and 36% has cool roofs. “We think it’s important to share these achievements and use them to inspire others,” adds Van Kooij.

hello energy has currently been implemented in six pilot projects in the Netherlands. “hello energy perfectly fits with our CO2 reduction ambitions,” says René Vos, facility specialist for DHL, situated in DC2 in Nieuwegein. “It gives us a way to communicate to visitors and staff about sustainability, BREEAM and our GOGREEN plan.”. Another location was in Tilburg for Coolblue (see image below).

The hello energy software was realized in Prologis’ own house style. From the landing page to the animations shown on screens, the identity of Prologis has been fully integrated (see images below).

“hello energy is ideal for companies who have a strong focus on sustainability and energy,” comments founder Benno Schwarz. “It is an attractive and easy way to inform users, visitors and clients of the sustainable measures taken and energy savings realized. For hello energy, the partnership is a unique opportunity to work for Prologis on a global level at a later stage.”

Below an example of the playlist on display at Prologis Nieuwegein DC2.

For more information about this project please contact Benno Schwarz.

hello energy is a registered trademark.