Cushman & Wakefield Environmental Challenge

Cushman and Wakefield team

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An ENERGY STAR partner since 1999, Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) is committed to enhancing the environmental performance of its portfolio of managed properties across the United States. In December 2008, C&W signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional office in New York City, making the firm the first real estate services provider to enter into such a partnership with EPA Region 2. Through this MOU, C&W committed to implementing a series of environmental best practices designed to enhance energy efficiency, reduce carbon footprint, promote water conservation, and minimize waste within C&W’s corporate offices and in properties under management across the United States.

To meet the goals set forth in the MOU, and to expand upon success with the ENERGY STAR program, C&W launched the Cushman & Wakefield Environmental Challenge in 2009. The Challenge calls upon its managed properties to reduce energy consumption, water use, and waste disposal by 10 percent over a 2008 baseline. The Environmental Challenge is led by C&W’s Sustainability Strategies Team within the firm’s Global Client Solutions Group.


Lead by Example

Over the past decade, C&W has made significant strides in bringing energy efficiency and sustainability to the forefront of its activities. In addition to signing the C&W-EPA MOU and initiating the Environmental Challenge in 2009, C&W has also led by example in the following ways.

Energy and Other Green Management Initiatives in C&W Corporate Offices

Environmental responsibility begins at C&W corporate offices. As part of the C&W-EPA MOU, C&W committed to a number of efforts focused on its corporate properties, including:

  • Considering environmental criteria in office site selection for new leased space.
  • Initiating pilot programs in selected offices to promote energy efficiency, water conservation, waste minimization, and recycling, and purchasing of recycled products.
  • Pursuing green building certification when undertaking fit-outs or refurbishments of new leased space, where feasible.

To date, C&W has initiated pilot programs in five branch offices to benchmark the environmental footprint associated with business operations in these locations, which includes tracking energy and water consumption in Portfolio Manager. For C&W branches nationwide, the firm issued the C&W Green Office Tool Kit and developed “green teams” to support best practices in office sustainability.

In addition, Cushman & Wakefield’s global headquarters is located in an ENERGY STAR certified building, 1290 Avenue of the Americas in New York City (owned and operated by Vornado Realty Trust). Within this property, C&W is using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to actively measure and track the energy it consumes as a tenant in a leased space.

Energy and Other Green Initiatives in Facilities and Property Management

C&W also works in partnership with its clients to realize the benefits of green initiatives across its managed portfolio. To date, C&W’s emphasis on energy efficiency has helped building owners to earn the ENERGY STAR at more than 120 properties under C&W management, representing nearly 50 million square feet. Two initiatives in particular have helped to drive this success across client facilities:

Green Practice Policies

C&W developed a set of Green Practice Policies (GPPs) that outline sustainable approaches to building operations. The GPPs cover energy efficiency, water efficiency, solid waste management, sustainable purchasing, integrated pest management, green construction, green cleaning, sustainable site management, and no-smoking policies. C&W’s GPPs are based on a variety of industry-leading guidance, including EPA’s ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management, the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED-EB: O&M rating system, EPA’s WasteWise program, and the BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP). These GPPs are embedded in the C&W Client Solutions Property and Facility Operations Manual.

Mandatory Tracking of Environmental Metrics

C&W requires that all managed properties benchmark energy consumption and water use in EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and track waste disposal and recycling in EPA’s WasteWise Re-TRAC tool. All data must be shared with C&W via the “master account” feature in each tracking tool. Cushman & Wakefield provides training to all property and facility managers to ensure that they are proficient in benchmarking the energy performance of their buildings via Portfolio Manager, as well as in tracking waste reduction efforts using Re-TRAC.


Plan an ENERGY STAR Challenge

In order to accelerate the implementation of C&W’s Green Practice Policies while measuring environmental improvement over time, the C&W Environmental Challenge was developed. The Challenge was officially launched to C&W managed properties in October 2009.

During the planning phase, C&W identified four core elements of the program:

  • Track improvements in energy efficiency, emissions reductions, water use, and waste generation consistently;
  • Establish a common baseline year against which to measure the environmental progress of all participating facilities;
  • Require participants to share metrics with the C&W Sustainability Strategies Team, so that the firm can report on progress over time; and
  • Recognize achievements of individual properties for incremental improvements over time, as well as for high performance as recognized by a third-party program (such as the ENERGY STAR certification or LEED-EB: O&M certification).

After these core elements were defined during the planning phase, C&W identified the tools that would be used and the specific steps required for program implementation. It was decided that properties would participate by:

  1. Benchmarking building energy use and water consumption with Portfolio Manager, EPA’s free online benchmarking tool and a core element of the ENERGY STAR program.
  2. Reporting waste disposal in EPA’s Re-TRAC tool, a free online resource provided to partners in EPA’s WasteWise program.
  3. Sharing data with the C&W corporate master accounts in Portfolio Manager and Re-TRAC.
  4. Achieving facility-level environmental improvements during each calendar year, leveraging the strategies outlined in C&W’s Green Practice Policies.

Following the launch of the program in October, C&W sent out multiple e-mails promoting the program and providing guidance on how to participate. In November and December of 2009, C&W held multiple Environmental Challenge Overview Webinars to market the program to its managed portfolio. Properties meeting program requirements then attended training on the Challenge and submitted an application form via the C&W Environmental Challenge Intranet portal. The Client Solutions Sustainability Strategies Team confirmed the data provided in the application by reconciling with reports from the EPA Portfolio Manager and Re-TRAC tools.

The key stakeholders involved in the Environmental Challenge include C&W’s global heads of facility and property management; regional business leaders; C&W’s Energy & Sustainability Task Force; the C&W Client Solutions Sustainability Strategies Team; and all managed properties and facilities in the U.S. In addition, partnerships with EPA’s ENERGY STAR and WasteWise teams were instrumental in developing the program and providing ongoing support during the execution phase.


Support Energy Efficiency Initiatives

As part of its ongoing commitment to enhance the environmental performance of its properties under management, C&W is also actively engaged in external events and initiatives such as:

  • Earth Hour – a global call to action organized by the World Wildlife Fund that takes place on the last Saturday of March each year. Participating buildings and homes are asked to turn off their lights for one hour, in order to raise awareness of global warming and the steps that business and homeowners can take to address their climate impact.
  • Earth Day – each year, C&W issues an “Earth Day Toolkit”, which provides a list of suggestions and resources (including free materials from ENERGY STAR) for planning Earth Day events at the firm’s managed properties.

C&W also participates in real estate industry initiatives such as:

  • The Building Owners and Managers (BOMA) International 7-Point Challenge, which calls upon participants to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent across their portfolios by 2012 — as measured against an “average” building receiving an ENERGY STAR score of 50 on a 1–100 scale in Portfolio Manager.
  • The Commercial Real Estate Energy Alliance (CREEA), which links building owners and operators with research and technologies being developed at the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories. CREEA serves as a national forum to share best practices in energy efficiency, and C&W serves as a member of the Alliance’s steering committee.


Recognize Success Along the Way

On an annual basis throughout the duration of the Environmental Challenge (2009 – 2012), the environmental achievements of participating properties are acknowledged through an internal recognition and awards program.

Certificates of Participation

All buildings taking part in the Challenge and meeting program rules receive a Certificate of Participation for striving to improve the environmental performance of C&W’s managed portfolio.

Certificates of Recognition

Certificates of Recognition for “significant environmental improvement” and/or “high performance” are issued to buildings meeting one or more of the following criteria:

Significant Environmental Improvement

  • 10-percent reduction in energy consumption over a 2008 baseline
  • 10-percent reduction in water use over a 2008 baseline
  • 10-percent reduction in waste disposal over a 2008 baseline

High Performance

  • Solid waste diversion rate of 50 percent or more
  • Indoor water consumption of 15 gallons per square foot or less in a given calendar year
  • Earned the ENERGY STAR certification during a given calendar year
  • Achieved LEED-EB certification in a given calendar year

Environmental Challenge Awards Program

The Environmental Challenge Awards Committee also evaluates participating facilities and properties that have earned Certificates of Recognition to identify award winners in the following categories:

Greatest Environmental Improvements

  • For qualifying facilities and properties that achieve the greatest percentage gains over the 2008 baseline for (1) energy reduction; (2) water (indoor and outdoor) use reduction; and (3) waste reduction.

Highest Performing Building

  • For qualifying facilities and properties with (1) the highest ENERGY STAR score (must have earned the ENERGY STAR certification); (2) lowest water consumption (indoor water consumption in gallons per gross square foot per annum); and (3) highest waste diversion rate.

The number of buildings to receive awards is determined by the number and type of properties of the final pool of participants. Winners are announced each April and presented with a Certificate of Award and cash prize. To mark this accomplishment, award ceremonies are organized at the individual buildings in conjunction with any planned Earth Day events. C&W also organizes a national webinar so that property-level achievements can be recognized across the firm.