Environmental Management Policy
Piedmont Office Realty Trust is dedicated to sustainable practices that enhance our commitment to provide highest quality office properties while responsibly managing our impact on the environment. We strive to own and manage workplaces that are environmentally conscious, productive, and healthy for our tenants and employees by:
– Setting performance targets that demonstrate our commitment.
– Empowering our property teams with the data and tools they need to sustainably manage their buildings.
– Leveraging industry partnerships with BOMA, ENERGY STAR, and U.S. Green Building Council, to verify and advance the environmental performance of our assets.
– Implementing processes that continually improve our environmental performance and manage our climate change risk.
Environmental & Social Steering Committee
The Environmental & Social Steering Committee includes the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, VP of Human Resources, EVP of Real Estate Operations, SVP of Property Management, Director of Sustainability, and consultants as needed. The purpose of the Environmental & Social Steering Committee is to support our on-going commitment to environmental, health and safety, corporate social responsibility, and other relevant public policy matters. The Committee is a cross-functional team that meets quarterly and assists Piedmont’s executive leadership team in:
– Setting general strategy relating to environmental and social matters,
– Developing, implementing, and monitoring initiatives and policies based on that strategy
– Overseeing communications with employees, investors and stakeholders with respect to environmental and social matters
– Monitoring and assessing developments relating to, and improving the Company’s understanding of environmental and social matters.
– Efficient and timely disclosure of environmental and social matters to internal and external stakeholders, and
– Identifying and creating processes to manage risks and opportunities associated with climate change.
Energy & Sustainability Committee
The Energy & Sustainability Committee is comprised of the SVP of Property Management, VP of Property Management Operations, Director of Sustainability, all Regional Managers, and consultants as needed. The Energy & Sustainability Committee meets bi-weekly and focuses on the environmental impact of our operations by determining the best initiatives to put in place to achieve our targets.
We have committed to performance targets for energy intensity and water intensity and we intend to commit to Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste diversion targets in 2020.
– Energy Intensity (kBtu/SF): Achieve a 20% reduction in portfolio energy use intensity from 2016 by 2026
– Water Intensity (gallons/SF): Achieve a 20% reduction in portfolio water use intensity from 2018 by 2028
– GHG Emissions Intensity (Scope 1 and 2): We intend to set a baseline and commit to a reduction target in 2020.
– Waste Diversion Rate (percentage of waste diverted from landfill): We intend to set a baseline and commit to a reduction target in 2020.
We released our inaugural Sustainability Report in 2019 (2018 data) and will publish a report annually that shows progress towards our performance targets.
Performance Metrics and Data Management
We are committed to providing our property teams with accurate, timely, and actionable performance metrics to understand how their property performs over time and compares to others in our portfolio. We have partnered with Schneider Electric (SE) to collect and manage our data. Monthly invoices for electricity, natural gas, district steam, district chilled water, domestic water, sewer, waste, and recycling are collected and stored by SE, and relevant cost and consumption data is made available in the Resource Advisor software platform for reporting purposes. All data undergoes rigorous quality assurance checks.
Aggregation of this information enables us to track performance metrics on the property, regional and portfolio level such as:
– Energy use intensity (kBtu/SF)
– Energy cost intensity ($/SF)
– Water use intensity (gal/SF)
– Water cost intensity ($/SF)
– Greenhouse gas emissions intensity (kgCO2e/SF)
– Waste diversion rate (% diverted from landfill)
We recognize that monthly data enables us to track our performance over time, but more granular data is vital for our property teams to manage their building’s energy use on a daily basis. Access to 15-minute interval energy use provides deeper insight of how a building uses energy throughout the day and night. We are partnered with MACH Energy to provide this service and all Piedmont-managed buildings utilize the platform and receive quarterly training.
We leverage industry partnerships including BOMA, ENERGY STAR, and U.S. Green Building Council, to confirm and advance the environmental performance of our assets.
– We certify all eligible properties to ENERGY STAR every year.
– Ineligible properties include those that are tenant-managed, have low occupancy, or have a score under 75. We continue to make our best effort to achieve the highest scores feasible for each of our assets.
– We certify every eligible property to BOMA 360 every three years.
– Ineligible properties include those that are tenant-managed or have low occupancy.
– We will re-certify our LEED O&M assets upon expirations and continually evaluate other assets for certification opportunities.
– We will explore other 3rd party certification opportunities that further demonstrate our commitment to providing healthy, environmentally and socially conscious workplaces as they arise.
We will continue to identify, plan, and implement initiatives that will enable us to achieve our performance targets. To date, we have been heavily focused on reducing our energy intensity; we will expand our initiatives in 2020 to address our water, waste, and emissions targets.
Property-Level Action Plans
Action plans have been created for each property based on conversations between the Energy & Sustainability Committee representatives, the property manager, and building engineer. These action plans are used regularly by the property teams to track progress on identified action items and ultimately ensure progress towards environmental improvement across the portfolio. Representatives from the Energy & Sustainability Committee re-visit these plans with the teams on a semi-annual basis.
Quarterly Energy Competition
Our site teams are provided an incentive to reduce energy use via our quarterly energy-savings competition. Every quarter our Director of Sustainability and consultant in partnership with a representative from MACH Energy host a meeting for all property managers and engineers to offer training, share best practices, and announce the winning team. The winning team is celebrated on the call and on-site at their property with a catered lunch.
Best Practice Guide
Some of our teams have made tremendous progress with their energy efficiency plans. In order to spread those best practices across our other properties, we summarized the most impactful strategies into a list of Best Practices. This guide includes recommended actions for improving the building envelope, lighting, and building control system. The guide will be updated as new actions are identified.
To stay up to date on technology, but also thoroughly vet new technologies before deployment at multiple properties, we’ve adopted a Technology Review process that helps us test new opportunities and leverage them when and where appropriate. Our Director of Sustainability follows a vetting process to determine if a technology is appropriate and then works with the Energy & Sustainability Committee to identify a property that is a good candidate for a pilot. If the pilot is successful, the Committee will plan for a larger implementation.
LED Upgrade Program
All our properties have proactively pursued LED upgrades throughout common areas, back-of-house spaces, parking lots and garages and anything controlled by the landlord. In addition, we have begun working with tenants to upgrade their spaces where possible. All significant lighting projects are reviewed by the Director of Sustainability and a consultant to ensure we are making quality choices with the best long-term results. In 2018 and 2019, we invested over $1.1 million in LED lighting upgrades that resulted in estimated savings of $461,602 per year.
We understand the value of periodic commissioning to ensure our buildings are operating within optimal designed parameters to meet the needs of our tenants. Every year, the Energy & Sustainability Committee reviews performance metrics of all buildings and takes any operational changes into consideration, then identifies the properties that should undergo commissioning the following year. This process enables us to keep our buildings running efficiently.