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The Better Buildings Partnership REEBooted

Benjamin Kott

April 25, 2016

Hot off the press: The UK’s Better Buildings Partnerships has appointed  EnergyDeck as its new supplier for the Real Estate Environmental Benchmark (REEB). EnergyDeck’s CEO Benjamin Kott talks about the objectives and history of REEB, and why this appointment is good news not just for EnergyDeck but the industry as a whole.

Better Buildings Partnership

My first contact with the Better Buildings Partnership, a UK industry group that counts among its members many of the largest UK real estate investors, dates back to 2008. Back in the day, I started participating in the BBP’s Owners-Occupiers Working Group as one of the few occupiers (representing a large US tech firm) among many owners. It was fascinating to see the world of sustainability in commercial real estate from the perspective of landlords. At the time I tried to get a handle on the environmental performance of our own office space and be able to compare it effectively across our larger portfolio and similar sites in the industry. Being able to experience first hand the challenges faced by owners, it occurred to me that we were looking to achieve the same objectives. But it quickly became clear that the industry was lacking a common platform for this purpose.

Better Benchmarks

The other thing the industry was lacking was good benchmarks. It turned out that there were no good reference systems for industry-wide comparison of commercial real estate. The benchmarks that did exist were either based on largely undisclosed input data (TM46), modelled on a wide range of assumptions and not regularly updated (ECON19), US specific (EnergyStar), or the property of service providers. 

There was – and still very much is – also the problem of getting access to reliable and granular consumption data about assets in the first place. But we’ll get to that point later.

Given the absence of reliable benchmarks, the BBP set out to create their own. The objective was to provide a relevant reference with traceable input data to operators in the commercial real estate industry. In this case, UK offices and retail. The driving idea behind this effort was that once landlords had access to granular and reliable benchmarks, they would find it easier to validate the performance of their assets, learn from shared best practices, and ultimately reduce resource consumption and emissions across their portfolios.

The Real Estate Environmental Benchmark

When REEB – the Real Estate Environmental Benchmark – was launched in 2010, the BBP started with just over 300 assets in the benchmark. As of 2015, the REEB dataset comprised nearly 1,000 of the top UK commercial properties, contributed by no fewer than 24 major investor members. Several hundreds of assets have multiple years of electricity and (where applicable) gas consumption data, and sometimes also water.

For 2016, the BBP’s intention is to implement a wide range of improvements to the programme. So a search was conducted for a partner to help take REEB to the next level in order to:

  1. Streamline the previously mostly manual task of acquiring and validating data across nearly 30 members and several hundred assets.
  2. Provide instant feedback on performance against the REEB benchmark to members via an online platform and live reports.
  3. Open up REEB to additional participants and provide them with a quick way of benchmarking their assets. 

EnergyDeck and BBP REEB Partnership

We are today extremely happy to announce that EnergyDeck are the chosen partner for the next stage of REEB. We were selected from a wide pool of applicants and through a process spanning multiple rounds, in order to ensure that all of the BBP’s members were on board (or shall we say, deck!). 

We are especially proud that our core mission was recognised as a major alignment with REEB – the aspiration to help drive the industry forward by providing better data and advanced insights into asset performance, delivered through a platform that makes this process as automated, streamlined and transparent as possible.

Speaking of which, we have a few more thoughts on how we can help take REEB even further. Having access to such a large dataset presents an exciting opportunity in its own right. But we think it can be improved over time by:

 

  • Capturing more granular data – e.g. half-hourly readings where available - for the buildings that are part of the benchmark
  • Identifying new clusters in our data analysis to determine the most relevant sites for comparison, based on a wide range of attributes
  • Providing real-time data quality and performance assessment to participants with automatic data feeds, and identifying relationships between datasets for e.g. energy performance and well-being. 

 

But more on this another time. We have work to do and can’t wait to get started, so let’s get cracking! 

REEBooting in 3, 2, 1, …

 

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