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Investa pushes for greener tenancies with new toolkit

tenant sustainability toolkit
370 Queen Street, a joint venture between Charter Hall and Investa.

A new toolkit that will teach tenants how to up their sustainability game has been released by Investa – the first of its kind according to the commercial real estate company.

The property group’s new Sustainability Tenant Toolkit is pitched at the company’s more than 750 tenants that have low engagement with the environmental performance of their buildings, or are interested in learning more.

Tenants in Investa buildings now have access to a variety of resources, including animated data visualisations that convey the technical environmental performance data of the buildings.

Information presented this way means even users with no existing understanding can easily earn what they can do to be more sustainable.

The toolkit is also aimed at making workplaces healthier for occupants.

tenant sustainability toolkit

Nina James, Investa

It will help Investa reach its environment goals – namely a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2040 – and industry

benchmarks, such as the WELL Building Institute’s WELL rating.

Control of the average building’s energy usage is split 50/50 between tenants and office managers. Unfortunately, tenants often don’t have much incentive to improve the sustainability performance of their buildings, and often believe their responsibilities end when they sign a lease in a building with high sustainability ratings.

According to Nina James, general manager, corporate sustainability at Investa, “it’s almost the opposite” for their occupants, with most of them actually looking to their office managers for more guidance on sustainability.

The idea for the tool emerged from a refresh of the company’s green lease materials. Instead of opting for a print version that would soon go out-of-date, the team looked to take the information online.

Ms James told The Fifth Estate this meant the project could evolve and grow organically until it became a suite of resources pitched at the 100,000-plus workforce that occupies the company’s buildings.

The toolkit nowincludes tips for healthier, low carbon working days, information on workplace trends and fit-outs, key sustainability ratings, and environmental performance data of the building.

Ms James said the hope is that this first release will give occupants a taste of learning about their environmental footprint, which may allow them to see the benefits of releasing their data for future iterations.

Later versions of the toolkit may leverage tenant data to create a competitive element, where occupants can see what their peers are doing.

Ms James says the company will also focus on changing behaviour around waste in future iterations.

Changing occupant behaviour remains a challenge for most office managers, as well as those trying to design buildings for energy efficiency.

In recent times a number of behaviour changing methods have been showing promise.

The newest research shows that three things can make a big difference in occupant behaviour: energy use feedback, social interaction, and gamification.

Gamification is an innovative method being used successfully to change behaviour and educate consumers.

In Queensland, CitySmart has collaborated with university partners to develop a digital game called Reduce Your Juice.

The game teaches players that many energy-saving measures only require small changes in behaviour that don’t adversely impact their lives, such as closing doors when entering or leaving a room.

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