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Leading US-based REIT leverages globally recognized certification program as core element towards achieving Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitment
WashREIT (NYSE: WRE) in Washington, D.C. recently announced an expansion of its Green Bond Framework for eligible green projects, including eight multifamily assets acquired in 2019. As outlined in WashREIT’s Green Bond Framework, WashREIT intends to achieve BREEAM In-Use Very Good certifications for the majority of these assets.
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WashREIT will allocate the majority of the proceeds to buildings that achieve BREEAM certification as part of its multipronged approach to address energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy projects. This commitment will be an essential part of WashREIT’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) roadmap, particularly for demonstrating alignment with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and other disclosure reporting frameworks. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, WashREIT’s commitment represents a part of the booming green bond market expected to exceed $1 trillion globally by the end of 2021.
"This is a momentous achievement for the US REIT market to recognize the caliber and rigor of the BREEAM certification program, particularly for WashREIT’s multifamily assets in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, said BREEAM Director Shamir Ghumra. "The challenge in meeting a Very Good certification, which represents the top 25% of BREEAM certified assets, demonstrates an important next step in WashREIT’s commitment to benchmarking, verifying, and sharing sustainability best practices across their portfolio. We applaud WashREIT as a trailblazer in the U.S. for this high-performance investment."
WashREIT intends to move forward with BREEAM certification for The Assembly, a portfolio of seven multifamily properties across Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland, in addition to the Cascade at Landmark in Alexandria, Virginia. These eight properties represent roughly 2,400 units. The green bonds also come on the heels of WashREIT’s energy consumption reduction goal of 20% by 2025, below a 2015 baseline, mitigating the portfolio’s impact on climate change. As part of this effort, WashREIT will continue tackling environmental impacts of asset development, climate risk, waste management, and transportation.
"Not only are these certifications a way to elevate operations to the WashREIT sustainability standard, but we are raising the bar for the entire value-add multifamily sector, which has often lacked investment in sustainability and efficiency opportunities," Steve Riffee, CFO of WashREIT, said. "We intend to be among the first in the country to achieve BREEAM certifications for existing multifamily properties."
This news is the second in a wave of firsts with BREEAM and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Montgomery, MD became the first jurisdiction in the United States to recognize BREEAM for building tax credits and includes both BREEAM In-Use for existing buildings and BREEAM New Construction for new buildings. The green building program awards building owners with tax credits by achieving a BREEAM Excellent certification or better. We look forward to continuing to see BREEAM as an integral component of regional green building programs across the U.S.
WashREIT owns and operates uniquely positioned real estate assets in the Washington D.C. market. Backed by decades of experience, expertise and Our portfolio of 43 properties includes nearly 7,000 multifamily apartment units and approximately 3.4 million square feet of commercial space. Our shares trade on the NYSE and our company currently has an enterprise value of approximately $3 billion. With a track record of driving returns and delivering satisfaction, we are a trusted authority in one of the nation's most competitive real estate markets. To learn more, please visit washreit.com.
About BRE Group
BRE is a world leading, multi-disciplinary, building science center with a mission to improve buildings and infrastructure, through cutting-edge research and knowledge generation. BRE maintains a range of products, services, standards and qualifications that are used around the world to bring about positive change in the built environment. Learn more at www.bregroup.com.
BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment methodology for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It recognizes and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction, through performance in operation, to refurbishment. BREEAM does this through third party certification of the assessment of an asset’s environmental, social and economic sustainability performance, using standards developed by BRE. This means BREEAM rated developments are more sustainable environments that enhance the well-being of the people who live and work in them, help protect natural resources and make for more attractive property investments. Learn more at www.breeam.com.
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