Australia’s leading property companies have made impressive strides in the areas of sustainability and environmental friendliness this year, indicative of a profound sea change within the industry as a whole.
Mirvac's recently released sustainability report has christened 2014 "The year that changed everything," on the grounds of the progress that the real estate giant has achieved with respect to fulfilling its long-term sustainability goals.
Last year Mirvac released its long-term sustainability strategy entitled "This changes everything," which set a slew of ambitious environmental and efficiency goals. These include becoming net positive by 2030, by generating more energy and water than the company consumes and producing zero waste.
A mere year after outlining these ambitions, Mirvac has made major improvements to its sustainability performance. The company has raised its average office portfolio NABERS Energy rating from 4.5 stars last year to 4.9 stars this year, while carbon intensity has plunged by 10.6 per cent (17.7 per cent of office and industrial property, and 2.7 per cent by retail).
These figures put the company on a solid footing for achieving a targeted 20 per cent reduction in carbon intensity by 2018, and becoming net positive by 2030.
Mirvac's fellow property giants have also set themselves ambitious sustainability and environmental goals, as well as achieved significant profess in achieving them.
Stockland has achieved a 4.47 star NABERS average for its office portfolio 2014, putting it within a hair's breadth of fulfilling its target of 4.5 stars.
The company has already surpassed its full year 2014 target of cutting carbon intensity by 20 per cent, achieving an average reduction of 29 per cent across its office and retail portfolios.
Its total purchased electricity also fell, from 114,261,122 kWh last year to 112,687,960 kWh in 2014.
Westfield's 2014 sustainability report indicates that improved energy efficiency has enabled the company to achieve significant reductions in total consumption, with a year-on-year decline of two per cent in 2013.
Despite the addition of three new centres in Australia, electricity consumption actually fell by three per cent as a result of the adoption of efficiency measures. these include electrical sub-metering for air conditioners and lights, variable speed drives and IELVS.
Westfield hopes to confine electricity usage levels to 2011 levels until next year at least.
According to its annual review for 2014, Investa has succeeded in reducing its energy and water consumption this year, as well as increasing its recycling of waste.
Electricity intensity has fallen from 88 kWh/m2 to 84 kWh/m2, equivalent to a 19 per cent decline since 2011, while gas intensity has also fallen from 99 MJ/m2 to 77 MJ/m2 for a 42 per cent decrease over the same period.
The upshot of these reductions in energy consumption has been an attendant 10 per cent decline in greenhouse gas intensity, from 86 kilograms of CO2-e/m2 last year to 78 kilograms this year.
Investa's water intensity has fallen from 792 L/m2 last year to 692 L/m2, for an 18 per cent decline in intensity since 2011.
Recycling of office waste has risen from 35 per cent last year to 46 per cent.