UK - Prupim, the real estate division of the UK life assurer Prudential, has announced significant cuts in the environmental impact of its property portfolio in 2008, including sharp reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and water usage.
According to a newly-published report, the company saved 56,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions in 2008, which it cites as having the same effect as removing 18,000 cars from Britain's roads for one year.
Prupim also reduced its waters usage across its UK portfolio by 13.4%, the equivalent of over 40 Olympic-size swimming pools worth of water, and increased waste recycling in its offices by 6% and shopping centre sites by 5%.
"These issues were once seen as peripheral by fund managers, but sustainable management is now vital in combating the financial effects of climate change on investment returns, as well as the physical and social impacts, said Joel Quintal, sustainability and environment manager at Prupim.
"These results suggest we are some way along the road but there is still a long way to go before we are satisfied. By embedding sustainability into the investment and asset management processes we will be working towards protecting, preserving and future-proofing long term property values and returns," he added.
The report revealed 40% of properties assessed for energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings received a ranking of ‘C' or above, while 20% achieved a ‘B' rating.
It said many of the savings were achieved through cost savings such as lighting changes, green refurbishments, reduced water use, improved waste management systems, recycling, heating and ventilation systems and general site improvements.
These measures included the use of low energy light bulbs, daylight and movement sensors and timers; secondary window glazing; controlled ventilation, heating and cooling settings, and the collecting of rainwater to flush toilets
"There is no single magic bullet to managing property investments sustainably," said Quintal. "Ultimately, results rely on continuing to innovate across a range of areas."