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GRESB Scores: Investors Take Notice

GRESB Scores
November 2018

Are you focused on your apartment community running smoothly, producing the highest possible net operating income, planning and budgeting building upgrade projects, enhancing customer service and improving resident satisfaction? Then the work you do each day may impact your company’s GRESB Score.

Multifamily housing participation in the GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) Real Estate Assessment dramatically increased by 70 percent since 2012. GRESB assesses sustainability performance of real estate companies, funds and assets worldwide. European as well as a growing number of U.S. institutional investors use this assessment data to evaluate risk and long-term returns inherent to their real estate investments.

According to a 2017 GRESB survey of their institutional investor members, 94 percent use GRESB data in their investment process in different ways. Some investors use GRESB data for decision making and others use the data during their ongoing discussions with investment managers.

Apartment community owners complete a voluntary annual GRESB assessment in collaboration with their property management teams. Performance is defined by three areas – environmental, social and governance (ESG) and is presented in rankings, scorecards and indicator-specific analytics. The assessment collects information and scores a portfolio of assets on seven aspects within these three areas:

  • Management Practices
  • Policy and Disclosure
  • Risk and Opportunities
  • Monitoring and Environmental Management Systems
  • Key Performance Indicators—Energy, Water, Waste and GHG Emissions
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Building Certifications

GRESB results provide participants with market intelligence to engage with investors, and informs organizational initiatives supporting upgraded management practices and policy on new development projects, existing building operations and company stakeholder engagement. Raising your organization’s GRESB score is a way to improve the company’s outlook for both current and future investors.

LEED and other green building certifications for new construction and operational building certifications as well as energy ratings such as ENERGY STAR earn points under building certification. These certifications are used as a measure because they provide third-party recognition that an asset has been designed and/or is operated to meet specific sustainability standards.

Apartment property management and service teams contribute to GRESB results as a result of the work they do throughout the year.

  • Improving energy and water use by ensuring building systems and equipment such as lighting, HVAC, plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems work efficiently.
  • Educating residents on recycling programs, building sustainability features, i.e. how to use programmable thermostats and appliances to save money and resources.
  • Tracking energy, water use and waste using tools like ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®.
  • Ensuring resident satisfaction and retention.
  • Overseeing the work of external contractors and vendors for compliance with sustainability-related policies and procedures.

Take action and start the dialogue with your team.

  • First, find out if your company is a current GRESB participant. If so, ask if you can review your company’s score and ranking.
  • See if the score has changed over time and where your company scored well. Next, look for areas for improvement. Key Performance Indicators involving energy, water, waste and GHG emissions and stakeholder engagement are natural topics areas for onsite operations and property management.
  • If your company set or plans to set sustainability goals, review the tasks you can do to help improve the GRESB score in the next few years.

GRESB represents an important ranking in our industry, and as with any ranking it represents one part of the picture. Applying GRESB results along with other industry resources provides guidance to develop the strategies and best practices to improve the performance of your organization. For more information about the GRESB Real Estate Assessment and how to register to visit