RMI and CoreNet Global: Scaling Building Energy Efficiency Together

Rocky Mountain Institute and CoreNet Global announced on April 28th a multi-phased research and industry-engagement collaboration. The relationship will drive corporate real estate energy performance to the highest possible level and shift corporate real estate away from fossil fuels through increased investment in efficiency and renewable energy. This announcement came as part of the release of the first of two reports written by RMI and CoreNet Global: Next Generation Energy Management—A Roadmap to the Next Level of Performance.

The unveiling of this collaborative relationship is an exciting development. The combined leverage of CoreNet Global as the world’s leading association for corporate real estate and workplace professionals—representing 70 percent of the Fortune 100 and nearly half of the Forbes Global 2000—and RMI as a leading think-and-do tank with expertise in deep retrofit value will accelerate transformation in corporate real estate energy performance.

Takeaways from RMI and CoreNet Global’s Phase One Report

This first report presents an initial assessment of key drivers that support and demand the successful execution of next-generation energy management and performance. It also offers the CoreNet Global Energy Solutions list from 2013, which will serve as a reference point for research taking place over the next year.

Although corporations have made progress in energy management and performance since 2007—when Rocky Mountain Institute and CoreNet Global published The Energy Challenge: A New Agenda for Corporate Real Estate—many corporate executives also believe that sustainability efforts have reached a plateau, with efforts creating incremental impact and little change to sustainability metrics. The opportunity to develop and achieve more ambitious energy management and performance goals is nevertheless supported by the dramatic changes in the drivers of energy efficiency and renewables since 2007. The report discusses the nine key drivers RMI and CoreNet Global identified that are enabling and necessitating next-generation energy management and performance:

  • Energy Cost Savings
  • Sustainability Measurement
  • Stakeholder Demand for Sustainability
  • Capital Availability
  • Risk Mitigation and Management
  • Workplace Transformation
  • Smart Building Technology
  • Healthy Buildings
  • Electricity Grid Evolution

Changes in the key drivers of building energy efficiency and renewables investment between 2007 and 2014 suggest there could have been greater adoption of corporate building energy efficiency and sustainability than what has been observed. The corporate real estate industry is therefore missing out on a vast opportunity to increase profits, reduce risks, and make even stronger contributions to society. The dramatic changes in the drivers for energy efficiency and renewables since 2007 support corporations’ opportunities to develop and achieve more ambitious energy management and performance goals. In addition to the financial benefits corporations would reap from sound energy management and performance, corporations would make significant contributions to improving people’s health, happiness, and security.

RMI and CoreNet Global’s Strategy for Next-Generation Energy Management

During the next year, CoreNet Global and RMI will engage the corporate real estate community to further investigate the key drivers of energy efficiency and renewable energy investment. In addition, we will develop a roadmap to assist corporations in achieving the highest goals practical for building energy performance, even when finding investment dollars proves challenging.

“We believe that with a unified voice, CoreNet Global and RMI are well positioned to have a significant impact on the ways corporations think about energy use,” says Angela Cain, CEO of CoreNet Global. “Energy management is not just a sustainable business practice, it is fiscally advantageous.”

Acknowledging the need and opportunity to strive for higher goals, CoreNet Global’s February 2013 Net Zero Energy in Buildings advocacy statement encourages corporations to strive for net-zero buildings because it is a top indicator of long-term energy management success, and lists several solutions to make execution possible. Similarly, one of Rocky Mountain Institute’s goals for 2025 is to make at least one billion square feet of commercial building space 35 percent more efficient and grow the buildings efficiency market to more than $25 billion annually.

RMI’s Deep Retrofit Value Partnership Program

RMI is committed to industry adoption of its game-changing retrofit value decision-making methodologies. But we cannot do it alone. Our 2025 goal for deep retrofits requires collaborative relationships. Working alongside CoreNet Global and other organizations will expand the channels available to show key stakeholders the full value of deep retrofits as well as offer educational materials and training to provide stakeholders the skills they need to accelerate the adoption of deep energy retrofits.

We have identified many organizations like CoreNet Global that share our goal of transforming the energy efficiency of corporate real estate. The alignment between RMI’s 2025 goals and prospective industry partners’ missions and goals highlights the opportunity for partnerships that leverage each organization’s strengths to drive investment in energy-efficient commercial buildings. Moreover, collaboration will help ensure that neither RMI nor prospective partners duplicate efforts.

There are several ways RMI will engage partners. We will integrate RMI’s Deep Retrofit Value guide for owner-occupants and other applicable retrofit guides and tools into organizations’ websites and information networks. We will lead discussions, roundtables, and other events to meaningfully engage multiple building portfolio owners at once. As part of our “train the trainer” approach, we will help key professional educators and certification programs produce target-specific teaching materials. Finally, we will work with key partners to develop demonstrations of decision making that leverages deep retrofit value methodology.

Now is the time to scale impact through collaboration. Changes to the real estate industry indicate that multiple drivers are enabling and necessitating next-generation energy management. Research shown in RMI’s practice guide How to Calculate and Present Deep Retrofit Value also underscores the significant financial benefits corporations are leaving on the table. Work with RMI to scale the adoption of deep retrofits and in so doing not only help society mitigate the effects of climate change but also spur untapped economic opportunities.

For more information about Deep Retrofit Value, please contact dmiller@rmi.org.

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