Michael Cavanaugh, AIA, LEED APSustainable design can drive innovation and increased value + ROI. That’s the driving message of a new story from the Boston Business Journal that quotes our Sustainability Leader Mike Cavanaugh extensively. The piece identifies that numerous “large-scale real estate investment trusts are stepping up their sustainability game. The change is driven in part by customer demand, but also by a rising recognition that sustainability practices can positively impact the bottom line.”

The full story is available online for Boston Business Journal subscribers. Below is an excerpt featuring Cavanaugh:

“For Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) there’s plenty of opportunity to reduce energy consumption and cut emissions, said Mike Cavanaugh, the firmwide sustainability leader for global architecture firm CannonDesign in Boston.

“The existing building stock is the greatest untapped opportunity in terms of high-performance buildings and sustainable buildings,” Cavanaugh said. “If you look at an entire portfolio of one of these trusts, if they make small energy-efficiency reductions on their entire portfolio, the impact is huge.”

More and more municipalities, including Boston and Cambridge, are disclosing a building energy use index, which outlines how much energy a building uses over the course of a year. That measure, dubbed “EUI,” is important to Cavanaugh’s firm as well as other design-construction firms to establish a common metric for new construction. Theoretically, if buildings have lower EUI, their value would increase, he said. “It would increase the value for a low-energy building for one of these real estate investment trusts, and decrease the value in their portfolio for a building that’s not a high-performance (property),” Cavanaugh said.

CannonDesign clients are increasingly open to the concept of a net-zero-energy design on top of LEED certification, he said. Net-zero energy design will feature a high-performing building that also directly contributes to offsite renewable energy.

“The prices of fossil fuels will continue to fluctuate in the future. To be able to make all that energy onsite is always a good selling point,” Cavanaugh said.

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