CBRE Introduces Sustainability Research Program

CBRE Group plans to financially support advocates of sustainability in commercial real estate across the globe.

Courtesy of Creative Commons Flickr User Drab Makyo

The commercial real estate world continues to make strides in addressing the industry’s impact on the environment and with the introduction of a $1 million program, the Real Green Research Challenge, CBRE Group Inc. plans to provide financial support for advocates of sustainability in commercial real estate across the globe in an effort to prompt them to dig a little deeper.

Environmental friendliness has taken root. Around the world, the real estate industry has embraced the notion of striving for a green stamp of approval, increasingly seeking certification through such entities as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system; the U.K.’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, which, like LEED, is globally recognized; and the German Sustainable Building Council’s relatively new DGNB System. Recycle construction site waste, utilize low-emitting materials, install energy-efficient windows–the industry is well-versed on the basic steps to further the sustainability of properties. However, CBRE’s RGRC program is designed to promote new ideas, which, as is the case in any pursuit, are critical to progress.

Through RGRC, CBRE will distribute awards totaling as much as $250,000 to finance independent academic research and implementation. And recipients will have access to more than money; they will have the opportunity to avail themselves of CBRE’s global market data and resources, thereby paving the way for international exposure of innovations.

“People with good ideas often lack financial support and access to real-time market data and insight into building construction, occupancy and management that only a global firm like CBRE can provide,” Bob Sulentic, president of CBRE, said in a prepared statement. “Our RGRC program will help to unleash innovation by connecting ideas with funding and with CBRE’s unparalleled information and people resources.”

The awards will be distributed over a four-year period, beginning in February 2013. In terms of selection, CBRE has not cast itself in the role of the Great Oz. Entries will be judged by a group of internal and external experts and thought-leaders hailing from locations around the world.

Already, RGRC, has caught the attention of the green world.

“This is an impressive commitment toward advancing sustainability in the built environment,” Doug Gatlin, vice president, LEED and Product Management with USGBC, told Commercial Property Executive. “The commercial real estate industry holds great opportunity to reduce our energy dependency and air emissions while providing better buildings for owners and tenants.”