Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Irem Goes for the Gold

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Irem Goes for the Gold

Article excerpt

IREM Commits to LEED CI and WELL Building Standard® for New Headquarters Office

IN AN EFFORT TO DEMONSTRATE GREEN BUILDING LEADERSHIP AND "WALK THE TALK," IREM IS AIMING FOR TWO SUSTAINABILITY CERTIFICATIONS FOR ITS NEW CHICAGO HEADQUARTERS OFFICE IN THE REALTOR® BUILDING. The first, LEED for Commercial Interiors, focuses on the overall sustainability of the interior design, including energy and water efficiency, materials and resources, transportation and site issues, and indoor environmental quality. IREM is on target to Machieve LEED CI Gold certification.

The Institute will also work toward the new WELL Building Standard*, and looks to be among the first WELL Certified offices. The WELL Building Standard* is administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBIf. The certification, developed with input from experts in real estate. health care and green building and design. is a comprehensive evaluation of how the built environment fosters human health and well-being.

Office Reflects Sustainable Practices Among Membership

The commitment to these certifications aligns with I REM's leadership in raising awareness on the critical role real estate managers play in sustainable real estate. IREM recognizes sustainability as a powerful tool to help managers meet owners' goals for their investments. Moreover, managers ultimately determine property performance- both from an operational and financial perspective.

"Sustainability has become an important part of everyday operations for IREM Members." said IREM CEO/ Executive VP Russ Salzman. "It's no longer something one person in a company can do. We saw the build-out of the IREM Headquarters office as an opportunity to reflect that reality. IREM volunteer leadership was very supportive of the effort."

The office build-out comes at a time when IREM is advancing its role in the sustainable real estate sector. The new IREM Certified Sustainable Property Certification, launched in inid-2014. provides a recognition program for properties unable to achieve LEED. The certification also allows property managers to access a simple framework for starting and advancing sustainability programs, with a focus on benchmarking and policy implementation.

IREM also has several education initiatives in development, including three online courses in partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute. The courses provide education on assessing the multiple benefits-from value enhancement to risk management-resulting from energy efficiency retrofits. Other courses coming soon will focus on financing energy efficiency projects, accessing utility data for better energy management and recognizing the growing importance of water efficiency. IREM also hosts monthly sustainability webinars and seeks to develop live seminars on a number of green building topics.

Other Goals for IREM's Sustainable Office

In addition to reflecting its mission. IREM had several other goals with the new office build-out. Since IREM is governed by its members, the organization had to keep within the budget approved by that body. To achieve this requirement. IREM staff, including CFO Ken Paul, has worked closely with the project team to stay within scope while still working toward the certifications. The process began with a design charrette, a collaborative planning session to determine goals and direction for the build-out. Paul and others on IREM staff have had regular meetings with GNP Management Group. AMO. the building and construction management firm, as well as the architectural and engineering contractors. The project team has also sought input from IREM's 65-plus headquarters employees.

"We wanted an office that our members could be proud of. and we wanted a healthy, productive environment for our employees." said Paul. "The LEED and WELL certifications will provide validation that we've accomplished those goals."

Another goal is to provide a learning opportunity for members and the industry. …

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