From existing properties to new developments, Weingarten Realty has actively embraced various initiatives that support the future of environmentally friendly retail centers. The company recognizes that there are economic, environmental and social implications associated with the full range of our sustainability efforts, and that a commitment to incorporating sustainable practices will add long-term value to our assets. By successfully deploying solutions that lower operating expenses and mitigate the risk associated with rising costs at a property level, Weingarten is able to demonstrate leadership in environmental sustainability in our industry.
Though Weingarten Realty has historically implemented many environmental sustainable initiatives, the “Green Team” was formed in 2011 with the goal of driving innovation, while creating short-term and long-term value. We decided the best way to accomplish our sustainability goals are with a grassroots approach. Instead of appointing one associate over the initiative, a team was built. The team consists of a steering committee, chairperson, members and champions from all regions, departments and at all levels. The keys to the team’s success are the ability to share best practices across regions, our deep knowledge about the markets in which we are located, and the ability to implement change at the property level. The increase in collaboration between the property managers from all regions allows further management of risks associated with their portfolios and positive increases in operational efficiencies to drive down costs and increase net operating income.
Weingarten Realty has focused its efforts on five designated sustainable practices: energy management, alternative transportation, recycling, water management and construction. The Green Team proudly boasts 100% of Weingarten’s core assets participate in at least one sustainable initiative.
Parking lot energy management systems (EMS), light retrofitting or cool roofs have been installed on 63% of Weingarten’s core assets to assist in energy efficiency. The Green Team’s goal is to reduce energy consumption and utility expenses while increasing equipment lifespan.
In 2012, EMS systems saved approximately $107,000 in electricity savings and 900,000 kWh. By reducing the demand of kWh, we have prevented the emissions of nearly 10,000 lbs. of sulfur dioxide and 600 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
A main priority of the green initiatives is finding environmentally-friendly, alternative transportation options for patrons of Weingarten centers. The addition of bike racks, charging stations or the location of a major metropolitan transportation stop on the property are provided on 51% of Weingarten’s core assets.
The recycling program is taking steps to minimize waste sent to landfills through the collection of paper, plastics and other ordinary recyclable materials, as well as collecting clothing and books from strategically located bins. Weingarten partnered with Talismark on a national program to provide an expert level of knowledge of the trash industry, revenue streams, cost efficiencies, flexibility, attention to detail and tailored client services.
In 2012, the recycling initiative saved 150,500 trees; recycled 26,000 cubic yards out of landfills while saving $1.8M. These additional cost savings are found by managing tenant waste programs by reducing the number of haulers and “right-sizing” dumpsters to maximize savings, as well as reducing wear and tear to parking and drive areas.
The management of water has proven to reduce irrigation expenses, but also demonstrates an environmentally conscious decision as well. Weingarten implements water management in many ways: installation of smart irrigation systems with more efficient sprinkler heads, use of rain harvesting systems, and xeriscaping with planting drought tolerant, native landscaping. Water management initiatives are implemented on 73% of Weingarten’s core assets.
Weingarten teamed with Waterlogic to install smart irrigation controllers, and in 2012 over 44 million gallons were saved, as well as approximately $210,000 in savings.
As new developments, redevelopments, tenant build outs and construction due to maintenance arise, Weingarten will seek every opportunity to find ways to implement our green initiatives with the use of environmentally friendly building products. Contractors that share the same mentality in sustainability efforts are sought for new construction projects.
Weingarten wanted to maximize its commitment to recycling non-traditional items related to our capital projects, mainly on parking lot and roofing debris. This initiative to recycle non-traditional materials and track the data resulted in a total of 9,000+ tons of material that was diverted from landfills in 2012.
As the Green Team expands on the important initiatives embarked upon to date, we will ensure that environmental responsibility is both a corporate focus and an opportunity to benefit our patrons, tenants, and investors while keeping the assets competitive and attracting the highest quality retailers who are seeking more efficient, greener space.