Energy & Sustainability Consulting

As the urgency to address climate issues intensifies, commercial real estate owners and lenders are increasingly seeking to preserve the value of their assets through improved property resilience, operational efficiencies to save on energy and water costs, and opportunities associated with on-site renewable energy and EV charging. Owners and lenders are also focused on maintaining compliance with the increasing number of building performance standards and benchmarking laws, reducing the carbon footprint of their assets and lending activities, climate risk disclosures, and fulfilling climate commitments through decarbonization pathway planning.

From natural hazard preparedness, reducing emissions, and developing ESG-aligned strategies for long-term maintenance of asset values, including implementation of sustainable energy practices to adapting to the ever-changing regulations and staying ahead of compliance issues, a holistic approach is needed. 

Addressing these challenges is critical not only for environmental stewardship but also for maintaining market competitiveness, reducing financial risks, and attracting socially responsible investors. Leaders who proactively tackle these issues will not only mitigate climate-related risks but also position their organizations for long-term success in a rapidly changing landscape.

How AEI Can Help

AEI’s Energy and Sustainability consulting services, as well as our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategies, are specifically tailored to help you navigate the transition to net zero goals and manage climate-related risks and opportunities associated with your projects.

From the due diligence perspective, AEI’s Building Assessments team is highly skilled in providing a holistic view of a building’s condition through incorporating Climate Risk & Resilience Assessments and ESG Sustainability Reporting into other due diligence assessments such as Property Condition Assessments (PCAs), seismic risk evaluations, energy efficiency and building energy performance assessments, structural and retrofit assessments, and more. 

From the OWNER and EQUITY perspective, AEI’s capital planning, energy, sustainability, and EHS team are able to ensure continued achievement of ESG goals, Scope 1 and 2 GHG emission calculation, and oversight of climate mitigation projects, including decarbonization pathways.

AEI’s team is also equipped to gather information and load it directly into your ESG reporting platform of choice. We can help you vet and select ESG reporting platforms, as needed, and ensure that our data will interface directly with the platform to save you time and ensure data accuracy.

Have questions? Get in touch with one of our energy and sustainability consultants today.

Our Energy and Sustainability Consulting Services

Sustainable energy management is crucial for commercial real estate owners and lenders. Taking measures to evaluate current and future risks and opportunities not only promotes environmental responsibility but can also increase property value, reduce energy expenses, and lower operational costs. AEI can also identify the incentives available to upgrade to more efficient equipment, add renewable energy power to your property, as well as pursuing a decarbonization pathway, if needed. 

By designing and implementing a Sustainable Energy Management System (SEMS), you are armed with a comprehensive framework that helps monitor, control, and optimize energy consumption within your properties. 

AEI’s energy efficiency and sustainability consulting services provide a starting point for gathering important data to help you meet your net zero goals while also improving the bottom line.

Natural Hazards & Climate Risk Resilience

Climate Risk & Resilience Assessments may be obtained during acquisition due diligence or for investor reporting purposes.

Risk Evaluation

Review of most current climate modeling and risk mapping resources to identify the natural hazards most likely to represent a concern to a property. This screening can be performed on a per site or portfolio-wide basis.

Vulnerability Assessment

For those sites with elevated risks, AEI will perform a site inspection to review the building components and condition in light of the identified natural hazards. This phase may also include a value at risk calculation.

Risk Mitigation and Identification of Resilience Measures

For sites with elevated risks, AEI can identify potential risk mitigation and resilience measures that could be employed. This phase may include generation of rough order of magnitude cost estimates for these mitigation methods.

These climate risk and resilience reports are fundamentally focused on preserving asset value by preventing damage and reducing downtime. They may also be useful for demonstrating to your stakeholders that your due diligence and underwriting strategy includes consideration of physical risk, and positioning the property for competitive insurance coverage.

Stage 1 PRA: Hazard Screening – In the first stage of a PRA, a detailed climate risk report identifying the hazards of concern is generated for the subject property. AEI staff reviews the climate risk screening report (typically generated by a climate risk modeling provider) along with the FEMA National Risk Index and local and regional resources to supplement the climate risk vendor report with additional data, if available. If no elevated hazards are identified in Stage 1, the PRA will be considered complete. 

Climate Risk Modeling: AEI can assist in the selection of the climate risk modeling provider on a per site or portfolio-wide basis, and can help in developing a strategy for actions on those sites identified as high risk. 

Stage 2 PRA: Risk & Resilience EvaluationStage 2 provides an assessment of the capacity of the property to prepare for, adapt to, withstand and recover from the hazards of concern identified in Stage 1. Stage 2 involves the collection and evaluation of site-specific information such as property use, emergency preparedness plans, design and construction information, and current property improvements to identify and assess the expected (average) damage or vulnerability to acute shocks and chronic stressors, functional recovery time, and safety concerns relative to the elevated hazard exposures identified in Stage 1.  

Stage 2 includes the following:

    • Site Reconnaissance: AEI conducts a site walk to conduct a visual, non-intrusive and nondestructive evaluation of various external and readily accessible internal site and building systems and components.
    • Interviews and Research: AEI reviews site information, conducts limited research, and interviews and makes requests of readily available records with individuals and public agencies. Information reviewed may include topographic surveys, geotechnical investigations, architectural drawings, emergency preparedness plans, flood elevation certificates, inspection records, damage or repair estimates, building permits, and records associated with the impact of prior natural hazard events at the property, including prior insurance claim information. Research also includes a limited review of community resilience and critical lifelines to the property such as utilities, transportation, etc.
    • If the hazards of concern are found to no longer remain elevated based on mitigating information gathered during Stage 2, the PRA will be considered complete. If the hazards are confirmed to be elevated, AEI will provide rough order of magnitude damage estimates and recovery time ranges, if such estimates are possible given the hazard of concern.

Stage 3 PRA: Identification of Resilience Measures – If necessary, based on the results of Stage 2, the PRA will provide an evaluation of conceptual resilience measures with rough order of magnitude cost estimates that would enhance the performance of the building. Any aspect of the property that has a high safety risk will be prioritized, and adequacy of building systems, both in the present and under future climate scenarios, are considered. Evaluation of resilience measures includes consideration of expected benefits and costs, available incentives, additional co-benefits, trade-offs and operations and maintenance requirements

Property Condition Assessment (PCA) with Climate Risk & Sustainability Review

A PCA with Climate Risk & Sustainability Review aids in due diligence and cost estimating, relative to projected operational cost increases or other needed adaptations to meet sustainability and resilience goals.

This climate-Informed PCA includes:

Climate Risk: Climate risk review and evaluation of replacement costs with climate change risk in mind.

Sustainability Checklist:

  • Review of available commissioning or energy audit reports.
  • Compliance with local audit or commissioning requirements.
  • Verification of sustainability certification.
  • Water consumption and cost attributes, including annual water consumption.
  • Evaluation of electrical/gas consumption and cost attributes.
  • HVAC and water heater equipment descriptions, age, remaining useful life, fuel source, etc.
  • Types of lighting and window descriptions, age, remaining useful life, etc.
  • Building Performance Audits (energy efficiency)
  • Roof (solar opportunities) and existing systems

The sustainability attributes captured in the climate-informed PCA vary depending on your needs and can range from high-level tracking of green building certifications to a deep dive on particular property characteristics to facilitate your sustainability reporting for frameworks such as GRESB.

Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) with Climate Risk & Sustainability Recommendations

Our energy and sustainability consultants utilize this service to help you with cost estimating relative to projected operational cost increases or other needed adaptations, including priorities and capital planning tables for future budgeting and achievement of sustainability goals.

US Resilience Council (USRC) Assessment

This is an assessment of building performance with respect to safety, damage, and recovery. Seismic Risk Analysis (SRA) are offered with USRC ratings. The USRC is modeled after the US Green Buildings Council (USGBC®), which, through its LEED® rating system, has successfully engrained environmental sustainability into the public consciousness. The USRC rating system delivers information on the expected safety, damage and recovery of the building.

Portfolio Physical Risk Vulnerability Assessment

This includes a review of portfolio-wide climate risk data, with a determination of high-risk, moderate-risk, and low risk, accompanied by recommendations for on-site assessment by architects, engineers, or professional energy and sustainability consultants for high- or moderate-risk sites.

ESG and Sustainability Reporting Consulting

AEI assists our clients in meeting their ESG and sustainability reporting goals. Information may be collected on a stand-alone basis or within a concurrent property due diligence or facility condition assessment. The sustainability attributes captured in the ESG reporting vary depending on your needs and can range from high-level tracking of green building certifications to a deep dive on particular property characteristics to facilitate your sustainability reporting for frameworks such as GRESB.

Examples of ESG property data points include:

  • Review of available commissioning or energy audit reports
  • Compliance with local audit or commissioning requirements
  • Verification of sustainability certification
  • Water consumption and cost attributes, including annual water consumption
  • Evaluation of electrical/gas consumption and cost attributes
  • HVAC and water heater equipment descriptions, age, remaining useful life, fuel source, etc.
  • Types of lighting and window descriptions, age, remaining useful life, etc.
  • Renewable energy installation, monitoring, and consultation
  • Carbon footprint calculation and mitigation consulting
  • Management of energy or climate resiliency upgrades
  • ADA compliance assessments
  • Corporate sustainability reporting
  • Environmental Management/ISO implementation

Energy Audit and Sustainability Consulting

Energy Audit and Sustainability Consulting reviews a site’s current energy usage and proposes modifications to meet sustainability and resiliency goals. With these services, our energy and sustainability consultants support owners and investors, as well as lenders who are managing programs that provide preferential terms to borrowers who commit to certain energy or water savings measures.

GHG Reporting

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting is vital for measuring and reporting both the direct (scope 1) and indirect (scope 2) greenhouse gas emissions associated with buildings and infrastructure. This data plays a crucial role in strategizing emission reduction efforts through decarbonization planning. Additionally, it provides clear and transparent disclosures about the environmental impact of a company or project.

If you have any questions or would like to request more information about sustainability consulting, please contact us.

Service Type(s)

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Helena Ariza

Vice President
Sustainability Services

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