“At Federal Realty, our sustainability mission is governed by the belief that great real estate is founded upon the intrinsic relationship between responsible development and accountability to the communities and people we serve. By balancing environmental, societal, and economic priorities with innovation, creativity, and resourcefulness, we seek to continuously challenge the way buildings impact the planet.”

On October 5th, I had the pleasure of joining Chris Brown, Brenda Pomar, and Daniel Corwin of Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) at the NAIOP DC|MD Awards of Excellence Gala in Washington, DC.

This ceremony recognizes outstanding achievements in commercial and industrial real estate, and I was so proud to be by FRIT’s side as they were awarded the Best Sustainability Program. This wasn’t FRIT’s first award, and it won’t be their last! In 2017 FRIT achieved awards for Workplace Excellence, and was ranked #1 in Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark’s inaugural 2016 Health & Wellness assessment in North America.

Federal Realty Investment Trust was recognized because of the company’s demonstrated achievements embedding sustainability best practices as an essential element of every project and as part of the Trust’s long-term vision.

Federal Realty’s mission is to create, operate, and re-imagine the most relevant retail and mixed use environments in the USA’s largest markets. Federal Realty consistently exceeds the expectations of the communities it serves, while providing a superior return to its shareholders by balancing environmental, societal, and economic priorities with innovation, creativity, and resourcefulness – while continuously challenging the way buildings impact the planet. Federal Realty continually improves the design and construction, as well as operations, of its buildings to achieve exceptional building performance.

This is all made possible because of unwavering executive buy-in regarding the business value of sustainability as well as the social responsibility that a REIT as influential as FRIT holds.

From new developments to the adaptive re-use of existing buildings, Federal Realty incorporates sustainability best practices in all projects. Federal Realty combines a mixed-use, high-density, and transit-oriented approach to place making that betters the community and enhances the quality of life for residents, employees, and visitors.

Here are a few of the results that made FRIT the obvious winner:

  • 30% of FRIT’s portfolio, by gross asset value, has achieved a third-party green building certification including 19 LEED New Construction, Neighborhood Development (underway), and 3 Cal Green certifications.
  • FRIT performs Energy modeling to quantify the impact of design decisions on projected energy use; and completes commissioning to ensure that the energy-consuming building systems perform as designed.
  • In the last five years, FRIT has invested $1.5 billion in community revitalization thanks to its commitment to brownfield, greyfield, and urban infill projects.
  • FRIT has installed more solar PSF than any other REIT, and FRIT has invested more than $50MM in the development and operation of rooftop Solar Photovoltaics systems. Currently the Trust has 22 operating projects with a 12.513 MW, and an additional 11 (6.418 MW) projects under development – including four in Maryland: Pike & Rose; Federal Plaza; Congressional Plaza; and Quince Orchard Plaza for 1,98 MW. This sizable deployment is significant in the amount of portfolio utilized (31%), and leads the REIT segment on the amount of solar energy deployed per square foot.
  • Annually, FRIT’s operating projects generate 15,314,063 kWh of electricity, offsetting 22,988,642 lbs. of CO2 or powering half of the residential units at Pike & Rose.

Every client, especially our REIT and developer clients has a unique approach to greening their portfolios. A few of FRIT’s best practices focus on the community experience.

FRIT communities are designed to bring people together and promote active lifestyles. Many properties feature outdoor spaces for socializing and fun activities, surrounded by culture and cuisine, health and wellness facilities, biking and jogging trails, and easy access to mass transit. FRIT has wide-ranging initiatives to include Health and Wellness in buildings. In the DC metro region, a focus on mass transit orientation and reducing the environmental impact of motor vehicles is validated by a 95% walkability score.

Big problems need more brains. FRIT also pursues interesting partnerships to push their innovation around sustainability and wellness.

Up Top Acres

FRIT has a continued partnership with Up Top Acres to fine tune urban rooftop farming in Bethesda, Maryland. Crop yields have increased to 10,000 lbs. annually on 7,000 SF of converted existing green roof space. Support for this initiative has enabled urban rooftop farming to become commercially important and earned Up Top Acres a spot on Forbes 30 under 30 for Social Entrepreneurs.

Green Impact Campaign

FRIT launched a pilot program to support the Green Impact Campaign and building tenants, which promotes real-world experiences for college students by performing energy audits that identify energy savings opportunities for small businesses. Of the 31-participating business in 2016, the student assessor’s audits identified 251,678 kWh of energy savings opportunities, offsetting 175 tons of GHG annually with an average payback period of 7.6 months.

Freight Farms

FRIT launched a partnership with Freight Farms, a Boston-based company that retrofits shipping containers with vertical farming technology capable of growing acres’ worth of produce in a fraction of the space of traditional farms.

Chris, Brenda, and I, ready to celebrate


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