To the Best Ottawa Business Awards Judging Team:
As we come closer to the end of 2015, we are so honoured to have the opportunity to share our excitement with you about the development of KRP’s Sustainability Plan-we’ve learned so much this year!
First of all, let me introduce KRP Properties to you. Kanata Research Park is located on the east side of March Road and boasts more than 2.4 million square feet of class A and B office space, the CAA/AAA four-diamond rated Brookstreet Hotel and the championship 27-hole Marshes Golf Course.
Kanata North Technology Park is situated on the west side of March Road, and features 400,000 square feet of class A office space and access to such amenities as the Monk Environmental Park and the Richcraft Recreation Complex.
We believe that the process of developing and maintaining commercial properties should include a decidedly human element. It’s all too easy to boil down our business to the notion of companies leasing spaces to other companies and to forget that real, everyday people are actually the ones who negotiate deals and work in the spaces we provide.
We declare that we will not lose sight of the imperative to serve people first and foremost. Our tagline – “more than just space” – is our commitment to do more than meet the needs of the businesses that call our properties home (although we never lose sight of this imperative). It is also a promise to appreciate the needs of the people who work for the companies we serve. Occasionally it means structuring leasing arrangements to suit the needs of our tenants, even when their requirements extend beyond our normal limits. Always it means going out of our way to provide exceptional service as and when (and occasionally before!) our tenants and their employees request it.
Now we can add Environmental Sustainability to the many amenities we offer our clients!
This award is so prestigious and important to us that we just want to crow to the rooftops about how excited we are to share our story! We’ve done our absolute best to be as brief as possible-but there is so much to say! Our story and the content of our new plan are contained in the text of this on-line Award Submission and the accompanying printed document and Power Point presentation. We couldn’t help ourselves-we wanted to include as many of the details and successes as possible. We hope you enjoy our brief introduction to KRP Green!
How has KRP Properties integrated sustainability into its business strategy, decision-making, operations, culture and value chain?
As KRP’s head office hums to life at 8 a.m., people arriving at work pause to take in the grandeur of the atrium before heading for elevators that deliver them swiftly to elegant, safe, energy efficient offices.
We’re just like you. We’re workers, business executives, parents, students…you name it. But the one thing we all have in common is our dedication to sustainability. And the more people we have on board, the bigger impact we can all make. Together.
KRP’s vision was to develop Ottawa’s only custom designed sustainability plan– and we know that we’ve succeeded!
Our plan ensures that every KRP building will be a place where we will help each other tread more lightly on the earth. It will be a place where people will be proud to work, with state-of-the-art environmental features like superior air quality with maximum fresh air intake, with beautiful outdoor views and great amenities like bike paths and bike racks, and innovative waste management programs with award-winning results.
Our sustainability vision has taken shape. Welcome to KRP Green.
What Makes KRP Green Different? It’s Ours!
The KRP Plan is our own expression of sustainability. Simple, rigorous and customized, our plan is unique to KRP Properties. It introduces metrics and targets that draw on our strengths and identify our weaknesses, and contains action-oriented items that demand regular attention and oversight from every department in our organization.
Why go this route when off-the-shelf programs offer proven benefits? Because we believe that a one-size-fits all approach seldom works perfectly. We wanted a plan that was uniquely ours and which tests us thoroughly. We wanted to challenge ourselves as building operators—and our tenants as responsible participants—to work together to meet newer, more ambitious targets for sustainability.
KRP Green is a custom designed strategy that commits to operational excellence in many areas of our business where environmental impacts are felt the most. The strategy provides a framework for KRP’s sustainability vision and aspirations and in doing so has set the long term direction towards a more sustainable organization.
Our Performance Measurements
KRP is using a four step process model to evaluate our buildings sustainability status against the identified best practices criteria. This four step model includes:
Step One: The Development of the KRP Green Sustainability Plan
Step Two: The Identification of Targets and the Implementation of the Initiatives
Step Three: The Assessment of the Performance Relative to the Goals and Targets
Step Four: The Certification of the Property as Achieving KRP Green Status
Our unique and innovative plan lays the foundation for KRP Properties to serve as a model for operational excellence in the areas of:
- Energy Reduction;
- Waste Reduction;
- Water Conservation;
- Sustainable Transportation;
- Sustainable Purchasing;
- Green cleaning;
- Sustainable site and operations, and;
- Sustainable Communications.
Here’s how we started:
Every department Manager in the KRP organization team came together to build this customized plan from the ground up; which included the Directors of Leasing, Construction, Property Management/Operations, Finance and Administration. We knew that those off the shelf plans would keep us keep us striving toward external criteria developed by someone else. We knew our team, brought together, could vision a robust, action oriented plan-full of inventiveness. We also suspected from past collaborations that if people are consulted on the content of a plan that fits perfectly with the uniqueness of their own department, that they will be much more invested in the outcome. Guess what? We were right!
Here’s how it works:
Our green governance structure has four components. These are:
- KRP Green Working Group. Chaired by KRP’s Director of Property Management, this team sets the environmental vision and strategies for the company.
- The KRP Directors. Each Director provides input and guidance on the development of targets, identifying the initiatives and activities to meet those targets, KPI’s and timelines for implementation. As well, each Director is accountable for disseminating the spirit, concepts and initiatives contained in the plan to their staff and other stakeholders, and putting these into action!
- The KRP Staff. Here’s where the rubber really hits the road! Every employee is actively engaged in internalizing the environmental ethic into every aspect of day to day operations, and for communicating it to those who occupy our buildings.
- KRP Tenants. After all, it’s our tenants who consume the energy and generate the waste. We can’t succeed without their engaged participation, every day of the year
This collective approach has allowed KRP Green to be thoroughly embedded into every aspect of our business strategy and decision making process AND our culture. How could it not-we developed it! This in turn has informed how we operate our buildings, day in and day out.
- Building Construction: KRP designs, builds and manages its’ own buildings. This unique approach means we are not exiting once the building is up. Our design informs what the environmental impacts will be throughout the lifespan of this asset, and that ensures that we embed sustainability right into the design; so that the savings are realized the first day the lights are turned on.
- Leasing. Given that our tenants are the one who use resources, having the leasing team thoroughly understand the content of our plan and how tenants ultimately inform the outcomes is vital to our success. Our goal is to ensure our agreements reflect our commitment to a collaborative, engaged relationship, one that does not favour the landlord or the tenant but one that provides the framework for our mutual environmental goals to be realized. We are unwavering in our commitment to foster sustainable behavior in our tenants, and this means we have to be savvy, hopeful change leaders, and lead by example!
- Finance and Administration. Our goal to become the Property Manager of choice by delivering maximum value for the least possible cost has not been compromised by our commitment to sustainability. On the contrary. Some still regard environmental concerns as costly and non-profitable restraints. Environmentalists think that profit and sustainability are mutually exclusive. We disagree. And we’ve done the case studies to prove it!
- Property Management/Operations. Energy and water saving building systems and equipment. A broad range of standardized waste management programs. Our own forest, where trees are planted, grown and managed sustainably. Community partnerships with other sustainable organizations like Bullfrog Power, Foxy Recycle and Cascades Recovery all contribute to meeting our goals.
- Our Tenants. KRP Green emphasizes relationship building with partnerships that focus on individual AND collective behaviour. Studies reveal that a building can have energy efficient equipment and “bells and whistles” but it is how our building operators interface with that equipment and how tenants and occupants behave that inform outcomes more than the equipment alone. Our plan emphasizes the relational aspects of sustainability and provides our tenants with the motivation and tools to fully participate with the various programs on offer. We keep each other on track!
How has it improved the company’s triple-bottom line metrics (economic, social and environmental)?
It’s 6 a.m., and the first streaks of light in the sky bring a KRP’s building silhouette into sharp relief. It’s one of the many buildings in the KRP portfolio that delivers a triple bottom line: social, financial and environmental benefits.
Those of us who work in the industry are keenly aware that good intentions to conduct ourselves sustainably are not enough. Green buildings must perform, and they must do so across a range of metrics, including and especially financial ones.
After a decade of experimentation and lessons learned we now know green buildings are high-performing in every aspect – environmentally and socially as well as economically. And we have our own case studies with provable savings to back up our green pronouncements!
KRP Green operates from the following simple premise: given the social and economic frameworks and institutions of our society, more can be accomplished (and faster) by viewing sustainability as an economic opportunity relevant to business, compared to viewing it as an environmental initiative in isolation. Therefore the goal of “saving the environment” may be more appropriately expressed as “saving business.”
From an economic perspective, developing and managing buildings in a sustainable way can’t help but save money-it stands to reason. A case in point: In 2015 KRP’s Building Operator Ed Weir (who we sent back to school to learn about Sustainability in commercial buildings) undertook a number of lighting retrofit and other energy saving pilot projects. Like all good change leaders he trialed ideas on a small scale, measured the results against baseline consumption data, crunched the numbers and tallied up the savings and brought his compelling story back to KRP directors to reflect on the results. Sure enough-as Ed suspected-the outcome was so compelling, the savings so significant that KRP has decided to expand Ed’s pilot projects across the portfolio. The energy conservation stats are now pouring in-over 238,000 kwh at 411 Legget have been saved and over 217,000 kwh at Blackwood Towers A and B, just to name a few. Ed is very proud- and we are proud of him!
From a social perspective, our approach to Sustainability emphasized relationships and partnerships. Social marketing strategies emphasize the necessity of providing the conditions for people to choose to behave in a more sustainable way. The process of building our plan has pressed us to understand the perceived barriers and benefits that underlie the behavioural choices that individuals make. Further, if our environmental programs are to be effective, we need to be able to deliver program that remove barriers and enhance benefits for large segments of our client community. We believe our relational, social based approach embedded in our KRP Green Plan does just that.
From an environmental perspective it is common knowledge that commercial buildings’ consume large amounts of resources during construction and renovation, and continue to do so throughout their operation.
KRP Green provides the framework for us to travel the road to sustainability more effectively, through our workplan documents that target our own internal operations and how we conduct our operations (leasing, construction, finance, etc.) as well as how our tenants interface with our buildings systems, their own office equipment, materials and resources and their own supply chain.
Each department has set targets and goals to meet in our 8 environmental aspect areas and have developed initiatives and activities to meet those goals. Remember-these were all developed by these departments themselves. We know we are saving energy and water-our utility bills are proving that our efforts are working. Our waste audits reveal that we are reducing our waste outputs through a wide range of standardized recycling and composting programs that we introduced as part of our plan. We know our indoor air quality is improving with our Green Cleaning agenda. There are so many examples of how we are doing our part to improve our environment. And we believe KRP’s impacts extend far beyond the boundaries of the local communities in which we build. It’s the “think globally, act locally” paradigm in action.
None of this would be possible without KRP’s Communication and Social Marketing tools. These include:
- The KRP Website
- The KRP Newsletter
- Tenant Satisfaction Surveys
- Tenant Engagement Events, such as Earth Day and Earth Hour
- And many others.
Employees and tenants benefit from working in a sustainable community of likeminded people, committed to reducing their collective impacts on the environment every workday. That’s a testament to the ongoing leadership and guidance we provide to ensure the building remains at the forefront of environmental performance.
What were the goals and targets? Were they achieved?
By 6 p.m., most of KRP tenants have wrapped up their business for the day, leaving the building humming energy efficiently at a lower volume overnight. Some KRP employees are still hard at work, though. A new employee is flipping through a training manual, a manager is making sure plans are set for tomorrow’s lunch and learn session, and a divisional leader is jotting notes for a KRP Green session next week.
Ultimately, a sustainability plan doesn’t mean much if it is simply a series of meaningless pronouncements on a website. The KRP plan departs from this approach and instead has developed a purposeful plan that makes good business sense, for now and for the future.
The goals of KRP Green include:
- A commitment to authenticity. KRP wants to lead by example and be exemplary and beyond reproach in our sustainability efforts.
- A customized plan. Our team is unwavering in our desire for the plan to reflect KRP’s unique position and idealism in the industry.
- Strong goals and targets with measurable metrics. Achievable targets are set and our actions arise to meet those targets. Our plan is a living breathing document; updated as required to reflect new discoveries, innovative practices, the changing environmental landscape and evolving stakeholder preferences.
- Excellent reporting with an effective feedback mechanism. We have built an accurate and defendable reporting system into the plan. How will we know if we are meeting our targets if we are not measuring our performance on an ongoing basis? This is essential to the credibility of our plan and its outcomes.
- Our plan is simple but rigorous. It emphasizes relationship building with partnerships that focus on individual AND collective behavior.
- No one is left out and everyone is empowered. Our plan engages all of the moving parts of the building community, including leasing, operations, construction, accounting and administration. KRP Green is a potent vehicle to minimize or eliminate the chance for people to remain in silos. This is a persuasive relationship building exercise.
KRP believes in equipping their building staff with demonstrated comprehension of not only the basics but mastery of all aspects of building management. Our building staff are pursuing a course of skill-based professional development required to be proficient, key players in building value in our organization. Environmental training is so vital to running our portfolio like an energy efficient, well-oiled machine.
Are we succeeding? We think so! Here’s what we’ve learned:
- When we consult and solicit input from our staff, tenants and other stakeholders, the path is easier and that people cooperate more.
- That our plan works best if we set gradual, achievable goals and build capacity over time.
- That measurable metrics are crucial but so are the relational aspects of sustainability.
And perhaps more importantly, we have gained the wisdom and insight to improve our understanding, in areas such as decision making, judgment and performance. KRP Properties: a smart address for all the right reasons!