Mountain Technology Center Becomes First Development in U.S. to Achieve BREEAM International New Construction Certification
BREEAM, the globally recognized leading sustainability assessment method developed by BRE Global (‘BRE’), has announced that Mountain Technology Center —MetLife Investment Management’s 513,000-square-foot development featuring five state-of-the-art manufacturing warehouses in Tracy, California — is the first development in the U.S. to earn BREEAM International New Construction (‘INC’) certification. This certification, several years in the making, kicked off in June 2018 when MetLife Investment Management chose BREEAM specifically for its holistic approach to sustainability assessment and its global reputation for credibility and rigor.
BREEAM’s INC certification is awarded to new developments, with the rating confirming the as-built performance of a building after construction is complete — referred to as the Post-Construction Stage. BREEAM also offers an interim rating at the end of the Design Stage for an asset, which assesses the expected and intended performance based on the completed design.
“As the commercial real estate industry continues to pursue more quantitative efforts toward achieving meaningful ESG goals, investors and owners are looking for a science-based solution with an established international reputation to deliver better buildings and transparently communicate performance to stakeholders,” said Breana Wheeler, US Director of Operations at BRE. “MetLife Investment Management recognizes the benefit of BREEAM’s holistic sustainability assessment approach, just as we at BREEAM are thrilled to be working with such a powerful industry voice to further promote a commitment to ESG goals and performance transparency across multiple sectors. We look forward to continuing to work with MetLife Investment Management, creating a positive influence in the market that serves as a model for emulation, and we expect to see more INC certifications nationally in the near future.”
Pursuit of this certification began late in the design stage, providing a unique opportunity for MetLife Investment Management to understand and evaluate how sustainability can be incorporated into the standard design process. It also emphasized the importance of considering sustainability explicitly from the beginning of the design and development process to deliver an asset that meets the increasingly elevated ESG goals in the commercial real estate industry. In the Industrial sector, there are significant challenges associated with developing facilities to meet high sustainability performance goals when there doesn’t appear to be a specific, measurable premium achieved by doing so.
By choosing BREEAM, MetLife Investment Management is establishing itself as a clear leader that is setting the precedent for sustainability initiatives across the industrial sector. MetLife Investment Management’s eagerness to assess the performance of their development against such a rigorous global standard demonstrates its willingness to hold itself accountable as the commercial real estate industry begins to take a stand against greenwashing, and it highlights the organization’s commitment to developing assets poised to deliver long-term value to stakeholders.
“As real estate professionals are increasingly tasked with the development of more sustainable and ESG-friendly buildings, there is immense value in benchmarking the sustainable progress of an asset throughout each stage of development,” said Jim Landau, Head of Environmental, Social & Governance at MetLife Investment Management. “Undertaking this project has allowed us to collect quality data and has provided us with an opportunity to measure sustainable performance progress against ESG goals and commitments — a critical component of delivering meaningful improvements.”
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Components of Mountain Technology Center’s commendable rating include receiving full credit for efficient external lighting, including fixtures using photosensors and motion detectors to reduce power and light pollution, and providing benefits which encourage the building’s users to travel via low carbon options, including 10% of parking being allocated to carpooling spaces or “Clean Air” vehicle spaces. Mountain Technology Center also scores notably well in reducing water usage, utilizing a drip irrigation system and smart controllers that facilitate water savings at an estimated 74% below the amounts allowed under California ordinances.
The assessment was conducted by Socotec and led by John Amatruda, Principal and licensed BREEAM Assessor.
“One feature of this asset that supported a high rating was the strong resiliency and protection against damage — a performance measure that is fairly unique to the BREEAM assessment method, but significantly important as it pertains to a building’s sustainability,” said Mr. Amatruda. “When quantifying Mountain Technology Center’s resiliency performance, factors that came into consideration included the durable envelope materials, protection of loading docks and external entryways, and ample separation of the parking from the building envelope.”
While this is the first U.S. development to receive the INC certification, BREEAM has awarded over 600,000 certificates in 93 countries since BREEAM was first launched in 1990.
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