I am delighted to see that a fund has now been launched that specifically focuses on Environmental Social and Governance issues (ESG). Vert has launched it's first fund in the U.S. and my hope is that it is a great success and creates a fund for European customers as well.
We'd all like to think that issues relating to thermal efficiency of buildings would be completely covered by building regulations; but this doesn't seem to be the case. Our leased office in central Bristol was originally developed in the 1960's and has had some cosmetic touch ups since. The building was the first, large scale block in Bristol. Its construction was extremely controversial at the time as it was 13 storeys high compared with at most 5 storeys elsewhere in Bristol.
Formerly known as the DRG Building, One Redcliff Street as it is now known, was long overdue a major overhaul. Refurbishment work started in Spring 2016 and is not due to finish until Spring 2018. From what I can see, there have been improvements to fire safety, all the old asbestos has either been removed or sealed. The elevator shafts are nearly finished, which do have a brain to work out the most efficient use or route up and down the building. But there seems to be little to no expenditure on improving the thermal efficiency of this building, which is a surprise as they've done everything but turn this building inside out over the last 18 months.
As this is a rather a tall building, it does tower over the buildings around it. This causes a problem with the heating and air conditioning. Amazingly, for such a vast structure, it's pretty much on one air conditioning setting for the entire building. Therefore, the temperature is set by the majority (or who complains the most). In the summer, the top half of the buidling can be bathed in sunshine; so it needs cooling. While the top cools, those that are on the lower floors freeze and put on electric heaters to warm the air up again: Totally nuts! We expend energy and money to chill air to artic like tempratures only to expend more money and energy to warm it up again. There are two issues here;
1. What could have been done to improve the efficiency of the glazing in the building so that it did not get so much solar gain in the first place. Therefore less cooling leading to energy & expense.
2. Why are there no zone controls so that cold (or hot air for that matter) is not sent to where it is not needed.
Surely in this day and age a case could have been made for the long term savings this would have made, not least the improved enviroment for all the occupiers of the building.
“We are the first sustainable real estate mutual fund available to US investors. Financial advisors are looking for more choices in ESG funds to round out their asset allocations. They’ve asked us for a pure real estate fund that meets their clients’ preference for sustainability,” says Sam Adams, Vert Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder. Mr. Adams added, “Vert’s mission is to make sustainable investing easier. We are proud to bring this solution to market.”