Sustainability Wins through Innovative, Low-Cost Efficiencies

June 2, 2021

While we focus much of our time and resources on capital improvements to reduce usage and increase efficiency, there are many low- or no-cost efficiency projects that can yield significant results. Reducing utility usage at a property level not only benefits Physicians Realty Trust (NYSE: DOC) as the real estate owner but can also positively impact the health care partners who occupy our buildings.

In 2020, DOC challenged each of our property managers to implement at least one low- or no-cost measure at each of their managed properties. The program aimed to reduce overall energy and utility use, encourage our facility management partners to keep sustainability top of mind, and recognize partners for the outsized impact many seemingly small actions can make.

An integral part of the success of this program is the resources shared with our team. We linked directly to ENERGY STAR’s Energy-Saving Checklists page as a comprehensive resource for ideas during the project rollout.

As our property managers implemented these measures at our facilities, our team maintained a dashboard of their actions. This dashboard continues to generate ideas for similar projects across our portfolio. Participating properties saw a 10.0% year-over-year reduction in electric use and a 42.5% reduction in water usage.

  • The following low- or no-cost actions were the most frequently implemented at our properties in 2020:
  • Installation of high-efficiency water and energy-saving measures through upgrades certified by the EPA’s WaterSense Program
  • Replaced missing, broken, or clogged aerators with low flow aerators
  • Building automation system upgrades
  • Behavioral improvements via communications to our tenants, enhancing their knowledge of positive habits to reduce overall energy usage
  • Energy audits
  • Thermostat upgrades
  • Installation of motion sensors for lighting

Ryan Yetzer, DOC’s Senior Manager of Construction and Sustainability, shared, “While we focus a lot of our attention on lighting and HVAC upgrades in working toward our reduction goals, it is important to remember how behavioral changes at a property factor into the sustainability equation. In addition to our measurable results from this challenge, it also instills a sustainable mindset at the property level, as well as promoting a collaborative approach to these initiatives across our portfolio.”

As part of this low- or no-cost campaign, we held a regional competition to drive participation among our property management team. Our Regional Asset Manager and Training Specialist, Amy Sovine, had the region with by far the highest participation.

Sovine shares, “My managers rose to the occasion by proactively seeking opportunities at their properties to create true change management. Their actions created a ripple effect across our portfolio and beyond, and their enthusiasm spilled over to our health care partners.”

"While we focus a lot of our attention on lighting and HVAC upgrades in working toward our reduction goals, it is important to remember how behavioral changes at a property factor into the sustainability equation. In addition to our measurable results from this challenge, it also instills a sustainable mindset at the property level, as well as promoting a collaborative approach to these initiatives across our portfolio."

— Ryan Yetzer | Sr. Manager Construction & Sustainability, Physicians Realty Trust

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