TRIRIGA Markets System to Measure, Reduce Carbon Footprint of Buildings

TRIRIGA Markets System to Measure, Reduce Carbon Footprint of Buildings

Real estate management software developer TRIRIGA is going to market with a system that enables firms to measure, manage and reduce the carbon footprint of buildings in their portfolio, the company said.

The Las Vegas company today is announcing the availability of the TRIRIGA Real Estate Environmental Sustainability system. The software system, which the company calls TREES and describes as the first of its kind, was developed with input from key clients, many of them Fortune 100 firms.

"We're really excited about this because no one has anything like it in the market,"  TRIRIGA President and CEO George Ahn told GreenerBuildings.

Ahn said the vision for the product, which was in development for about two-and-a-half years, emerged from two key sources.

The first involved clients' demands for a tool that would help them integrate financial, operations and other performance data for the properties in their real estate portfolios in order to measure energy consumption, efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings — and then enable the clients to take further steps.

The second driver grew from a tenet of one of Ahn's favorite pastimes. "I'm a competitive sailor and we're constantly measuring our time around the course," charting performance and trying to better it, Ahn said. "To us, if you're not measuring what you're doing, you're simply practicing."

The same applies to environmental management of business properties and improvement efforts without tough assessments of the baseline or the ongoing results, he said. "If you can't measure carbon footprint, then you're just practicing," said Ahn. "It's not real."

According to Shari F. Epstein, director of research at the International Facility Management Association, the IFMA is surveying its members about the actions they are taking to improve their facilities' efficiency.

Preliminary results of a segment of the ongoing study showed that 39 percent of the corporate facility managers queried among the IFMA membership said they are measuring their facilities' carbon footprints in some fashion, Epstein said. The early findings also indicated that of the 39 percent, as many as 74 percent also said they felt "comfortable" to "very comfortable" with the methodology used to measure carbon footprint.

Epstein, who spoke in general about facility management rather than about a specific tool, noted that firms measure carbon footprint in a number of ways as there is no universal standard for conducting such measurements or for setting the parameters of how deeply or broadly one views the footprint.

At the U.S. Green Buildling Council, Commercial Real Estate Director Marc Heisterkamp, like Epstein, offered general comments about carbon footprints and data contributing to their measurement.

"In our work with commercial real estate, we see increasingly that companies are not greening just one building but are greening their entire portfolio," said Heisterkamp. "There is a dire need in the industry on how to track, how to report and how to aggregate this information."

According to Ahn, the TREES system allows users to "leverage all data available" on their buildings, then close the loop by assessing and acting upon it. Those next steps, he said, include reviewing possible actions, developing a plan for improvement that can be applied to one building or all of them, managing that plan, reducing consumption and emissions, keeping tabs on progress and emerging development areas across the lifecycle of the properties, and documenting actions and progress.

The system, he said, is a "robust, natural extension" of TRIRIGA's suite of real estate management products and can be used in concert with them or as a standalone. The company declined to provide details about system costs, but Ahn said the integrated TREES solution "pays for itself inside of six months."

"ROI is not just about saving money,"  he said. "There is regulation coming — whether its in the form of a carrot-and-stick as to tax credits and penalties or something else — and at the end of the day (businesses) are going to need to prove where you are and what you're doing."