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Deals & Dealmakers

WashREIT Achieves the First-ever BREEAM Certification for Multifamily Industry in the US

WashREIT (NYSE: WRE) has announced the successful certification of eight multifamily assets under BREEAM’s In-Use certification standard. This achievement marks a significant milestone for both WashREIT and BREEAM as it signifies the first set of multifamily assets to receive BREEAM certification in the US.

The multifamily developments which have received BREEAM certification include Assembly Alexandria, Assembly Dulles, Assembly Germantown, Assembly Herndon, Assembly Leesburg, Assembly Manassas, Assembly Watkins Mill, and Cascade Landmark. These assets — which WashREIT acquired in 2019 — include a total of 2,390 units and span locations across Virginia and Maryland. WashREIT turned specifically to the guidance provided through the BREEAM certification process to bring these developments – most of which were in excess of 30 years old – to its sustainable standard. Notably, half of the assets certified earned a rating of ”Very Good.”

“We’re focused on existing Class B assets – and historically, this asset class has lacked in sustainability investments. But residents and investors alike care about sustainability,” said Paul McDermott, President and CEO of WashREIT. “As we work with BREEAM, our goal is to create opportunities for the industry and other operators to also find ways to invest in sustainable improvements and achieve ESG certifications for their assets.”

In 2021, WashREIT announced the expansion of its Green Bond Framework, setting aside $350 million in capital for eligible green projects; it was through this green bond that the eight certifications were funded. Through this process, WashREIT is setting a standard and leading the US’s movement toward the effective use of sustainable capital allocation and ESG funding, which will be of increasing importance as green bond issuances are projected to surpass $1 trillion by the end of 2022.

BREEAM, the leading sustainability assessment method developed by BRE Group (BRE), was the sustainability certification of choice for WashREIT based on its rigorous certification process and the return on investment offered to both multifamily and older facilities. As WashREIT continues to invest in and strengthen sustainability efforts across its portfolio, the company intends to work with reliable global partners that support ESG and net zero carbon advancements. The REIT is currently in the process of pursuing BREEAM certifications for additional assets across its portfolio, leveraging BREEAM to standardize sustainable operations across properties, both existing and future acquisitions. Additionally, sufficient capital will be allocated toward a number of on-site improvements and enhancements.

“Real estate is ripe with opportunities for sustainable improvements, and we’re proud to be working with WashREIT to demonstrate how these opportunities can be leveraged in the multifamily sector, as well as across the industry at large via green financing options,”

said Breana Wheeler, US Director of Operations at BRE. “In recent years, we have seen a significant demand for owners and operators to improve their ESG performance, and in that time WashREIT has exerted a conscientious and ultimately successful effort to exemplify its own commitment to measure its performance and report against external sustainable standards across its portfolio. Moving forward, the implementation of a holistic, science-based approach to building performance will prove crucial for the success of any asset, and we see this as the first of many partnerships with REITs and the entirety of the real estate sector.”

The assets’ certification process was led by an independent third-party assessor UL, a global safety science leader. UL’s role was critical to WashREIT’s achievement of safety, security and sustainability goals across the portfolio, as the assessor provided third-party assessment of each building’s sustainable quality and ESG performance.

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