Increasingly, environmental,social, and governance principles are becoming more important toinvestors for their ability to generate high long-termreturns.  

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But another advantage to ESG isemerging, especially now during the pandemic. As many firms look tocut costs, ESG can provide a roadmap, according to Matthew Ganser,EVP Engineering and Technology at Carbon Lighthouse.

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"One of the great ways to controlcosts, especially protecting you on the downside, is toaggressively address your utility bills," Ganser says. "ESG isexactly aligned with that. So, you know, ESG investments can show areduction in expenses to energy efficiency."

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But ESG only works with accuratedata about energy savings inside of a building. Ganser saysartificial intelligence can help these investors determine if anESG investment provides value over time. It can allow them to focuson principles most important to their employees, while also cuttingcosts.

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"Being able to find theopportunity and to provide accuracy in that opportunity makes ESGworth investing in and makes it a worthwhile investment for ROI,"Ganser says. 

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Ultimately, even an investor thatbelieves in sustainability wants to see a return on theirinvestment.

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"If you can demonstrate to themthat an investment actually makes practical business sense,regardless of their belief in sustainability, climate change or thevalue of ESG, you help them start to realize that this actuallysaves money, improves their bottom line and helps improve thewellbeing or publicity of the building," Ganser says. "You helpthem come to a conclusion: why would I not do that?"

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As far as actual metrics, thetypes of needs will vary by who is asking. Some people care deeplyabout CO2 [carbon dioxide] savings. "For those who care verystrongly about climate change, they want to know about the CO2equivalent benefit," Ganser says. "This is, of course, the reason alot of people make these investments. You can maybe throw otherthings in there like water too. But I think the biggest one that isgoing to be the commonality across any sort of investor orowner-operator of a building is the dollars."

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Leslie Shaver

Les Shaver has been covering commercial and residential real estate for almost 20 years. His work has appeared in Multifamily Executive, Builder, units, Arlington Magazine in addition to GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum.