CHICAGO-The Institute of Real Estate Management, based here, has signed a pact with the US Green Building Council, based in Washington, DC to cooperate on the promotion and education of sustainable development. The two non-profit organizations joined in a non-binding memorandum of intent, and will find ways of jointly pushing green practices, such as a shared publication, lobbying and classes.

Reggie Mullins, president of IREM, says there’s many things the two groups can do to help convince developers and owners to go green. The USGBC is composed of about 15,000 members, and IREM has more than 18,000 members and 500 corporate members. Suggested collaborations include a joint newsletter or magazine, cross-advertising and lobbying efforts and joint educational content production. There are some limitations: USGBC will continue to solely maintain and implement LEED-focused initiatives and standards, for example.

One major initiative that IREM can do, Mullins tells, is promoting and educating owners to adopt green practices to existing buildings. The USGBC usually focuses on new development. “Developers these days aren’t really even getting loans unless they can show they’re going green,” she says. “We want our members to know that this issue is one of our five hot topics, and that it’s not going to go away.”

She says she’s noticed that since many tenants have been pushing to have green spaces when leasing, the two divergent parties responsible for green are starting to catch up to each other. Mullins said she’s seen this happen personally, as VP, commercial real estate management at the Cafritz Co. in Washington, DC. “We had a tenant at our building here that said that was the main reason they selected the building, because of the owner’s green initiatives,” she says. “Owners are starting to learn it’s not just how much electricity you can save, it’s many things, such as what you do with waste water, how you manage your trash, how are paper products recycled, what kind of carpet you’re using, etc. It’s more than just energy. That’s why we’re doing this partnership, to help reach as many people as possible about how to go green.”