Alliance Residential is the nation’s largest multifamily developer, a status it maintains through a simple, conservative and sustainable mantra—what gets measured, gets managed.
Alliance just released its second annual Citizenship & Sustainability Report, which measures and manages the developer’s sustainability initiatives from the past year. Kelly Vickers, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Alliance Residential, cites several drivers that prompted the decision to begin publishing this report.
“It’s a great vehicle to share our sustainability story and engage stakeholders in our journey—to talk about what we’ve done, where we’re going, report on the progress of our goals, be transparent about what is and isn’t working, etc.,” says Vickers.
The report is also a way to help drive performance across the board at Alliance Residential, which in turn improves business processes.
“Evaluating our goals in terms of success stories and misses helps us identify areas of opportunity where we might need to sharpen our focus, invest more energy or perhaps highlight where we are really succeeding and take a moment to celebrate those wins,” says Vickers.
Sustainability Goals – Waste Management & Conservation
Among the many goals highlighted in Alliance’s sustainability report, reducing the waste stream of its developments was a major focus.
“The multifamily housing industry is responsible for an enormous amount of waste and the opportunities to make a significant impact here are huge,” says Vickers.
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Alliance is in the process of implementing a national waste account manager. This will create portfolio-wide visibility of its waste stream, set diversion rate goals, track and monitor performance over time and set far more aggressive initiatives related to reusing and recycling.
These collaborative efforts will create a monumental impact for the company, and Vickers notes she is extremely excited to see where Alliance Residential is within the next 12 to 18 months.
Conservation is an equally important concept in sustainability practices, and Vickers believes the Alliance and its peers are moving in the right direction towards making sustainability the norm across the industry.
“But we are behind,” she says. “We have so much potential as an industry to make a positive impact.”
Technology to Monitor and Manage
Energy and water conservation, reusing and repurposing materials, producing less waste—each of these factors can help create an industry-wide positive impact in a collaborative way. Additionally, part of this collaboration is the use of technology to monitor and manage these initiatives.
“Technology is an important tool, allowing us to wrap our arms around all of the data that goes into tracking our goals,” says Vickers.
Alliance has invested in developing a business intelligence platform called Alliance Insights. The developer will be working into next year to get many of its sustainability metrics into this system, which will allow better visibility and more robust reporting capabilities.
Advice for Developers
All of the aforementioned concepts—waste management, conservation, metric-measuring technology—are excellent tools for developers all around the nation to use as examples for success.
By adhering to similar practices, your business will benefit greatly. Alliance Residential is not only the nation’s largest multifamily developer, it has also developed multiple LEED Platinum properties—the highest level of LEED certification one can receive.
“Make sure sustainability is a part of everything you do, not just an amenity here or feature there,” says Vickers. “It should be the lens you look through from project beginning to project end.”
By continuing to push the envelope and invest in meaningful projects, developers all around the country can make an impact, add value to properties and help create a collaborative, sustainable future for all.
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