Building Lifecycle: Sustainable Operations

Our integrated approach to the sustainable development and management of our portfolio helps Forest City create shared value for tenants, residents and other stakeholders. We construct our buildings with peoples’ overall well-being in mind—whether it be through our choice of building materials or from our efficient and responsible use of natural resources. As a property owner and operator, it is essential that we deliver a high-quality experience for anyone and everyone who comes into contact with our properties.

In 2017, we set a new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target for our company, to be implemented in 2018. Our new goal is to reduce Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions intensity per square foot 27.5 percent by 2025, using a 2016 baseline. In addition, we have a goal to reduce scope 3 emissions by 33 percent by 2025, also using a 2016 baseline. These goals have been independently assessed and approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative.

Our science-based GHG reduction target aligns well with our existing energy strategy and demonstrates our continued commitment to the long-term sustainability goals and climate strategies of our core markets. Moving forward, we will continue to explore ways to improve our energy mix by incorporating renewable energy sources throughout our portfolio.

Goal  Progress Status
Science-based target: Reduce Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions intensity by 27.5% by 2025 (2016 baseline)
  • Reduced 6.7% from 2016–2017
On track
Science-based target: Reduce absolute Scope 3 GHG emissions by 33% by 2025 (2016 baseline)
  • Reduced 56% from 2016–2017
On track
Reduce water use by 20 percent from our 2013 baseline across our existing portfolio by 2020
  • Reduced 5.4% from 2016–2017
  • In 2018, we will reevaluate our water goal due to material changes in portfolio asset types
Divert 20 percent of all building waste generated within our portfolio by 2025
  • Achieved 24% diversion rate in 2017
  • In 2018, we will reevaluate our waste diversion goal based on a significant increase in data availability/coverage

Commitment to Sustainability: Policy & Goals

Forest City’s Energy and Sustainability Policy outlines a continuous improvement approach in the design and construction of new properties, as well as the operation and maintenance of existing properties. It informs our approach by integrating sustainability into our properties’ design and management across five focus areas:  

  • Energy Management
  • Water Conservation
  • Waste Management and Recycling
  • Energy Supply
  • Indoor Environmental Quality

In early 2018, Forest City was named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year, the EPA’s highest honors for organizations that protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Over the past year, we fully integrated our ENERGY STAR tools and resources into our internal energy management platform. Forest City continues to benchmark 100 percent of our properties within ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and since 2015, we have improved our ENERGY STAR scores by an average of 6 percent across our apartment portfolio.

In 2017, we invested $2.4 million to complete 35 capital improvement projects at 20 separate properties. These projects varied in size and scope and included enhancements in energy and building technology, such as new LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC systems and fixture and appliance upgrades. Since 2011, Forest City has invested $34 million in capital improvement projects to increase energy efficiency. 

In the last year, we have fully implemented our Energy and Sustainability Standard Operating Procedures across our entire apartment portfolio. The new procedures require each building to submit a written energy plan that sets an energy baseline, create goals for energy use and establish a process for measuring progress against these goals. We also use this information to identify properties for energy projects. Moving forward, building managers will conduct self-assessments for their energy performance annually. 

We also advanced our building controls and diagnostics program with Switch Automation, a cloud-based building diagnostics platform. Our partnership with Switch Automation enables us to monitor real-time energy data to help improve our operating efficiency and reduce costs. In 2017, we brought another nine properties onto the program. Three of these properties were building legacy systems with no centralized automation system. Switch Automation gave us increased control and standardized scheduling. We also conducted building audits in Denver and Dallas to help inform and prioritize future expansion of the program. 

Demand Response Program at The Grand

Last February, residents of The Grand near Washington, D.C., were invited to participate in a program to reduce energy use in their homes during summer peak load events. Forest City residents who opt in receive Emerson smart thermostats installed in their homes free of charge. These Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats are programmed to reduce the A/C during peak load events, resulting in lower demand and energy savings across the entire community.
The utility passes these energy savings to residents, who can earn up to $160 for participating in the first year of the program, and up to $80 per year onward. Residents receive an alert text, email or phone call 24 hours prior to a peak load event, and LED screens on the thermostats notify users when events are in progress. Residents also have the option to opt out of the program if they no longer wish to participate in the savings program.
By the end of 2017, more than 400 residents were benefitting from this program. Due to this level of participation, The Grand’s energy savings are estimated to total more than $5,000 a year.

Portfolio Environmental Performance

Percentage of 'In-Use' Properties with LEED Certifications  

  2015 2016 2017
Properties (including sold) 12.05% 13.4% 16.47%
Properties (excluding sold) 9.4% 10.75% 13.05%

Energy* (GJ)

  2015 2016 2017
Total electricity consumption within our operations 1,112,936 1,095,887 1,054,600
Total non-renewable fuels purchased and consumed i.e., on-site generation 715,999 716,667 666,067
Total non-renewable electricity purchased and consumed  1,112,936 1,094,420 1,053,793
Total steam consumption  79,871 67,300 82,319
Total non-renewable energy sold - - -
Total non-renewable energy consumption 1,908,806 1,878,387 1,802,179
Total renewable energy purchased or generated - 22,171 110,558
Total fuel consumption from renewable sources; includes RECs/ZECs - 22,171 110,558
Energy use intensity (weather-normalized GJ/square foot, includes electricity, fuel,  steam) 0.052 0.051 0.048
Energy reduction achieved through efficiency initiatives; includes electricity, fuel, steam 17,106 13,912 20,552
Total costs of energy consumption (USD) 50,564,013 47,570,936 45,641,920

*Data represents energy use within Forest City’s operational control.

Greenhouse Gases* (Emissions CO2e)

  2015 location-based 2015 market-based 2016 location-based 2016 market-based 2017 location-based 2017 market-based
Total Scope 1 Emissions (metric tons) 36,045 35,961 33,467
Total Scope 2 Emissions (metric tons) 118,171 117,376 108,583 102,253 105,768 93,222
Total Scope 1 and 2 Emissions 153,422 138,214 126,689
Total Scope 3 Emissions (metric tons) 6,616** 6,616** 179,850 182,475 79,031 81,382
GHG Emissions Intensity (Scope 1, 2 and 3) 0.0035 0.0035 0.0071 0.007 0.0048 0.0046
GHG Emissions Intensity (Scope 1 and 2) 0.0034 0.003 0.0028
Total Reduction in GHG Emissions achieved through reduction initiatives 2,164 1,760 2,600
GHG Reductions from Offsets 0 0 0
*Scope 1 and 2 data represents greenhouse gas emissions related to energy use within Forest City’s operational control. Scope 3 data represents emissions from business travel, purchased goods and services, downstream leased assets, waste generated in operations, and fuel- and energy-related activities (not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2). Scope 3 includes CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, NF3.
**2015 Scope 3 emissions includes only partial data. 


  2015 2016 2017
Total Water Consumption (cubic meters) 4,624,945 4,800,996 4,540,917
Water Use Intensity (cubic meters/sq ft) 0.109 0.113 0.107
*Data represents whole building water use within Forest City’s portfolio. A large majority is outside of Forest City’s operational control.


  2015 2016 2017
Total Solid Waste Disposal (metric tons) 14,290 21,641 21,480
Total Solid Waste Recycling (metric tons) 2,416 4,679 5,178
Waste Diversion Rate (%) 17 22 24
*To the extent available, Forest City uses actual weights (as measured and invoiced by our waste/recycling haulers) for each waste stream. To the extent that a given waste stream’s receptacles/disposal containers are not physically weighed (or that information is not readily available), Forest City tracks the number of containers by waste stream, the service levels (e.g. number of hauler pick-ups) and applies the following assumptions to convert approximate number of cubic yards disposed into approximate weights: 100 lbs per cubic yard of municipal solid waste, 50 lbs per cubic yard of old corrugated cardboard, and 70 lbs per cubic yard of commingled recyclables (i.e. mixed glass, tin, plastics, etc.). Data coverage increased to 100 percent in 2016–2017, accounting for the increase in both disposal and diversion.