Related Blog

Leading the industry with an environmentally-conscious vision for real estate and lasting commitments to our communities

At Related, we take a proactive approach to sustainability and innovation, allowing us to make lasting impacts on both the real estate industry and the communities that we touch with our developments. Our continuous efforts to advance the design, construction and operations of our properties results in a smaller environmental footprint for our company and helps set a higher standard for our industry. Within our 2020 ESG Report, the Environmental Efforts section illustrates projects where we are making strides in areas such as energy reduction and reuse and third-party building certifications that commemorate our environmental efforts. Read more below for some highlights of what we have achieved so far.

Cornell Tech: The tallest passive house certified building in the world

For Cornell Tech, located on Roosevelt Island in NYC, Related adhered to one of the most stringent energy certifications to develop the tallest passive house certified building in the world. Cornell Tech is a 352-unit, 26-floor student and faculty housing building that is designed for maximum efficiency, reducing energy usage by 70% relative to code. The building uses only electricity for all HVAC and lighting needs. The only use of fossil fuels is for making hot water—only because the technology to efficiently generate hot water at scale with electricity doesn’t yet exist.

Vintage Crossings: the first LEED Platinum affordable development in Anaheim

In the City of Anaheim, CA, Vintage Crossings stands as the first LEED platinum affordable housing development and also serves as an example of a successful public-private partnership—the second time that the City and Related pioneered new territory in sustainable affordable housing. The materials used to construct Vintage Crossings were sourced from highly recycled content and had low emission profiles. Through the use of low-flow/flush plumbing fixtures and landscape irrigation systems, water use is significantly lowered for residents, calculated to reduce 65% of potable water needs overall. With measures like instantaneous gas hot water heaters and high-efficiency HVAC systems, the building’s total energy use is kept low and exceeds current energy codes by 45.9% (at the time of construction).

Making affordable housing more sustainable across the nation

Prior to purchase, Related assesses affordable housing preservation acquisitions for their potential energy savings, water savings and potential occupant health improvements. By incorporating our company-wide building standards, we are able to provide residents a higher quality of living while reducing overall building footprints. These building standards include LED lighting retrofits in common areas, dwelling units and back of house; high-efficiency boilers and water heating equipment; insulation improvements where possible; and high-efficiency Low-E windows.

EnelX: More sustainable infrastructure at scale

In the summer of 2019, Related partnered with global energy firm EnelX to develop a 5MW lithium-ion battery project at our Gateway Center retail complex in Brooklyn. In addition to the fundamental innovation of using energy storage behind the meter at scale, our battery solution involves exporting power to the grid and enabling the storage asset to provide peak management services to the local electric grid—which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions, enhances the resiliency of the grid and lowers electric costs for rate payers by eliminating the need for costly infrastructure investments by the local utility.