Press Release: IBPDI expands Common Data Model for Real Estate with new sustainability cluster

The International Building Performance & Data Initiative (IBPDI) has published Energy & Resources, the second cluster of the Common Data Model (CDM) for Real Estate. In cooperation with the Institute for Real Estate Economics (IIÖ), the CDM for Real Estate has been expanded to include energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon risk, and is now fully compatible with the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) methodology.

Addressing the industry’s enormous environmental impact with standardized metrics

Recent political efforts have set goals for decarbonization but the industry’s path to success is still being defined. “As an industry, the real estate sector is one of the largest emitters of CO2 and, until now, has not had an effective toolkit to help it reduce its carbon footprint. Despite all the good will on the part of owners and investors, there has been no coordinated effort to implement the Paris climate targets in clear real estate categories,” says Rebekka Ruppel, president of the IBPDI. “With our new Energy & Resources cluster, we are establishing a unified model and pursuing our strategy of consolidating standards.”

By making carbon risk more clear and tangible, decision-makers will be better informed on the significance of steps taken with regard to adhering to decarbonization targets. Professor Sven Bienert, Managing Director of the Austria-based Institute for Real Estate Economics (IIÖ) also assesses the benefits: “CRREM will provide a much-needed interface. As part of our CDM for Real Estate, we are for the first time making decarbonization of the building sector measurable, analyzable and – most importantly – targetable.”

Defining paris climate protection targets for the real estate industry

The CRREM decarbonization pathways, which have now been adopted by the EU Taxonomy on Sustainable Finance and the UN Asset Owner Alliance and others, translate the Paris Agreement’s general climate protection targets into specific and actionable CO2 targets at the most granular level of individual buildings.

The CDM for Real Estate now includes an Energy & Resources cluster, making it possible to map the carbon footprint of both entire real estate portfolios and individual buildings. The new cluster also supports complex calculations and scenario simulations around carbon risk, stranded assets and CO2 pricing. Specific measures for CO2 savings, cost reduction and risk avoidance can therefore be planned more precisely and the impacts of individual or portfolio-wide measures can also be modeled quantitatively.

This tool’s development both highlights the urgency to act and also provides clear metrics for more transparency in the decision-making process. “The Paris Agreement set a target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Based on its current emissions, Europe’s commercial real estate sector will exhaust its 2050 carbon budget by 2032. Thanks to CRREM, the industry finally has transparent targets for CO2 mitigation that can be directly applied to the real estate sector, enabling it to take appropriate countermeasures,” says Dr. Jens Hirsch, Domain Expert Sustainability at BuildingMinds and responsible for the Energy & Resources cluster at IBPDI.

Built for complete compatiblity with GRESB

CRREM implementation also ensures that the CDM for Real Estate is compatible with common industry standards such as GRESB (The Global ESG Benchmark for Real Estate Assets), the recently piloted ECORE sustainability standard, and its scoring system.

This will make it much easier for users of the CDM for Real Estate to collect and analyze data for each standard. “A real estate portfolio or building recorded with the CDM for Real Estate can now be benchmarked according to GRESB at the push of a button and with no significant additional effort,” explains Ruppel.

For example, the Energy & Resources cluster makes it possible to process electricity, natural gas and district heating energy consumption as well as national and yearly-based conversion factors for greenhouse gas emissions (emission factors), as well as decarbonization targets and carbon risk indicators related to stranded assets and carbon pricing.

Continuously developing the CDM for Real Estate

The IBPDI pursues the goal of continuously expanding, improving and making the International Building Performance & Data Standard accessible to all. By drawing on existing and widely adopted industry standards, the IBPDI is developing a standardized, international data language and semantics to create the foundation for cross-company and cross-system data use. Additionally, it’s enabling the application of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning within the real estate industry.

In addition to the Energy & Resources cluster, a new central Digital Building Twin cluster is also already up and running and work is progressing on a range of other clusters including Portfolio, Asset, Property, Facility and Transaction Management, Market Data, User & Customer Experience, Financials, Project Management, Organizational Management, Documentation and Order Management.

The CDM for Real Estate is freely available as an open source software at github: