- Expanded the installation of smart building technology to over 80% of our high-rise portfolio, which has reduced annual common area energy consumption by over 10% compared to pre-installation levels at these properties.
- Invested in air quality sensors to measure micrograms of dust per cubic meter of air for all smart buildings properties.
- Reduced electricity demand in 2020 by 1,106 kilowatts (“KW”) through demand response programs resulting in over $78,000 in additional Net Operating Income ("NOI").
- 17% of eligible residential apartment homes have enrolled into demand response / grid rewards programs.
- New rooftop solar investments added over 841,000 kilowatt hours (“kWh”) of clean renewable electric capacity in 2020, bringing our annual solar production capacity to 1.7 million kWh.
- Procured over 13 million kWh in Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (“RECs”) to reduce the Company’s carbon footprint.
- Saved 5 million gallons of water through smart irrigation technology.
- Used nearly 20 million gallons of reclaimed water for irrigation in 2020, reducing our consumption of potable water.
- Smart water metering in place at 100% of eligible properties with daily monitoring at over 24,000 water meters to detect leaks, high consumption, and overall submeter health.
- Increased our resident environmental outreach and education through a sustainability email campaign that reached over 71,000 residents. We communicated regional specific opportunities to lower consumption during times of high demand, like the California Independent System Operator (“ISO”) flex alerts, and shared Grid Rewards in multiple regions.
- Issued a green bond in the amount of $350 million with proceeds used on eligible green projects.
- Increased by 34% the number of charging ports at Electric Vehicle ("EV") charging stations since 2018.
Progress Towards Environmental Goals
Smart Building Technology
In 2020, UDR’s Corporate Services Team expanded the Company’s smart building policies and procedures to over 80% of our high-rise portfolio. We can now monitor energy usage and air quality in real-time, be alerted to equipment malfunctions, and control smart thermostats from a single centralized dashboard at our corporate office. These activities lower our energy costs, provide opportunities to identify potential new streams of revenue, and reduce our GHG emissions. Versus pre-installation baselines, our communities have reduced their annual common area energy consumption by over 10%, resulting in annual avoided emissions of approximately 1,100 Metric Tons Carbon Dioxide equivalent ("MT CO2e").
Resident Leak Detection
In 2019, we began to record sub metered resident water readings and high usage alerts daily from over 24,000 meters portfolio wide. These alerts contribute to more effective and proactive maintenance by identifying water leaks earlier and have allowed us to bring more sub meter maintenance in-house, which has reduced costs and submeter downtime. Due to resident leak detection, we remediated over 85 residential leaks across 40 properties in 2020. Without this program, our absolute water consumption would be an estimated 56 million gallons higher on an annual basis, representing about 2% of our annual water consumption.
Solar and Onsite Renewable Energy
In 2020, UDR installed rooftop solar on five communities. Ten of our communities now have solar generation with annual capacity totaling 1.7 million kWh. These investments are economically sound and environmentally responsible as they lower our electric consumption and, therefore, GHG emissions. In 2021 and beyond, we will continue to underwrite opportunities to deploy solar where building or parking lot configurations allow. Battery storage is also high on our list of potential opportunities as it would reduce our reliance on the grid during peak pricing times while also providing short-term emergency power.
Since 2018, UDR has participated in 32 demand response events that have generated nearly $500,000 in additional NOI while reducing electrical demand by over 6,440 KW and reducing the strain on local power grids during high-demand periods. In 2021, UDR enrolled 14 additional communities in demand response programs, bringing total participating communities to 19. Additionally, we are encouraging our residents to engage with programs like Grid Rewards and California’s ISO Flex alerts to help lessen their environmental footprint and our scope 3 emissions.
We embrace LEED or an equivalent green certification when possible for significant new developments, demonstrating the high aspiration we have to create innovative communities with minimal environmental impact. Since 2010, UDR has developed or redeveloped 19 communities and acquired one community that have obtained sustainability certification.
13th & Market | 264 homes | LEED Silver
3033 Wilshire | 190 homes | Green Globes
345 Harrison | 585 homes | LEED Silver
399 Fremont | 447 homes | LEED Silver
Beach & Ocean | 173 homes | NGBS Silver
Capitol View on 14th | 255 homes | LEED Platinum
Channel Mission Bay | 315 homes | LEED Gold
CityLine | 244 homes | LEED Silver
CityLine II | 155 homes | LEED Silver
Fiori on Vitruvian Park® | 391 homes | LEED Silver
Savoye | 394 homes | LEED Silver
Savoye2 | 351 homes | LEED Gold
Station on Silver | 400 homes | NGBS Silver
The Residences at Pacific City | 516 homes | LEED Silver
The Residences on Jamboree | 381 homes | NGBS Silver
Verve Mountain View | 155 homes | LEED Silver
Vison on Wilshire | 150 homes | LEED Silver
Vitruvian West | 383 homes | LEED Silver