The steady pursuit of healthier indoor spaces - RMZ Corp / Case Study / Verified Healthy Building
The proper disclosure of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data is becoming increasingly important, and real estate investors, owners and developers are responding with comprehensive ESG reporting and tangible changes at the property level. Everything from the design and size of the building to its geographic location can significantly impact how it affects occupants and the community in which it sits. Global real estate companies seek to differentiate their offerings by verifying the quality of their indoor spaces.
With 67 million square feet of assets developed by RMZ and a hypergrowth strategy to reach 350 million square feet by 2032, RMZ Corp understands the importance of communicating its environmental efforts to both current and future occupants. The company is dedicated to innovation and raising industry standards for sustainability and quality, but for tenants — whom RMZ fondly refers to as “members” — remain the primary focus. RMZ strives to build trust and offer peace of mind to every organization and individual under its roof, and UL Solutions proudly supports that effort.
UL Solutions’ reputation, scientific expertise and the UL Verified Healthy Building program offered RMZ the opportunity to assess its efforts, implement improvements in an efficient, cost-effective manner, and deliver results to become the first company in India to earn the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark.
“RMZ settled on the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark because it’s a distinction that demonstrates building owners, managers and corporations are committed to a built environment that supports occupant health, well-being and comfort, backed by UL’s globally recognized expertise.”
- Sean McCrady, global director assets &
sustainability | Real Estate & Properties
Making a difference with scientific rigor
As one of Asia’s largest privately owned real estate owners, RMZ knows managing healthy indoor spaces across both current and future developments requires careful attention to detail based on building design and location. Air quality across India can vary, meaning the design and procedures required to achieve and maintain positive results will vary from one facility to another.
RMZ’s Asset Management and Design teams set out to identify and execute necessary modifications to meet stringent environmental requirements. They began with RMZ Infinity, a 1.21 million-square-foot office space designed to accommodate a modern, high-density office environment with futuristic architecture that provides both technological innovations and flexibility for tenant fit-outs. When it was time to assess its efforts and demonstrate results to its members, the company’s leadership was eager, but not looking to take any shortcuts. RMZ wanted to communicate clearly, confidently and meaningfully with its members, requiring a more dedicated approach.
RMZ had several options in India for indoor air quality testing and identified international providers as well, but it wanted more than basic compliance and certification. It needed scientific backing, advisory expertise and the strength of a globally recognized brand to help highlight its efforts. The UL Verified Healthy Building program checked all those boxes.
“There’s a huge indoor air quality testing market in India. The UL Verified Healthy Building Mark stands out by including not only testing, but also assessment of the results, analysis, building audits and other tests which are often not included in a basic indoor air quality audit.” – Sean McCrady, global director assets & sustainability, Real Estate & Properties
In addition to an assessment of policies and procedures, which is standard for most programs, UL Solutions provides a thorough audit and on-site visual inspection, performance testing, and verification of policy implementation, and RMZ recognized the benefits every step of the way.
“We have a large technical team, and when we were evaluating rating agencies, it wasn’t just about the certification. It was about finding a rating system that had scientific rigor. That was the key driver. At the design stage, it was UL. At the operations stage, it was UL. Especially given the fact that we have ESG disclosure reports and everything is open to audit, there must be data to support how we earned this verification mark.”
- Thirumal Govindraj, senior managing director and
Member of the Executive Board | RMZ Corp
Leveraging UL Verification for differentiation and improved design
RMZ Infinity represents an important step in RMZ’s broader effort to demonstrate a commitment to the indoor environment and member health across the company’s entire portfolio. Along with being the first company in India to earn the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark, RMZ is only the second company outside of North America to achieve this distinction. Although these feats represent significant accomplishments on their own, RMZ refuses to idle. Focusing on indoor air quality at the Bangalore campus is just the beginning: “This project has been a pilot project for us to understand how we need to achieve this target, and we aim to replicate it across our assets,” said Govindraj. “If we do manage to replicate this across all our assets, it would certainly set us apart and deliver an unmatched experience to our members.”
The company plans to pursue the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air at its remaining Indian campuses — Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Gurugram — and is also eager to pursue additional tiers in the UL Verified Healthy Building program to further strengthen its portfolio. Because UL Solutions works to understand the unique needs of every customer and facility before beginning a new project, RMZ will benefit from the same attention to detail with each tier it pursues.
This process enables RMZ to accomplish additional goals in its pursuit of a stronger, more comprehensive ESG program. In 2022, the company plans to use some of the valuable data from its UL Solutions audit to support its first Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Report, and learnings from the UL Verified Healthy Building program already enable RMZ’s Design team to make more intentional decisions with properties currently in development.
A healthier future for tenants and guests
UL Solutions understands that this effort and all upcoming initiatives represent a significant accomplishment for RMZ and its members. Similarly, though RMZ strives to reach substantial environmental and sustainability milestones within its portfolio, the company knows these efforts are more about the people than the buildings. “I think just the fact that our members have faith and confidence in our buildings that these buildings are safe spaces to return to — I think that’s the biggest gain out of the whole process,” said Govindraj. The company’s expansive campuses house global organizations and welcome members from around the world, and every positive push toward greater ESG transparency and a healthier, more sustainable environment inside and out supports the greater good in the community, the country of India and the future of global real estate development.