How Tech Improves Visibility into Tenant Emissions

4 minutes

Leading commercial real estate portfolio managers are required to report GHG emissions on a regular basis. Emissions reporting mandates are cropping up all over the country, and companies that aren’t already bound to report by legal obligation are doing so for fund managers or current and potential investors.

Reporting carbon emissions for a property is hard enough when your energy usage is charged under a single account. Factor in multiple tenants and suddenly your emissions report is a puzzle with too many missing pieces.

Whether you’re looking to collect disparate emissions data or fill in the gaps with reliable estimations, sustainability data management software has your back.

Why tenant emissions visibility matters

Commercial real estate companies are planning for a zero-carbon future. You can’t lower carbon intensity for a building without a clear understanding of the building’s emissions baseline.

Building owners setting carbon reduction targets without a credible carbon planning strategy will not be taken seriously going forward. To meet reporting standards such as GRESB and report in alignment with zero carbon initiatives like SBTi, portfolio managers must take accountability for managing the entire property’s carbon footprint and reduction strategy.

You can’t manage carbon planning for an entire portfolio without visibility into tenant emissions, but that data is notoriously difficult to obtain.

Commercial real estate companies need a way to get emissions data from tenants and a method for estimating the data they can’t get so they can track progress and plan for net zero.

Some jurisdictions have begun requiring utility vendors to provide “whole building” utility data, but this isn’t common practice. Most of the time, portfolio owners are stuck asking tenants for energy usage data or physically reading their meters, one by one.

Reporting tenant emissions without technology

Without technology, this tracking is done with paper and spreadsheets. The larger the portfolio, the more difficult this becomes.

Manually tracking data from disparate sources carries a high risk of human error. It’s also time-consuming, as portfolio managers have to request energy usage data or read physical meters for each and every tenant.

Inevitably, there will be cases where tenant data is inaccessible. Without technology, commercial real estate companies will be forced to report the gaps in their data.

How technology facilitates visibility into tenant emissions

Having an accurate baseline is vital for benchmarking the path to net zero emissions. Sustainability software solutions can help portfolio owners collect and consolidate tenant energy usage data.

With software, companies can utilize multiple data sources to create a comprehensive assessment of the portfolio’s carbon footprint, complete with verifiable data and assumptions to fill the remaining gaps.


Using software to consolidate tenant emissions data into one centralized location limits the risk of error and streamlines reporting to government and industry disclosure programs. A sustainability data management system (SDMS) highlights missing emissions data, ensuring every square foot is accounted for.

Combined with predictive analytics, the resulting comprehensive assessment of emissions helps companies set achievable reduction targets. Portfolio owners can set and track carbon reduction targets at the property or portfolio level and streamline the process of sharing data with external stakeholders, all within an SDMS.


Leveraging an SDMS as the single source of truth for all emissions data simplifies reporting to frameworks like ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and GRESB. Sustainability data management software can even integrate directly with these frameworks, all but automating the reporting process.

Meter reading

Mobile applications allow portfolio managers to collect energy usage data from tenant meters and upload it straight to an SMDS from a mobile device. This eliminates the need to haul clipboards and paperwork between properties while improving the quality of data collected.


When tenant energy usage data is not retrievable, portfolio owners can use sophisticated predictive analytics to estimate emissions for a specific property or tenant. Energy usage estimates are made based on the type of building, size, location on the utility grid, and asset class.

In addition to satisfying reporting requirements, these estimates ensure the emissions data used to create and track carbon reduction targets is comprehensive and as accurate as possible.

Improve tenant emissions visibility with Stream™

Ultimately, emissions reporting is done with one ultimate goal– to reduce overall carbon emissions and reverse (or at the very least stall) the impact of warming temperatures.

Without transparency into tenant emissions, commercial real estate companies cannot track or report comprehensive emissions data. That baseline is crucial for setting benchmarking milestones, and those milestones are the basis for achieving real carbon reductions.

Gaining visibility into tenant emissions is a crucial prerequisite to achieving net zero emissions.

Talk to an expert to learn how Brightly Stream can help you achieve transparency and start your net zero journey today.