In partnership with global real estate company Lendlease, Aware Super announced that its multifamily portfolio of urbanisation projects across the United States is officially verified as net zero.
Its six US properties can be found in major cities Boston and Chicago, with new projects in New York and Los Angeles under construction.
This net zero standard means not only offsetting the historic and current emissions in housing construction but also offsetting resident emissions to create carbon-neutral apartments for all individuals and families.
While carbon offsets will play a large role, Aware Super is also ensuring that the apartments themselves operate more efficiently, installing low carbon technologies such as solar and batteries into its properties.
“Lendlease and Aware Super share a philosophy that the built environment has immense capacity, and an obligation, for doing good,” Lendlease Americas CEO Denis Hickey said.
“When we formed our partnership in 2018, we sought to be a leader in responsible property investment and to create value for our investors and residents. We adopted an ‘efficiency first’ approach to managing our assets and drafted a decarbonisation strategy that can scale with the growth of the portfolio.”
Aware Super aims to hit net zero across all investments by 2050, while Lendlease is shooting for a 2040 goal.
The super fund has been tilting towards residential, with COVID-19 prompting the company’s shift away from a retail and office focus.
By establishing a net zero portfolio, the super fund believes support for environmental and social causes will attract more residents and improve long-term value and performance for its investments.
Back in February, it acquired a 25 per cent stake in Lendlease’s retirement villages, worth $460 million.
Affordable and secure retirement housing has become a particular interest in Australia, especially after the bushfires and COVID-19 raised serious safety concerns. Lendlease’s portfolio includes 75 retirement villages, home to 16,000 residents across the country.
The company also invested $450 million into “key worker affordable housing,” offering essential workers below the market rates for good quality apartments.
These build-to-rent apartments are offered at a 20 per cent discount to essential workers such as teachers, nurses and emergency service workers, who have become increasingly priced out of the urban centres in which they work.