What will it take for all buildings in the United States to be affordable, low-emission, healthy, and resilient?
The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) bridges the intersection of business, government, and community priorities to spotlight business practices and advance public policy to improve U.S. buildings.
We Believe in the Power of Buildings to Improve Lives
A trusted, non-partisan nonprofit organization, IMT works to ensure that everyone in the U.S. benefits from high-performing buildings in all facets of their lives. We do this by co-creating and deploying regulation and better business practices to drive widespread market action toward improving how we collectively build, design, and operate the spaces where people live, work, learn connect, and play. If we are successful, all buildings, as a standard practice, will improve people’s physical, social, and economic well-being. What does this vision look like?
The real estate sector can play a critcal role in accelerating the transformation of the U.S. economy. By 2030, we envision a transformed industry where new forms of real estate development that prioritize local wealth and community abound, and American families will be building household wealth by building community wealth and stability via emerging real estate investing mechanisms. By 2030, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing frameworks will evolve to effectively value the quality of employment that companies provide, which will produce more competition around benefits, wages, and other aspects of employee economic health. These changes will mean that real estate (throughout the industry and at its leadership level) will be as diverse as the American population, that women and men are paid equally for equal work, and that the ownership of real estate is equally diverse.
According to the UN Environment Programme, buildings must decarbonize fully by 2050, and largely by 2030. We envision that by 2030, all new construction will be capable of operating with zero carbon emissions. We envision that embodied carbon accounting and policy will have shifted the market for building materials towards low- and no-carbon components. Companies (including architecture, engineering, and construction firms, real estate companies, corporate tenants, and others) will report their carbon emissions through significantly simpler business processes and be appropriately measured and regulated on those emissions. These changes will have created millions of new good-paying jobs, creating a new generation of building stewards to ensure that buildings use energy resources wisely over time.
Buildings and the business of real estate have a significant impact on the lives of Americans every day. These impacts are felt acutely during climate-related weather disasters such as the winter storms in Texas in early 2021 and the record-shattering heat wave in the Pacific Northwest in late June 2021. They are felt through the higher energy bills that moderate- and low-income households (many of them primarily in communities of color) pay compared to white households. And they are felt through the legacy of decades of racist zoning policies, such as redlining, that have led to unequal access to services and opportunities. However, we believe that real estate business practices can lead the way to a more just future.
We envision that by 2030, every American will have safe and healthy housing, schools, workplaces, and community structures. And not only will buildings be better, but also the industries around them will be better: the manufacturing of building materials will create jobs that are equally accessible to all people.
We envision a world where our buildings actively improve health. By 2030, the real estate industry will embrace the active management of health as a part of its core responsibility, and a set of new practices will have emerged. Building managers will use expertise, technology, and innovation to manage the day-to-day health of buildings. The quality of indoor space will be regularly monitored and managed and buildings will sustain health in other ways that are not captured by data, such as in their design. The health impact factors of a building will be transparently disclosed during rental and sale transactions, leading to a more accurate valuation of buildings.
By 2030, communities all over the U.S. will have a robust network of buildings that are equipped to sustain communities during utility outages and as a part of a decentralized energy system that goes well beyond a centralized utility grid. These buildings will often (but not always) be public buildings such as schools, and they will be a place for shelter, electricity, water, warmth and cooling, and healthcare for those in need. They will be reliable centers for these services because they will be equipped with water storage, energy storage, energy generation, and food and healthcare supply storage.
Buildings with surplus stored energy will be able to interact with local microgrids to transmit power to neighboring buildings that need it. In order for these interconnections to function, the people—not just the buildings—will be connected, and that means that building owners and managers will be a part of emergency response networks and members of local government-led and community-led groups.
How We Transform Buildings
|We offer expertise and hands-on assistance in building performance-focused policy and program design and implementation for governments, real estate, and communities.|
|We raise the baseline expectations for building performance via energy code development and adoption.|
|We actively seek out community-based partners to create inclusive policy, support programs, and real estate practices that boost community-wide economic opportunities.|
|We make it easier for real estate owners and tenants to improve their buildings and business relationships to make more informed decisions and comply with current and potential legislation.|
|We pilot promising technologies and business practices that could dramatically reduce building energy use and increase health and wellness and resilience.|
|We publish market insights to increase demand for better buildings and adoption of the policies, tools, and practices that can meet this demand.|
IMT’s work on energy policy and market solutions has earned us the trust of leading business associations, real estate decision-makers, and policymakers. Policies and practices that IMT has helped design or implement now touch more than 10 billion square feet of commercial and multifamily space across the United States. Additionally, IMT is a two-time recipient of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award and a 2021 recipient of the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence award, recognizing our energy policy leadership and impact.