Partner Engineering and Science: Navigating environmental challenges and sustainability in Texas CRE

The commercial real estate industry in Texas faces a unique set of environmental challenges and opportunities. Partner Engineering and Science, Inc., a leading environmental services firm, is at the forefront of helping clients navigate these complexities. With a focus on due diligence, innovative solutions and sustainability strategies, Partner empowers Texas CRE investors and developers to make informed decisions and future-proof their projects.
“One major issue is the potential wave of distressed assets due to factors such as declining property values in various sectors, stagnant rent growth, higher interest rates and a tight credit market,” said Summer Gell, a principal at Partner and an environmental science expert. “As a result, many investors have been focusing on property maintenance due diligence such as asbestos and mold, to carefully consider measures to avoid liabilities and reduce losses on distressed assets.”
Another emerging challenge is perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent classification of PFAS as hazardous substances necessitates its inclusion in Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs). “Partner has been preparing for the implications of the new PFAS regulation, integrating this into the firm’s due diligence processes,” Gell said. “This includes offering specialized guidance and support to commercial real estate investors in Texas on how to navigate the challenges presented by the new EPA regulation and its impact on property investments.”
Innovation is also a hallmark of Partner’s approach. Gell pointed to the growing adoption of vapor intrusion mitigation systems in Texas developments. These systems prevent hazardous vapors from entering buildings, safeguarding occupant health and facilitating smoother transactions. Partner leverages risk assessments aligned with ASTM standards to identify potential vapor concerns and recommend mitigation measures.
“Incorporating vapor intrusion mitigation barriers during construction can significantly benefit commercial properties by mitigating potential health risks and enhancing the property’s marketability,” Gell said. “These measures can also minimize liability for property owners and increase the overall value of the building. This proactive approach to environmental challenges demonstrates how innovative solutions can be successfully integrated into commercial real estate projects.” Sustainability is another critical area where Partner guides Texas CRE stakeholders, helping them minimize both financial and physical risks. Partner advocates for setting clear decarbonization goals using frameworks like the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) Pathway.
“By adopting sustainable measures, CRE investors and owners can futureproof their assets and enhance the long-term value of their investments,” Gell said. “By focusing on sustainability, developers and investors not only align with global trends but also contribute to the overall resilience and success of their commercial real estate projects.” The future of Texas CRE looks increasingly electric, Gell added, noting the growing shift to electric vehicles, which necessitates incorporating EV charging stations into properties. Partner recognizes this trend and its alignment with environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.