Last year we saw a steep increase in Data Partner subscriptions across the different regions. We are content with this development as it shows that the market is moving towards automating the GRESB reporting process. This also means that the current GRESB Data Partner universe is on different levels of integration which will affect how you will deal with the 2021 Asset Portal changes.
2021 Asset Portal Changes
After many changes in 2020 to facilitate the component split in the assessment and mandatory asset-level reporting, 2021 will be a year of stabilization. Therefore the changes listed below serve the purpose of fortifying the current implementation, instead of adding any additional new features or introducing structural changes. For many of you this will be a welcoming change after a hectic 2020. The changes listed below are categorized by processing step in the data pipeline.
Input (API, Excel parser)
- Import null as false for boolean fields: due to allowance of null status some of the validation rules were not triggered. This caused unexpected behavior. As a default behavior we will therefore convert null to false for boolean fields.
- Improved check on duplicate assets: the user will be warned after an Excel spreadsheet upload on the presence of duplicate assets by name. This change will not apply to the API.
- Add new certification schemes to the Asset Spreadsheet: based on requests we will add a new batch of certification schemes to the list in the Asset Spreadsheet. New schemes are automatically added to the API endpoint.
- Change the label header of Asset Size to Asset Size (GFA): this is to emphasize the reporting of Gross Floor Area (GFA) rather than Net Lettable Area (NLA).
- Increment the reporting years: the Asset Spreadsheet will be updated to reflect the current reporting year [2019, 2020]. This also includes updating date fields (i.e. Project started). The payload request examples in the API documentation will also be updated. The API itself does automatically accept the new reporting years.
- Add stricter validation between presence of performance data + operational/ownership status: when the user fills in previous-year performance data, trigger validation in the reporting characteristics. Currently all previous-year data with missing reporting characteristics is skipped in aggregation. This caused undesired behavior (excluding data) for some participants.
- Add validation on the property type: property type sectors (i.e. Office) are accepted as they match entries in our database. Validation will be set to only accept sub-property types.
- Add stricter validation on renewable energy + recycled water fields: the total amount of consumed and/or purchased renewable energy and recycled water will be restricted to less than or equal to the total energy/water consumption. (This check will exclude generated and exported renewable energy).
Front-end (Data editor)
- Add a change log: if any changes need to be made during the reporting period they will be published in the Asset Portal. Changes will only be made when an implementation is breaking the reporting process.
- Add a tick box confirmation on the aggregation page: users need to confirm accuracy and that values are not estimated, with the exception of Appendix 7 from the Real Estate Reference Guide.
- Add text to include the specific indicators that get updated per aggregation option: to clearly set expectations on the outcome of an aggregation option.
- Add dynamic text to inform the user that after making changes in the Asset Portal values have to be aggregated: this is currently only displayed on the submission page in the assessment and will be added to the Asset Portal UI.
- Further improve the grayed-out fields in the editor: this will make it clearer to the user which fields are required and which fields are ignored for different types of assets.
- Make it more obvious when spreadsheet upload/export/aggregation is completed: currently the user is only notified of a successful export. A UI element will be used to show progress and completion status.
- Add text to clarify that with a new data upload all outlier explanations disappear: currently an asset spreadsheet upload resets all outlier explanations from the UI. In the API this only applies to assets which have their data updated.
- Change like-for-like condition from only requiring data coverage to also check for presence of consumption data: currently the aggregation logic only checks for consistent data coverage. An additional check on presence of consumption will prevent the aggregation of data coverage to the portfolio without consumption.
- Set nulls to 0s in some instances: if all assets are flagged as outliers then the aggregated values (i.e. coverage) displays a null on the portfolio level. This might be misleading in some instances and should display a zero.
- Stop filtering out exported renewable energy when consumption is 0: currently values reported for exported renewable energy are excluded when the asset has no energy consumption. An asset should always be able to report generated renewable energy that it exported, even if it consumes none.
The following items will be addressed before the assessment opening and might be of interest towards serving your customers. First, the most relevant indicators of the Resilience module will be integrated into the main assessment for both Real Estate and Infrastructure Asset. This won’t have any affect on the asset-level reporting but might incentivize the data collection for the Resilience indicators. Second, we will add a Development component to the Infrastructure Asset assessment to align both business lines. Lastly, we will work in parallel on the migration of our aggregation queries. The main reason is that the maintenance on the aggregation queries is costly and hard to debug. Migrating the functionality to a more functional oriented programming language will help us lower risk and allow us to react more quickly on any potential issues.
2021 will be a year of closer communication with our Data Partner community and a year in which we will look for partnerships to release commonly shared features and products. On a high-level this entails meetings with Data Partners in the different regions to discuss:
- GRESB Tech/Product updates
- Short and long-term roadmap items
- An update on partnerships agreements (i.e. Climate Risk platform with Munich Re)
- Q&A, issues, comments
Historically the newsletter for Data Partners was solely focused on the Asset Portal changes for the coming year. Going forward we will engage with our Data Partners in a much broader sense to receive your feedback much earlier in the process.
In preparation for the 2021 assessment cycle, the GRESB team will publish the 2021 GRESB Asset Spreadsheet and officially open the Asset Portal on March 1 with the aforementioned changes. We hope this will give you ample time to make any necessary changes to your application.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach-out to the GRESB team via the contact form. If you have any questions regarding the Asset Portal changes or technical specifications for the API you may contact me directly or make an appointment.
Joey and the whole GRESB Team