IQHQ Releases Inaugural ESG Report Detailing Plans for Carbon Neutrality  

IQHQ, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Research and Development District, Elco Yards, Redwood City

By Catherine Sweeney

IQHQ, Inc., a sustainable life real estate development company for the life sciences sector, recently rolled out its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, outlining the company’s vision for its 10 million square-foot development portfolio. With its portfolio spanning the top life science markets across the globe, the report details policies as well as the company’s vision to shape the way life science assets are developed through building design, strong tenant relationships and more. 

IQHQ is a relatively new company, kicking off in 2019.  With properties in San Diego, San Francisco, Boston and Cambridge, U.K., the report shows the company’s intent to mitigate carbon emissions from its developments while also implementing stronger social responsibilities in the life science sector as a whole, said Jenny Whitson, IQHQ’s director of sustainability & ESG. 

“In 2021, we rolled out a number of environmental, social and governance policies. I really felt that that was the most pressing need because we were such a young company,” Whitson said. “…We rolled out a lot of environmental policies to focus on, not only on our development side, but also our internal operations on the development side. We had a sustainable design and construction standards document as part of that policy for all of our development projects and partner design teams to follow, which gives them a nice road map to to easily digest at the start of a project… That helps us set a standard across our company and what he should be doing because they’re all different and they’re all scattered across the country.” 

More specifically, the report provides a blueprint for creating sustainable developments. developments. Currently, the company is trying to achieve its goal for carbon neutrality. To do this, the company is looking to reduce fossil fuel building sources and prioritize renewable energy. The report also notes the company’s intent to prioritize solar roof panels, drought-resistant landscaping, the lowering of water and energy consumption as well as several other priorities. Additionally, IQHQ buildings will integrate extensive outdoor spaces, including exterior collaboration space to provide tenants with access to daylight and fresh air.

These building features can already be seen in some of the company’s current developments. In the Bay Area, one recent project includes the company’s Elco Yards District in Redwood City. Once completed the mixed-use life science district will total 600,000 square feet and also contain two residential buildings with 548 units. While looking to implement sustainable features, all buildings will be LEED gold certified and include more than an acre of public outdoor space as well as flexible open space for tenants to use. 

Additionally, the company is working to complete its Research and Development District (RaDD) in San Diego, an eight acre life sciences development located along the city’s waterfront. As well as its San Francisco project, the RaDD development will employ a mix of sustainable strategies, including the use of electrochromic glass to reduce glare and solar heat gain, renewable energy, reducing water consumption through low-flow plumbing and drought-tolerant landscaping and more.

“We rolled out a number of policies to address the different reporting mechanisms, the due diligence process that we have. When we do oppositions, we have an ESG checklist as an example of one of those things that’s embedded in that policy. So, all of these tools were basically rolled out in order for us to move into immediately. I think it gives a little bit of flexibility there for setting some goals and baselines for 2021, but also what we should be working towards in 2022 and beyond. We really wanted to embed that into our DNA on one project in San Diego, for the Research and Development District,” Whitson said. 

However, Whitson explained that developing sustainable spaces continues far beyond the end of construction. According to the report, part of the planned ESG principles is to design spaces with the goal of collaborating with tenants to find spaces that fit a specific company’s needs. 

IQHQ is also in the process of rolling out a tenant experience platform. ​​Through a collaboration with CBRE, the company will soon be implementing technology for easier feedback. Technology is also utilized throughout the design of IQHQ’s buildings, through its amenities, collaborative work tools and more. 

“We’re truly trying to develop what the future of life science looks like down to how a smart building actually is smart… we really want that to be a truly unique experience, and I think [tenants] are also looking at landlords and building owners to help them achieve their carbon production goals and all their energy efficiency targets. We are fully expecting them to ask us for data or ask us for that information and vice versa. We’ll be sharing our data, but we also expect them to share their data. It is a collaborative experience between landlords and tenants to be able to all collectively achieve those goals because we can’t without each other,” Whitson said. 

While creating collaborative tenant spaces, Whitson also noted the importance of creating spaces that serve the larger community. Through the implementation of community engagement strategies, the report shows IQHQ’s goals of hosting community meetings for feedback,  providing accurate and timely news about developments and engaging with local organizations to bring awareness to future development projects. 

In upholding its goals, the report states IQHQ will continue to provide updated information about its upcoming developments in general. As most of the company’s portfolio remains under development, the company will provide a 2022 ESG report next year that will track building performance metrics. In understanding portfolio-wide building performance, the company aims to implement carbon neutrality in the next several years.