For the individuals at Trammell Crow Co., a Dallas-based provider of integrated, full-service property management services, making environmentally friendly decisions is just a part of smart operations and development.
“First and foremost, as an industry leader, it’s incumbent upon us to continue to show excellence in our concepts and delivery so that we can continue to maintain and demonstrate to our clients and to our users, that we are the developer of choice. And being responsive to all aspects of state-of-the-art design and concepting – including environmentally friendly practices – is essential to that,” says Robert R. Abberger, principal, Trammell Crow Co., Tampa, FL.
Abberger’s responsibilities, as one of the company’s 15 area directors, have him overseeing all Trammell Crow development activities in the state of Florida. Living in an area that averages summer temperatures of 90 degrees F. puts a burden on cooling systems and makes efficiency imperative. During the recent development of a Tampa hotel for Marriott, Abberger and his team found innovative ways to save the client money, maintain high levels of indoor air quality, and reduce the load of conditioning needed. Rather than letting the mechanical system vent air-conditioned air out of the facility (a process that increases air-conditioning requirements), a system was devised to capture the cooled air as it was exhausted, and then feed it back through the air-conditioning system. “There was a huge and significant reduction in our energy requirement as a result of our ability to recapture and recycle that cool air,” says Abberger. “It’s something you don’t normally think about, but is probably one of the most significant green practices that one can do in the state of Florida.”
Other innovative strategies developed by Trammell Crow’s Florida group include water conservation initiatives, such as capturing the water collected from dehumidification. “An office tower can generate tens of thousands of gallons of water that are simply dumped into sewer systems. There is a wonderful opportunity to capture that water discharge and we’ve used it for irrigation,” Abberger concludes. Environmentally friendly ideas like these are operational strategies that are both green and lean. According to Abberger, “In some instances, it doesn’t cost you a dime.”
In looking at the initial costs of environmentally friendly design, Abberger stresses the importance of performing a life-cycle analysis. “By way of example, when you’re building a commercial building, it is cheaper to put air-conditioners on the roof in the short term. But in the longer term, it is more energy efficient and it is cheaper to, in fact, use cooling towers. So you always have to go through the cost benefit analysis in making those decisions,” advises Abberger.
With a vast network of building professionals just a few keystrokes away, the Trammell Crow Co. takes full advantage of sharing best practices company-wide. For a business that emphasizes the importance of excellence for its clients, it’s clear that environmentally friendly real estate is all about efficient operation, smart development, and responsible management.