With over 24 million square feet across the country, Shorenstein Properties is partnering with tenants to find shared energy efficiency. The real estate firm has rolled out a number of programs that encourage occupants to conserve power and prioritize sustainability, notes Jaxon Love, Sustainability Program Manager.
Watt Watchers is a friendly competition that launched this year. In order to support the Better Buildings 20% goal, individual facility teams are challenged to achieve as much energy savings below the previous year as possible. “Five properties have already realized over 4% improvement over 2014. It’s encouraging to see what the spirit of competition can do,” says Love.
One success story comes from 50 California Street, a 36-story office in San Francisco (pictured). While the building already has an ENERGY STAR score of 94 and LEED Gold certification, Property Manager Sheila Murphy and Chief Engineer Dennis Cornish continued to hunt for improvements. They upgraded to a direct digital control (DDC) system that controls the HVAC system at a more granular level. Once this retrofit was complete, a strategy was developed to control the 60-plus supply air return fans and automate them at an individual level. This functionality produced a 5.8% reduction over 2014 in the first six months of this year, notes Love.
The company also has a traveling Flip the Switch program, which provides tools, knowledge and technical support to help tenants improve their building’s energy efficiency by targeting plug loads. According to Shorenstein’s 2014 Sustainability Report, the tenant energy challenge “I Will if You Will” has saved an average of 27% from office equipment and computers.
Though facility executives are often engaged in friendly competition across the portfolio, they are also encouraged to share their best practices. “In 2010, we held an Energy World Tour where our engineering managers visited all of our properties to examine energy opportunities. The outcome of this idea exchange was $1.7 million in annual savings, which was 5% of our portfolio’s energy costs at the time and the equivalent of taking 1,000 homes off the grid,” Love says. “As part of our corporate efficiency strategy, we are replicating this event again this year.”