By Ron Wilkinson
The numbers tell the story for Glenborough, LLC, a full service real estate investment and management company that is undertaking extensive energy efficiency efforts. Ninety-five percent of its buildings either qualify for, or have received, the Energy Star label. The average score for the portfolio is 84 on a scale of 100, with Glenborough recognized as an Energy Star 2012 Top Performer. One of their buildings, the Aventine, has an energy use intensity of just 23 kBtu/s.f./yr. It is one of the few buildings in the world to have an Energy Star rating of 100.
To achieve that performance, Glenborough has used a structured approach to energy-saving measures — an approach that is now driving ongoing improvements at the firm's headquarters, the 400 South El Camino Real Building in San Mateo, Calif.
The first step in Glenborough's effort is benchmarking. "Glenborough was an early leader and partner with Energy Star," says Carlos Santamaria, vice president of engineering services. In 2004, Glenborough was one of a handful of organizations recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as having 100 percent of its portfolio of more than 50 buildings benchmarked with Energy Star. Following benchmarking, energy efficiency goals are set.
To implement energy efficiency measures, Glenborough uses a "go-to" list of strategic partners. These are suppliers who are experts in chosen technologies and who offer engineering, consulting and equipment that lead to immediate, proven savings. By building these relationships, the company leverages its buying power and focuses on developing skills and communications with the best in the business, without further trial and error. Glenborough knows that, if problems arise, they will get answers and solutions fast.
Once the strategic partners and in-house energy teams have identified proven technologies, this benefit is scaled up across all company holdings to reap the highest benefits. This encourages an environment of continuous improvement and continues education within the facility management divisions.
Glenborough's communication efforts go beyond its own workforce. The firm builds its reputation as an industry leader by publicizing successes and lessons learned. For example, Santamaria holds the positions of vice chair of energy and environment with BOMA International and director and energy chair of BOMA California. He's also a steering committee member with the DOE Commercial Building Energy Alliance. "We are committed to not only reducing energy costs, but spreading the word about energy efficiency throughout the industry," says Santamaria.
Efforts like those not only let the world know that Glenborough cares, but also create a ground wave of public relations benefits that streamline future building and renovation permits and bring the best talent to his facility and other corporate holdings nationwide. As Santamaria says, "If you want to attract the best, you have to be the best."