Building Out Space for Energy Efficiency

By Alyssa Quarforth  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: The Value of Energy Star to Green BuildingsPt. 2: Incorporating Energy Efficiency into LeasesPt. 3: This Page


When building out your office space or renovating the building, ensure that high-performance lighting and HVAC equipment is specified and that space is configured to take advantage of daylight. Be certain to pursue utility rebates and incentives for any energy-efficient equipment you purchase, starting by searching the DSIRE database.

Set a policy to purchase only ENERGY STAR-qualified office equipment, lighting and appliances, which are generally 25 to 60 percent more efficient than alternative products and do not typically cost more. Buy in bulk using ENERGY STAR Quantity Quotes to make these purchases even more cost-effective.

Take it a step further and consider making energy-efficient design a standard practice across your organization. “Implementing green measures across millions of square feet allows us to be consistent in our approach, which drives associate and customer satisfaction and shareholder value,” says Lisa Shpritz, business director of the Bank of America environmental risk and sustainability team.

Ensure that the design team is aware of your company’s energy performance objectives and that they understand their role in your success. Encourage them to follow integrated design principles, which are integral to achieving energy efficiency, whether you’re building out space within a building or your company is occupying an entirely new building. Share ENERGY STAR’s commercial building design resources with them.

Optimizing Efficiency

The move-in does not mark the end of the energy-efficiency conversation. Maintain performance via day-to-day operations, employee behavior and purchasing decisions.

Just as you encouraged the building owner to partner with ENERGY STAR, urge your organization’s executives to do the same and create an energy management strategy using the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management. Energy management often involves working directly with the building owner and requires commitment and coordination from different divisions within your company, so it’s important that this initiative be directed from the highest levels. To help convince senior management of the importance of energy, share key value messages about how much you can enhance the bottom line. (See “Impacts of Energy Efficiency” on page 44.)

Next, build awareness among employees. Employees have their fingers on the controls of energy-consuming office equipment, lights, air conditioning and heat, whether directly or indirectly. Distribute e-newsletters, post flyers and hold educational sessions to promote energy efficient practices. Use ENERGY STAR communications templates as a starting point — for example, the sample newsletter text, fact sheets, and brochures in the Challenge Toolkit, and the posters, tip cards and interactive online tool offered by Bring Your Green to Work.

With these resources, your organization can be on its way to occupying energy efficient office space. You should see tangible benefits in the form of reduced energy bills and enhanced profitability, along with corporate social responsibility benefits associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


For details on studies of attitudes toward corporate environmental responsibility, see the 2008 Energy Pulse by the Shelton Group and the Tandberg/IPSOS Mori survey, “Corporate Environmental Behavior and Impact on Brand Values.”

When planning energy-efficient build-outs of leased space, check out the Tenant Improvement Guide from the city of Portland, Ore. and the LEED for Commercial Interiors rating system

Click here for more on the BOMA 7 Point Challenge.

For information on utility rebates and incentives for energy-efficient equipment, search the DSIRE database.


Alyssa Quarforth is the ENERGY STAR program manager for commercial properties with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Continue Reading: Leased Space or Owner Occupied? Look to Energy Star

The Value of Energy Star to Green Buildings

Incorporating Energy Efficiency into Leases

Building Out Space for Energy Efficiency

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  posted on 9/3/2009   Article Use Policy

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