Shorenstein Energy Plan Shows Value Of Focusing On How Business Decisions Are Made

By Jake Hiller and Chris Riso  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Reducing Energy Use: Five Steps Help Overcome BarriersPt. 2: Shorenstein Properties Works Toward Comprehensive Energy Management PracticesPt. 3: This Page

Measuring the impact of the energy savings tour reinforced the virtuous cycle, propelling it forward for another round at Shorenstein. Here are some specific examples of how the Shorenstein case study proves the virtuous cycle framework.

1. Executive Engagement. When a clearly defined goal is put into place, management will pay close attention to the efforts involved. In Shorenstein's case, the energy savings tour produced energy and financial savings that easily surpassed the goals set by energy managers. This resonated with Shorenstein's senior management and validated the notion that environmental and financial outcomes do align.

2. Resource Investment. The motivations of executives need to translate into resource provisions that support employees and reward them for identifying and implementing projects. For Shorenstein, energy managers were able to spend four months identifying energy efficiency opportunities at 33 of the company's properties. This investment in time and resources enabled Shorenstein to identify not only low-hanging fruit, but also a large portfolio of projects that can enable energy savings over the long term.

3. People. Hiring a dedicated corporate energy or sustainability manager ensures attention is maintained and focus is kept on energy saving opportunities. Shorenstein's experience with this project led to its decision to create the new role within the organization of sustainability program manager to increase productivity.

4. Identification, Implementation, and Measurement & Verification. The energy savings tour resulted in impressive savings, but it uncovered even greater opportunities for the future. The company is pursuing several strategies to enable deeper cuts to energy consumption. Specifically, Shorenstein is addressing the human aspects of energy use in buildings. In commercial offices, tenant behavior determines up to 70 percent of a building's energy use, so Shorenstein has launched its "Flip the Switch" tenant engagement program to catalyze tenant action on energy efficiency and environmental performance. The program combines an educational presentation series with a customized sustainability resources website for tenants.

5. Results and Stories. To demonstrate progress towards its energy savings goal, Shorenstein made the effort to quantify the success of its energy savings tour. In adapting an evaluation method for Shorenstein's specific needs, the EDF Climate Corps optimized the virtuous cycle of organizational energy efficiency and broke down internal barriers. In the future, this evaluation method will enable Shorenstein to know the effectiveness of its efforts and accurately communicate success. Furthermore, sharing its story will help Shorenstein to engage stakeholders within and external to the company, and once again affirm support from executive management.

Shorenstein's corporate energy efficiency program provides an innovative example of how companies are cashing in on sustainability strategies with positive economic and environmental impact. With its energy savings tour, efficient allocation of resources and a fresh new approach to measuring and verifying success, Shorenstein has established momentum in implementing its energy efficiency program. It takes investment in both time and resources, but optimizing the virtuous cycle of organizational energy efficiency can provide significant benefits for any company.

Jake Hiller is the project development analyst for corporate partnership programs of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). EDF has worked with hundreds of organizations across the nation to uncover energy savings for commercial buildings, finding an average of $1 million for each organization involved. Hiller works with a team to identify market opportunities, engage business leaders, and forge new corporate partnerships. He can be reached at jhiller@edf.org.

Chris Riso works with a team to run EDF's Climate Corps program. He can be reached at criso@edf.org.

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Reducing Energy Use: Five Steps Help Overcome Barriers

Shorenstein Properties Works Toward Comprehensive Energy Management Practices

Shorenstein Energy Plan Shows Value Of Focusing On How Business Decisions Are Made

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