Building Operating Management

Shorenstein Properties Works Toward Comprehensive Energy Management Practices

Building momentum in the virtuous cycle of organizational energy efficiency requires persistent, well-targeted effort. Shorenstein Properties is one company making progress toward comprehensive, self-reinforcing energy management practices.

Shorenstein Properties is a real estate company that owns more than 23 million square feet of commercial building space across the United States. The company has participated in EDF Climate Corps, a fellowship program that places graduate students in leading companies, cities, and universities to develop energy efficiency plans, since 2009.

In 2010, Shorenstein's engineering managers completed an "energy savings tour," a survey of energy projects across their portfolio of commercial buildings. As part of the tour, the engineering managers spent three months visiting all properties in the portfolio. They walked through each building with the chief engineer and property manager to inventory and prioritize efficiency projects. From this tour, they identified more than 300 energy-saving strategies — some big, some small — in almost every building system category. These included everything from building management system tuning opportunities to lighting retrofits to installing variable frequency drives on fans and pumps. At this time, the energy managers also set a goal to achieve 3.5 percent energy savings portfolio-wide.

Once all of the project opportunities had been identified, the projects were then prioritized by no-cost, low-cost, or capital cost. The no- and low-cost items were typically easy operational changes — low hanging fruit — and were implemented right away. The capital cost items were recommended for budget approval.

In 2011, Shorenstein wanted independent evaluation and verification of their actual savings and environmental impact from the projects implemented as a part of the energy savings tour. But there was a problem. This type of performance evaluation for corporate energy efficiency programs was uncharted territory.

For that reason, Shorenstein engaged EDF Climate Corps to adapt the methodology used for verification of utility-scale energy efficiency programs and confirm evaluation techniques.

Overall, this evaluation showed that the projects implemented from the energy savings tour reduced energy consumption by 5.1 percent across the entire commercial building portfolio, far exceeding their 3.5 percent energy savings goal. The evaluation also confirmed $1.7 million and 12.3 million kilowatt hours saved annually, as well as 4,800 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions avoided. The resulting savings was equivalent to taking more than 1,000 homes off the electric grid. The payback period for the program was just six months.

Virtuous Cycle of Organizational Energy Efficiency


Virtuous Cycle Stage

  Executive engagement Resource investment People and tools Actions and wins Results and stories
Cause of friction Diminishing attention Diminishing budget Diminishing capability Diminishing opportunity Diminishing bandwidth
How Shorenstein addressed the problem Public goals and verified success ensures top level buy-in Dedicated resources and time allocated to energy efficiency enables action Established evaluation and verification methods enable companies to identify success Inventorying the full set of potential projects identifies projects for now and the future Identifying and sharing results makes success visible to stakeholders
Other possible solutions Hiring a dedicated corporate energy manager ensures attention is maintained A dedicated energy efficiency fund and/or revolving loan fund ensure capital is always available Building energy performance into personnel evaluation and rewarding success motivates employees A real-time and up-to-date database of energy projects enables decision-makers to see available opportunities An energy scorecard identifies top performing projects while also revealing learning opportunities

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Shorenstein Properties Works Toward Comprehensive Energy Management Practices

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  posted on 4/8/2013   Article Use Policy

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