Stories of success


CBRE building photograph

Elite MemberHeadquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., CBRE is a global leader in real estate services and manages more than 3 billion square feet of commercial properties and corporate facilities worldwide. CBRE is proud to participate in the 15th anniversary celebration of ENERGY STAR certifications by achieving the highest accolade in the campaign as an Elite Member with 316 building labels. Since first developing CBRE’s sustainability program in 2006, ENERGY STAR has remained the operational framework for advancing energy efficiency practices in its managed portfolio. These efforts have produced powerful results in 2014, including:

  • 547 buildings that are certified, in process, or eligible to apply
  • 88 million kBtu energy use savings (or 4.7 billion kBtu cumulative savings since 2007!)
  • 16,500+ trained property professionals

In a very active property sales market, CBRE was still able to benchmark more than 225 million square feet of property. Of those, 58% achieved an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or greater. CBRE has consistently strived to make energy efficiency a standard component of its operating platform, and they routinely rely on their relationship with ENERGY STAR to transform the way buildings are built, sourced, managed, occupied and sold.

Stockton Unified School District

Stockton Unified School District school photo

Premier MemberEnergy costs were rising at Stockton Unified School District. The team there had always worked diligently to ensure its operational infrastructure was energy efficient. However, they knew that  knew that to really get control of rising costs, they had to change staff perceptions about energy use.

Led by energy specialists Monique Orr and Gilbert Rosa, the district took on a behavioral change management program. Since implementing the program, the district has seen an 18% reduction in energy use. Plus, virtually all its district buildings earned ENERGY STAR certification in 2014. But you won’t catch this district sitting on its laurels. They’re now starting the process of creating a Green Team of staff from across the district to continue to identify ways to save energy. “Conserving energy is no longer a task for us, it is part of what we do on a daily basis,” said Gina Hall, principal at Rio Calaveras Elementary School (pictured).

The City of Macon, Georgia

Georgia state rep. Nikki Randall, Steve O’Neil of Consensus Energy, Ray Segars of Consensus Energy, and Macon Mayor Robert Reich

ENERGY STAR certified buildings tend to get all the glory, but many types of buildings aren’t eligible. Take parking garages. They’re ubiquitous and many of them are outfitted with older lighting systems. Just because they can’t earn the ENERGY STAR (and can’t help their owners join the Certification Nation), doesn’t mean that they can’t pack a powerful one-two punch for the environment and the bottom line. For example, the City of Macon Georgia owns and operates a 50-year-old public parking deck that had old, inefficient high-pressure sodium lighting. In late 2013, Consensus Energy retrofitted this lighting system with high efficiency T8 and LED lights with motion and daylight controls.  This system lowered the City's energy consumption and cost by over 70 percent! The retrofit also improved the look of the facility and lowered maintenance cost, too. In this photo, Georgia state rep. Nikki Randall, Steve O’Neil of Consensus Energy, Ray Segars of Consensus Energy, and Macon Mayor Robert Reichart celebrate the project’s innovation award. Now the city has set its sights on other improvements to public buildings, with the hope of earning EPA’s ENERGY STAR in the process.

Principal Real Estate Investors

Executive Member BadgeWhen Principal Real Estate Investors became an ENERGY STAR Partner in 2009, many viewed it as a natural extension of the company's focus on sound

property operations. However, the team at Principal Real Estate Investors saw a greater opportunity to cultivate a competitive advantage and create value for clients and investors. In short order, they signed on to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (UN PRI), oversaw the launch of the first closed-end "green" value-add strategy, and ramped up sustainability efforts across its investor-owned properties.

Now formalized under the Pillars of Responsible Property Investing initiative, Principal Real Estate Investors has a unique platform to guide its property management partners and internal staff on strategic energy efficiency efforts. "The key to this platform is what we call 'Property Performance'," notes Jennifer McConkey, Director of Operations & Sustainability at Principal Real Estate Investors. "It's the daily pursuit of improved financial and environmental performance at each of our properties, and leveraging those accomplishments to better serve our tenants, communities, and investors."

The results are showing already. To date, Principal Real Estate Investors' portfolio has over 50 ENERGY STAR certified buildings, with a 10% reduction in energy consumption and a cumulative savings of over $16 million over the past few years. The Principal Real Estate Investors team recently piloted two new initiatives as part of improving property performance, including a lighting retrofit campaign in Texas that is changing over 4,400 exterior lights, and a property assessment pilot program to identify high-impact energy-savings opportunities across 35 properties. Both of these programs are expected to reap an additional $2.5 million dollars in annual energy savings upon completion. "We're just beginning to hit our stride, and we can expect even greater success with these programs in the years to come," adds Jennifer.


TIAA-CREF Building

Premier MemberTIAA-CREF has long believed that energy management acts as a proxy for and a driver of real estate investment performance.  A long-time ENERGY STAR

Partner, TIAA-CREF has the big numbers to back up that belief. They’ve saved more than $75 million in energy and water costs, certified over 18 million square feet of office space as ENERGY STAR, reduced portfolio-wide energy consumption by nearly 20%, and avoided more than 400,000 MtCO2e. And in recognition of those accomplishments, TIAA-CREF has earned the prestigious ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year awards for energy management in 2008 and 2009, as well as ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence awards in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

But they haven't stopped to rest on their laurels. Understanding that energy efficiency results from continuous improvement, the TIAA-CREF team has established internal management processes, business decision-making criteria, and standard operating procedures to ensure improvement every year.

Nick Stolatis, Senior Director of Global Sustainability & Enterprise Initiatives, notes: "We take our fiduciary responsibility to our investors very seriously, and saving energy and cultivating more competitive and valuable buildings helps us fulfill those obligations."

Brazosport Independent School District

Premier MemberBrazosport schools were facing serious financial issues in 2011. The district, just outside of Houston, Texas, knew that reducing the $4 million spent annually on energy costs

could be part of the solution. Understanding that both the equipment in the building and the people using it contribute to the overall energy use, the district decided to use a one-two punch. It hired Cenergistic to undertake an energy conservation program to ensure that its energy infrastructure was operating at optimal efficiency and to teach staff to use energy more efficiently. And it hired Schneider Electric to install new, energy-efficient equipment.

They've achieved knockout results: Energy costs have been reduced by more than 40% and, for the first time, 15 district buildings earned the ENERGY STAR in 2014. Best of all, the district was able to use the money it saved on energy bills to provide teachers with a 4% raise. Now that’s something to cheer about.

Prince William County Schools

Premier MemberPrince William County Schools educates more than 85,000 students in more than 90 school buildings in Virginia. With such a big portfolio, the district knew that managing its energy use was critical. So school leaders embarked on a program to reduce their energy use. Their plan involved administrators, teachers, and students, and it was a huge success. The energy conservation program, put in place with Cenergistic, is now paying off for local taxpayers as the school district expects to save $8 million on energy costs over the next three years by reducing energy use that will be the equivalent of taking thousands of cars off the road. "That's the kind of result we owe our community and the kind of example we are proud to set for our students," said Deputy Superintendent Rae Darlington. Congratulations to Prince William County Schools on becoming a Premier Member of Certification Nation!

Nebo School District

Premier MemberWith rising energy costs the second-largest line item in its budget, the Nebo School District knew it needed to take action. The district joined forces with ENERGY STAR Service and Product Provider, Cenergistic, to undertake an energy conservation program. So far, it has resulted in a tremendous reduction in energy use and has led to 39 of the district’s buildings earning ENERGY STAR certification in 2014---the most of any school district in Utah. “Our energy conservation efforts are saving taxpayer dollars while also helping to protect our local environment,” said School District Superintendent Rick Nielsen. Added Park Elementary School principal Ryan Kay, “We have all gained a real sense of accomplishment from this ENERGY STAR recognition. Our students are learning, too, what it means to preserve precious natural resources.”

Meet the first ENERGY STAR certified building!

Ridgehaven Building
The City of San Diego's Ridgehaven Building was the first to earn the ENERGY STAR, in 1999.

Back in 1999, the City of San Diego's Environmental Services Department wanted to prove something. Three years earlier, they had renovated the 73,700-square-foot Ridgehaven building with the intent to make it a green building. The catch? They had to do it within municipal guidelines and a municipal budget.

Still, they forged ahead, partnering with their local utility and two other organizations who provided financial incentives. Manufacturers of selected products donated or gave the building discounts in exchange for being showcased in educational exhibits on the building's first floor. With the work complete, they now just needed a way to measure their energy performance and demonstrate that they had succeeded in turning Ridgehaven into a green building.

As luck would have it, all the way on the other side of the country in Washington, DC, EPA had just debuted its ENERGY STAR certification for commercial buildings. The Ridgehaven building just needed an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher to qualify. It scored a 90. The rest, as they say, is history. The Ridgehaven building became the very first commercial building to earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR.

A lot can happen in 15 years, though. Luckily, the building team knew better than to sit on their laurels. This year, the building earned the ENERGY STAR with a score of 92. How have they maintained this top performance over the years? The team attributes it to ongoing facility improvements as well as good operations and maintenance. Their O&M efforts focus mainly on the building’s 55KW onsite solar system, interior and exterior lighting, low flow faucets and toilets, water source heat pumps and cooling towers, 2013 cool roof installation, Xeriscape landscaping, and many other programs.
Hats off to the City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department for keeping the very first ENERGY STAR certified building going strong after 15 years!

Baldwin County Public Schools

Premier MemberWhen Baldwin County Public Schools teamed with Cenergistic to reduce its energy use, little did it realize how quickly it would become a recognized leader in energy conservation within its state. The school district this year has earned ENERGY STAR certification for 26 buildings, the most ever certified by an organization or business in Alabama.
In the first year of the district’s energy conservation program, it experienced a 30% decrease in energy consumption. The hard work by school administrators to save energy paid off when they were able to reallocate more than $2 million in district funding back to the schools and to help fund much needed maintenance projects.  It was a clear demonstration that the district was on its way to achieving its goal of creating a sustainable culture of energy conservation that would benefit students and taxpayers.

Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL)

Executive Member BadgeJones Lang LaSalle (JLL) recognizes the value of a smart investment – whether it’s in commercial properties, or in long-term energy savings and building a better future for all of us!

That’s why JLL has benchmarked virtually all of its eligible properties in Portfolio Manager, reached an average ENERGY STAR of 76, and certified more than 50 buildings in 2014.

Robert Best, Executive Vice President of Energy and Sustainability Services at JLL, oversees energy efficiency efforts across the company’s 2.6 billion-square-foot global portfolio.

Bob is always on the lookout for new ways to improve energy efficiency – from riding his bike to work every day, to entering 26 buildings into EPA’s National Building Competition, to implementing major energy retrofits in the ENERGY STAR certified Empire State Building.

In fact, since 2007, JLL has saved its clients more than $2.5 billion in energy costs through energy-efficient management of their buildings.

Congratulations to Bob and his colleagues on making JLL an Executive Member of the Certification Nation in 2014!

Loudoun County Public Schools

Loudoun County School students
Loudoun County students learn about why energy-efficient lighting matters in their schools.

Premier MemberAsk energy managers Mike Barancewicz and John Lord why energy efficiency is so important at Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) – and they’ll tell you that healthy, safe, and sustainable schools are essential for a successful learning environment.

This dynamic duo knows that every dollar saved through energy efficiency can go to a much better cause – teaching kids!

That’s why LCPS has worked with ENERGY STAR to save more than $54 million and prevent the emissions equivalent to removing 52,000 cars from the road for a year.

What’s even more exciting? LCPS is educating its students in the principles of environmental protection and energy conservation – supporting a new generation of environmental leaders!

Hillsborough County Government

Certification Nation Hillsborough County Government building
The Fredrick B. Karl County Center was one of Hillsborough County Government's six buildings to earn the ENERGY STAR in 2014!

Member Badge

In the Sunshine State, the future is looking bright for Hillsborough County Government. Hillsborough County has been utilizing ENERGY STAR criteria to help make major strides for a more efficient and sustainable future for the community.

From the use of recycled materials for building construction, to solar panels on County facilities, and competing as a team in the EPA’s 2014 National Building Competition, the local commitment to sustainability can be seen throughout the County.  These efforts have had impressive rewards: Hillsborough County saves more than $3.4 million each year through energy conservation and efficiency.  The County has earned the ENERGY STAR for six of its facilities in 2014 - and with 155 facilities benchmarked in Portfolio Manager out of 300, the sky's the limit on future certifications!

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