Leveraging Competition to Boost Energy Efficiency: Beacon Capital Partners and Environmental Resources Management
Beacon Capital Partners wanted to promote energy conservation in space not controlled by the landlord.
Environmental Resources Management wanted to engage employees in advancing corporate sustainability and energy conservation goals.
One Beacon Street, Boston, MA
Modified Gross (Tenants are billed by landlord for actual energy use)
Beacon Capital Partners, a private real estate investment firm, has a long history of promoting energy conservation and sustainability throughout its properties. Providing high-quality office space in major U.S. markets, the company has historically focused energy-efficiency efforts on landlord-controlled equipment and systems. Understanding that many of its tenants had public and personal commitments to sustainability and environmental issues, Al Scaramelli, Managing Director and head of Beacon Capital’s sustainability and energy program, decided to leverage the Beacon Capital tenants’ competitive spirit to promote energy efficiency.
Scaramelli organized a race for the Energy “STAR” Cup competition among four major tenants in the One Beacon Street building in Boston, where electricity use is sub-metered, and the tenants pay for actual electricity used within their space. After establishing a baseline of electricity consumption for each participant, Beacon Capital encouraged tenants to see how much they could reduce usage over a 4-week period.
To help the tenants get started, the property team provided them with ENERGY STAR’s Bring Your Green to Work campaign toolkits for adopting proven practices to save energy, such as turning off lights that are not in use and shutting down computers at the end of the day. The property team kept the competitors motivated by displaying the tenants’ progress as a car race on a status board. Although motivated by potential savings, participants were driven primarily by their corporate missions and personal beliefs in supporting conservation efficiency and sustainability.
All of the competitors saved energy, but Environmental Resources Management (ERM) crossed the finish line with the greatest savings; Scaramelli and the property team recognized ERM with a catered breakfast and glass trophy. Despite starting at a lower energy per square foot baseline than the other competitors, ERM lowered consumption from its lighting and plug loads by an impressive 20%. Even better, the organization has been able to maintain a lower level of energy consumption since the competition ended. In fact, all of the contest participants are enjoying continued savings from competition-inspired, low-cost improvements, such as identifying and fixing malfunctioning occupancy sensors.
“ERM was very excited when Beacon Capital Partners proposed an energy competition… not only have we reduced our energy use, operating expenses, and emissions, we have also strengthened the relationship with our landlord and engaged our employees.”
– Matthew Yamatin, P.E., LEED AP Building Design and Construction, Project Manager, Environmental Resources Management
Through this engagement, Beacon Capital built a deeper relationship with its tenants. After the success of its first energy competition, Beacon Capital is ready to raise tenants’ awareness about the value of efficiency and sustainability throughout its other properties.
- Consider starting with the buildings, or the tenants within a building, who are most likely to be receptive to sustainability messaging, especially when leasing arrangements limit direct incentives for tenants to increase efficiency.
- Creating a tenant-based competition can be a great way to engage tenants; keeping the competition period short makes it easier to sustain motivation among tenants.
- Landlords: Taking advantage of opportunities for positive interaction with tenants around efficiency and sustainability may help retain tenants, as well as boost the environmental performance of the building.