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ENERGY STAR Labeled Building Profile

1234 Market Street (SEPTA Headquarters)
1234 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
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SEPTA's Headquarters at 1234 Market Street in Center City Philadelphia is a 20-story commercial office building with administrative workspaces, corporate offices, data management centers, and retail concessionaires. The building, a 1972 vintage purchased by SEPTA in 1993, has represented an ongoing energy challenge for facility managers confronting the daily realities of a building constructed in an era of cheap energy prices and little regard for energy-efficient design. With a 2010 ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 90, it is clear that this daily challenge is one that building managers have embraced and are overcoming.

SEPTA initiated an aggressive schedule of energy efficiency retrofits almost immediately upon purchase of the building in 1993. Some investments were fundamental: three energy-efficient chillers, electronic controls, and a wholesale switch-out of T12 40W to T8 26W ballast lights brought the building up to the day's energy efficiency standards. Additional investments were made in covering single-pane windows with window film on the building's southern exposure, where solar gain challenges interior climate control. SEPTA also invested in a variable air volume (VAV) system to complement a constant velocity system and improve the efficiency of climate control on the building's outer edges.

Modifications continued upon SEPTA's occupancy in 1994. In 1998, SEPTA replaced its old control, energy-hogging elevators with new intelligent control, solid-state motors that improved service quality and saved over $100,000 per year in energy costs. In 2002, SEPTA instituted a new policy to run its energy-intensive escalators only on-demand. During this time, SEPTA also embarked on a 10-year program to replace all of the building's bathrooms with new energy- and water-efficient fixtures. Renovations were completed in 2008.

In 2005, SEPTA upgraded the original window films with the latest technology, which allows 20 percent less heat into the building from its southern exposure. That year, SEPTA also made two significant investments to the energy efficiency of the building's infrastructure: first, a new steam generator was purchased to provide the building with electric co-generation capacity when steam demand is high in the cold winter months; and second, white rubberized material was installed to cover the building's 31,360 square feet of black tar roof with a insulating reflective material.

More recently, SEPTA has begun to retrofit open and temporarily occupied office areas, including conference rooms, elevator lobbies, storage closets, and bathrooms with lighting occupancy sensors, and plans to extend the program to all public and private office areas in the coming years. SEPTA has also embarked in a pilot program to change out the now-aging T8 26W ballast lights with emerging LED technology.

But by many accounts, the most significant improvement in 1234 Market Street's energy performance came at no cost at all. In 2009, the building switched from nighttime to daytime cleaning, allowing building managers to shut down the building at 6 p.m., decreasing the running time of all non-essential building functions and appliances by 24 percent. This simple policy change helped reduce SEPTA's electricity bill at 1234 Market Street in fiscal year 2009.

Moving forward, maintaining 1234 Market Street's ENERGY STAR score will require continued investment. A number of inescapable energy challenges--namely, the operation of four 24-hour data centers and an inefficient two-pipe HVAC system--demand a proactive approach to energy innovation. SEPTA's building managers are up to the challenge, with a full slate of improvements that will improve energy performance and save money. Among conceptual plans are investments in solar and wind power technology to satisfy building demand with on-site renewable energy. SEPTA also plans to closely monitor its LED pilot project to evaluate the possibility of more widespread implementation.


SEPTA's 2010 ENERGY STAR for superior energy performance was celebrated at a press event involving the City of Philadelphia and EPA Region III office. The press event served as a platform for SEPTA to refresh its award-winning green awareness campaign with a more comprehensive sustainability program. The program seeks to incorporate environmentally sustainable behaviors into all aspects of the organization and to educate employees and customers on the importance of practicing energy efficiency behavior, both at home and at the office. Instilling a culture of energy efficiency at SEPTA will help to ensure that SEPTA's 2010 ENERGY STAR score is maintained for years to come.


"We continually strive to find new ways to reduce energy use by either replacing inefficient equipment or finding ways for existing equipment to run more efficiently. Through monthly monitoring, reporting, and comparisons to historical energy data, we strive to ensure that the 1234 Market Street Building runs at high efficiency and is eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR each year."

-- Dennis Ritchie, Building Manager, U.S. Equities Realty

Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.

Service Provider:
U.S. Equities Realty

Building Owner:*
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

Property Manager:*
The Flynn Company

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2010 (90)
2012 (92)
2013 (95)
2015 (75)

Facility Type: Office

Total Floorspace: 714190 sf

Year Constructed: 1973

Contract Type: Internal Resources
Financing Type: Internal Capital

Technologies Used:
   Stage 1-Recommissioning
   Stage 2-Lighting
   Stage 3-Load Reductions
   Stage 4-Fan Systems
   Stage 5-Heating and Cooling Plant
   Other Technologies/Strategies