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The Russ Building earns BOMA Innovative EARTH Award for Tenant Engagement Program
Bill Whitfield, The Russ Building’s General Manager, accepted the award at the April membership meeting of the San Francisco Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). Whitfield helped Shorenstein design the “I Will if You Will” Challenge and pilot tested it with two tenants in 2013. Challenge participants committed to shutting off computers, monitors, printers, coffee makers, and other office devices, which are commonly left on after business hours. Overall, pilot tests of the Challenge demonstrated average energy savings of 45% over baseline measurements.
The “I Will if You Will” Challenge provides building occupants with personalized information and feedback on the impact of their energy management actions. Property Managers offer a fun reward such as a gift card raffle or pizza party (the “I Will”) if participants commit to adopting energy saving strategies for their office devices (the “You Will”). Participants use modlets, made by ThinkEco Inc., to wirelessly transmit real-time office device energy use information to an online dashboard. The modlet, which earned a 2014 Top Product Award from Building Operations Management, is also able to save energy through an automated on/off schedule. “Shorenstein’
According to Whitfield, tenant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “Participants are very excited about the modlet technology and the opportunity to learn just how much energy their computers and other devices use – and how much can be saved,” he said. For the ClimateWorks Foundation, one of the Russ Building pilot tenants, the Challenge allowed them to quantify the impact of their existing energy management practices and identify additional savings opportunities.
Chaquita Perkins with ClimateWorks said, “We found that the break room coffee machine was using a lot of energy during nighttime hours and implemented a simple procedure for turning it off at the end of each day.” The new coffee machine shutoff procedure saves over 290 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually – equivalent to the carbon sequestered by six trees. As part of the Challenge, Chaquita also used a modlet for three months to monitor the energy consumption of her desktop PC, which goes to sleep automatically each night as part of the organization’
Shorenstein rolled out the Challenge company-wide in January and will engage 30 tenants representing nearly 1 million square feet of office space across Shorenstein’
“The Challenge personalizes sustainability for our tenants and sets up broader conversations about building energy efficiency and the environment,”
At the Russ Building, Whitfield’s property management team is redeploying the modlets to continue “I Will if You Will” with other interested tenants this year. “The modlets reveal energy savings potential that really gets tenants interested in taking action. We are finding that offering a reward often isn’t necessary because tenants are mainly excited about the opportunity to better understand their personal environmental impact,” he noted.
About Shorenstein Properties LLC
Founded in 1924, Shorenstein Properties LLC is a privately-owned real estate firm active nationally in the ownership and management of high-quality office properties, with offices in San Francisco and New York. Starting in 1992, Shorenstein has sponsored ten closed-end investment funds with total equity commitments of $6.7 billion, of which Shorenstein committed $573.5 million. Shorenstein uses its integrated investment and operating capabilities to take advantage of those opportunities which, at the particular time in the investment cycle, offer the most attractive risk-adjusted returns. Investments have included ground-up developments, asset repositionings and stabilized assets; investment structures have included asset acquisitions, mezzanine loans, preferred equity investments and structured joint ventures. These funds have invested in properties totaling 53.5 million square feet in transactions with a gross investment value in excess of $12.1 billion.