Make Energy Efficiency Fun

By on Oct 25, 2019 in Energy

Commercial building owners and managers, especially those equipped with the Yardi Pulse Suite, can lead the way in optimizing energy consumption. But with tenants accounting for as much as 80% of the energy used in office buildings, energy efficiency requires nothing less than a full team effort.

ENERGY STAR® suggests making the quest for energy efficiency collaborative, stimulating, rewarding and—last but certainly not least—fun for tenants. Advice in the program’s “8 Great Strategies to Engage Tenants on Energy Efficiency” guidebook from 2016 includes:

  • Be transparent and open with timely information. That includes sharing energy efficiency goals, building energy use data and ENERGY STAR scores. Vornado Realty Trust, for example, launched an energy information portal that enables submetered tenants to access their energy usage profile and data. JLL publishes an annual building environmental report while Wells Real Estate displays ENERGY STAR scorecards that report progress toward sustainability goals.
  • Leverage the ENERGY STAR brand, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says is recognized by 80% of Americans. The program’s resources include tip sheets, interactive tools and other guidance for inspiring tenants to provide energy consumption information. Beacon Capital Partners Inc. and Cushman & Wakefield are among the property managers that apply ENERGY STAR branding to its posters and other materials. ENERGY STAR also offers opportunities for positive visibility through certifications, competitions and other recognition.
  • Educate tenants on their energy use and impacts and help them identify opportunities for improvement. Examples among industry leaders include CBRE, which sends letters rich with energy-saving tips; Beacon Capital, which hosts a plug load educational program; and Liberty Property Trust, which created a green guide web portal. Meanwhile, Cushman & Wakefield offers tenants a green office tool kit, Bentall Kennedy distributes a sustainable tenant improvement manual and JLL sponsors a “go green” tenant sustainability assessment.
  • Empower tenants with an active role in improving building efficiency. This can include collectively establishing performance goals and creating joint councils and forums for presenting new ideas. “By accepting feedback, we not only create a relationship which allows for higher buy-in from the tenants, but it also reveals new opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be considered,” says Randy Daiter, an M&R Holdings vice president. JLL can attest to that: A “go green” committee helped its Aon Center in Chicago reduce energy consumption by 5%.
  • Incentivize: Tell tenants why you need their participation and/or data—and make it worth their while. Offering food is a reliable tactic, as Brandywine Realty Trust exemplifies with its lunch-and-learn sessions, bagel breakfasts and ice cream socials. Wells Real Estate offered its triple net lease tenants Major League Baseball game tickets for sharing their data.
  • Host competitions to build camaraderie, harness a competitive spirit and achieve cost savings in fun and friendly ways. L’Oréal USA’s “I’ve Got the Power” floor-by-floor challenge produced a 9% electricity reduction over 6 months at its New York City headquarters building, with the winning floor pocketing a $5,000 grand prize. BOMA Seattle/Kings County awarded MLB tickets, courtesy of local sponsors, along with lunch with the mayor of Seattle, to the winners of its “Kilowatt Crackdown.”
  • Communicate with a plan that includes sufficient budget, energy fairs and other events, tenant portals, emails, newsletters and celebrations of success—and don’t be afraid to brag a bit. “THIS BUILDING USES 41% LESS ENERGY THAN AVERAGE OFFICE BUILDINGS,” proclaims a sign prominently displayed at a Clise Properties Inc. site in Seattle.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR strategies that can help engage tenants in your energy goals.