Smart Energy Now® … What’s in it for you?

As we are out in the community we are often asked “what motivation do we as employees have to reduce energy usage in our work space?” We are more likely to keep the lights off, minimize our use of electronics, and induce those positive behaviors at home because we can see the impacts through our energy bills.

At work it tends to be a little different because we have no incentive to do so or do we?

In 2011, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and the Business Innovation Factory researched commercial energy usage by daily decision makers. Both executives responsible for energy policies and decisions and employees who generate ideas and whose actions define energy usage were among those interviewed. The report provided an interesting insight:

Taryn Sims

They learned that it’s not all about money; employees and customers are genuinely passionate about their energy use and want to engage with companies that have a commitment towards sustainability or energy conservation. These employee engagement programs also serve as a tool for attracting talent.

In fact 15% percent of employees have taken a pay cut to work for sustainable companies according to a study done by Bain & Company. Seven hundred and fifty employees were surveyed across different industries and approximately 59% stated that if the industry did not match their corporate sustainability beliefs they excluded that industry for employment and 20% stated to have excluded companies without a commitment to sustainability. While monetary incentives and recognition aid in encouraging sustainable actions such as turning off unused equipment or turning off computer monitors, employees truly care about the environmental impacts.

So what’s in it for Charlotte? If we can help transform Charlotte into the most sustainable urban core in the country we can remain as a cost efficient city to do business. This helps attract companies and talented employees that are passionate about doing good for the environment and like to operate in a great business climate.

Several businesses across Uptown Charlotte are passionate about advocating a sustainability culture and have made their pledge to our program.To learn more about how your company can get involved or to make an individual pledge to reduce wasted energy visit our Website.

Susana Ayala

Smart Energy Now®

Follow us on Twitter @DE_SmartEnergy

Information for this blog was cited from:
Bain & Company. (2012). Fifteen percent of employees have taken a pay cut to work for sustainable companies [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.bain.com/about/press/press-releases/employee-sustainability-study-press-release.aspx

Business Innovation Factory. (2012). In Green Company Behavior Methods for Energy Efficiency. [Case Study] Retrieved from http://eng.businessinnovationfactory.com/pdf/BIF-Energy.pdf

Building Recognition

On October 28, 2011 our community came together to witness the unveiling of the kiosks powered by Smart Energy Now. Since that time, our program has grown by leaps and bounds. We have taken an aspiring concept and established a model; which other cities and countries have traveled here to see firsthand. Our efforts have been defined as entrepreneurial in spirit and results oriented in body. We have gained supporters and critics along the way. Point of fact is that we need both. We need our supporters to inspire us and we need our critics to fuel us.

Where are we today?

In collaboration with the USGBC North Carolina Chapter, we held our first Building Recognition Ceremony to recognize high performing buildings, outstanding property management and our community partner. The building recognition program compared the actual energy consumption to the predicted energy consumption over a three month period from December of 2012 to February of 2013 for each building participating in Smart Energy Now. This comparison was done for three building segments based on overall building area: buildings less than 100,000 sf, buildings between 100,000 sf and 500,000 sf, and buildings greater than 500,000 sf. The difference between the actual and predicted energy consumption was calculated for each building and the top three from each building segment were recognized.

Building Recognition Program  Winners

Building Recognition Program Winners

100,000 Sq Ft. or less:

• 402 W Trade – Managed by Percival McGuire Commercial Real Estate
• Torrence Building – Owned and Managed by Joann Wheaton
• Old City Hall –Owned and Managed by the City of Charlotte

100,000-500,000 Sq Ft. -500,000 Sq Ft.

• NASCAR Plaza – Managed by Parkway Properties
• Gateway Center – Managed by Gramercy Realty and Jones Lang Lasalle
• Transamerica Square – Managed by Bank of America and Lincoln Harris

500,000 Sq Ft. and above

• One Wells Fargo Center – Managed by Childress Klein
• Fifth Third Plaza – Managed by Parmenter Realty Partners
• 1 Bank of America Center – Managed by Bank of America and Lincoln Harris

Community Partner Award

• City of Charlotte – Rob Phocas

Outstanding Building Management Award

• Lincoln Harris – Kristen Deese

It was a special event; which clearly demonstrated the commitment that the community has made to become the most sustainable urban core in the country!

Susana Ayala
Smart Energy Now®

Follow us on Twitter @DE_SmartEnergy

Buildings, Tenants and Trends

At the beginning of each year we enter a new era and adapt new trends.  As we learn more about our environmental impacts, new trends develop that lead us to a more sustainable way of life.  Today, our society is more conscientious about the air we breathe, the water we drink, energy we use, and waste we produce.  In recent year’s ideas like using BPA free products, buying from local farmers markets and using public transportation have been quickly adopted by society.  Employers have noticed these trends and are encouraging eco-friendly business practices by promoting public transportation, recycling and energy conscious behaviors. As the marketplace grows in competition, building owners are looking at ways to reduce their environmental impact and meet the “green” demands to retain current tenants and attract new tenants.

Many buildings are now Energy Star and LEED Certified. New York City Greener, Greater Buildings Plan & Local Law 84    (planNYC), for example, calls for stricter energy codes that require installation of lighting upgrades and tenant sub-meters in non-residential spaces, and require most buildings over 50,000 SF to undertake benchmarking  audits  and implement identified retro-commissioning measures.  New York City Greener, Greater Buildings Plan & Local Law 84   will ultimately save New Yorkers $700 million in annual energy costs, create thousands of construction-related jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 5%.

While changes in our buildings are occurring at the infrastructure and equipment level, a key component of developing a sustainable environment are the people that work in the buildings. Getting tenants and their employees to turn off unused lights, unplugging unused laptop or cell phone chargers or using the revolving doors is not an easy task.  Smart Energy Now® (SEN) recognizes that most tenants and workers are not as informed on the energy usage and impacts their actions can have.  A key component of our program are the interactive kiosks that display real time energy usage of the participating buildings;  which can help in making smarter decisions  about how we use our energy. Like planNYC , SEN also  hopes to  aid in reducing our environmental impact  and ultimately contribute to the economic development  of the city.

For 2013 we challenge you to start an “energy trend” in your office.  Small actions can have huge impacts on our city. Click here for resources on trends you can start in your office this New Year.

Information for this blog was cited from “New York City Local Law 84 Benchmarking Report  August 2012” by Dr. David HSU and Dr. Constantine Kontokosta.

Susana

Smart Energy Now  ®Project Coordinator

Follow us on Twitter: @DE_SmartEnergy

The Duke Energy Center sets the standard for sustainable office buildings

Energy Center buildings in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina at dusk.

 

LEED certification has emerged as the standard of excellence in many office markets across the country because the principles of sustainable development are closely aligned with the requirements for Class A assets. These high-performance buildings are often the most prestigious in their markets and compete for prospective tenants by not only offering operational efficiencies and an attractive work environment, but also by providing tenants with a means of demonstrating their commitment to environmental conservation.

The latter of these objectives has become increasingly important as a result of the corporate social responsibility movement and the resulting pressure placed on companies to evaluate their performance using economic, social and environmental measures of success. Notwithstanding the aforementioned benefits, real estate investors must evaluate the financial viability of LEED certified projects using traditional valuation methodologies. Continue to full article>