Implementation Model: Student Fellowships To Kickstart In-House Energy Programs
Commercial Real Estate Management
No dedicated position for coordinating energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives across the real estate portfolio
Annual summer fellowship program provides analytic and strategic support to accelerate energy efficiency investment and communicate the value of sustainable investments
Momentum and value of fellowship program drove creation of a full-time Sustainability Program Manager position and formal sustainability program at the company, with associated initiatives contributing to significant portfolio-wide energy use reduction
Shorenstein is a leading real estate organization with owned and managed office properties across the country. With no position solely dedicated to sustainability program oversight, the company recognized the opportunity to leverage additional resources to support the existing sustainability committee with evaluation of energy-saving opportunities and implementation of sustainability initiatives.
Senior Management turned to a summer fellowship program, leveraging graduate students with deep expertise in energy efficiency to boost sustainability efforts at the company to the next level. Management recognized the value that student fellowships could add to the organization:
- Dedicated resource for selling the energy efficiency business case
- Expanded support for sustainability initiatives
- Introduction of new ideas for organizational innovation
- Opportunity to recruit new talent to the company
Shorenstein partnered with the Climate Corps Program of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to implement the fellowship. The success of this program and associated energy savings led Shorenstein to hire a full-time Sustainability Program Manager and formalize an energy management program at the company.
Shorenstein’s Fellowship Program Overview and Planning
Once approved for the coming year, Shorenstein’s Sustainability Program Manager applies to the Climate Corps program as a host organization and develops a proposed work plan for the fellow. The G.R.E.E.N. Committee, Shorenstein’s sustainability committee formed in 2008, identifies work plan objectives based on corporate energy efficiency and sustainability goals and objectives that have been laid out for the year. The G.R.E.E.N. Committee utilizes the summer fellow as a strategic resource for advancing portfolio-wide energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives. Shorenstein’s fellows have provided critical support in the following areas:
Fellow Selection and Training
Prior to arriving at their host company, all EDF fellows complete a three-day intensive energy efficiency training managed by EDF. The training reviews technical engineering skills and knowledge EDF fellows will need to assess energy efficiency opportunities and communicate the business case for investment.
On-Boarding and Work Plan Implementation
At the outset of the fellowship, EDF Climate Corps fellows complete a two part On-Boarding Survey — Part I: Practices for Energy Efficiency; and Part II: Barriers to Energy Efficiency — with targeted questions designed to stimulate internal discussion about energy efficiency. The On-Boarding Survey has helped Shorenstein identify organizational and industry barriers to energy efficiency. Over time, the annual survey has allowed Shorenstein to track progress toward unlocking progressively deeper energy-saving opportunities.
Fellows work closely with the Shorenstein Sustainability Program Manager to implement their work plan. In addition, EDF Engagement Managers are available as a resource to both fellows and the host company. Furthermore, EDF fellows and host company representatives have access to EDF’s staff of subject matter experts.
Springboarding to a Formal Sustainability Program
Shorenstein’s Senior Property Management team reviews the results of each summer’s fellowship, including a final presentation and report. The fellow’s identified energy-savings opportunities and other recommendations are reviewed for budgeting and implementation based on feasibility and expected impact. The Sustainability Program Manager also reviews EDF’s customized Organizational Feedback and Benchmarking report. The outcome of the Sustainability Program Manager’s assessment is summarized in a memorandum to Senior Management.
With the support of summer fellows, Shorenstein has created and deployed a system to track portfolio-wide energy performance year-over-year. A system for tracking energy project completions and savings is also being created and deployed, permitting detailed reporting on project outcomes.
Since 2008, Shorenstein has shown portfolio-wide energy intensity reduction of 11.9%. Much of this performance verification is attributable to the progress made each year through the company’s engagement with summer fellows and subsequent hiring of a full-time Sustainability Program Manager. The following timeline documents the evolving progress of Shorenstein’s sustainability program.
Shorenstein Energy and Sustainability Timeline
2009 – Shorenstein Engages first summer fellow, Benchmarks Buildings in ENERGY STAR®
2010 – Shorenstein Energy Savings Tour Launched, Tenant Engagement Tools Created
2011 – Energy Savings Tour Reduces Energy Consumption 5.1%, Shorenstein Joins Better Buildings Challenge
2012 – Shorenstein Creates Sustainability Program Manager Position
2013 - Present -- Ongoing Program Participation