Making a Mark on Houston's Skyline: Transwestern's Pennzoil Place

Houston’s Pennzoil Place has been making an impression on the city’s skyline for decades, with its iconic skyscrapers’ trapezoidal silhouettes. Less known is that the two-tower building has been undergoing infrastructure upgrades in recent years. Thanks to Better Buildings Challenge partner and Pennzoil Place property manager Transwestern, the towers’ annual energy use has improved by 21%. This week, the Energy Department’s Under Secretary for Science and Energy, Lynn Orr, visited downtown Houston and while he was there, stopped in to take a look at this showcase project.

Pennzoil Place was built in 1975, so when Transwestern took over management for owner Metropolis in 2009, they and Metropolis recognized the need to update the building’s systems. The energy efficiency of every system was analyzed, and a solutions strategy was developed, including rebuilding the cooling tower, new chillers, a lighting retrofit, and replacing the HVAC system.

Pennzoil’s 21 percent reduction in energy use  is equal to energy cost savings of$872,000 each year.  It has also been awarded the “most intelligent building” award due in part to its advanced single-cord fiber optics system.

Transwestern’s commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge is impressive—they’ve committed 442 office buildings, totaling 78 million square feet of the company’s building portfolio, to execute their goal of reducing energy consumption by more than 20 percent by 2020.

To find out more about Better Buildings Challenge partner Transwestern, and read their playbook, “Good, Better…BEST Standards of Sustainability,” visit their partner page here.