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Commercial Real Estate

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Commercial real estate properties represent nearly 16 billion square feet of floorspace and consume more than 250 billion kWh of office building energy use. Through the Better Buildings commercial real estate sector, partners who own, lease, or manage over 6.6 billion square feet of commercial space are sharing best practices, and engaging with technical experts to advance their energy savings goals. Over $430 million has been saved since 2011.

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Iron Mountain Data Centers Recognized for Energy Efficiency Leadership in Virtual Site Visit

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2023 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, 900+ Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have saved more than 3.1 quadrillion Btu, saving more than $18.5 billion and 189 million metric tons of CO2.

Financing Navigator

There are many ways to finance energy efficiency projects in buildings you own or occupy. The Navigator helps you cut through this complexity to secure financing that works for you. 

Get Involved

There are many different ways to work with DOE through the Better Buildings Initiative. Explore our partnerships to find the best fit for your organization, whether your focus is energy, water, waste, or carbon.

Other Resources

Fact Sheet

Green Leasing as Part of a Sustainable Tenant Fit-out: Tenant Energy Optimization and Green Lease Leaders Fact Sheet

This resource provides an overview of TEOP and Green Lease Leaders, highlighting how the two programs can work together to offer a robust roadmap for landlord-tenant energy efficiency achievements.

Guidance

Building Renovation: Integrated Systems Package Guidance

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab created an integrated systems package (ISP) for achieving deeper energy savings during whole-building renovations in existing commercial buildings. To minimize required expertise and effort, the ISP includes a checklist, specifications, and procedures for LED lighting and dimming controls, high-efficiency RTUs, HVAC controls, energy monitoring, and more.

Assessing and Reducing Plug and Process Loads in Office Buildings Guidance

This guide will help office building owners and energy managers reduce PPL energy use. It includes a process for developing a PPL control strategy for office buildings.

On-Site Energy Storage Decision Guide Guidance

This guide is intended for anyone investigating the addition of energy storage to a single or multiple commercial buildings. 

Submetering Resources - Commercial Buildings Guidance

This document contains a variety of resources intended to help commercial partners gain better access to energy data through the use of submetering.

Low Carbon Technology Strategies for Large Office Buildings Guidance

This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon large office buildings within their existing building portfolios. Large offices are typically over 50,000 square feet and often include complex heating and cooling systems. 

Low Carbon Technology Strategies for Small Office Buildings Guidance

This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon small office buildings within their existing building portfolios. Small offices are typically less than 50,000 square feet and often use packaged rooftop units for heating, cooling, and ventilation.

Low Carbon Technology Strategies for Midrise Apartments Guidance

This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon midrise apartment buildings within their existing building portfolios. Midrise apartments may use packaged rooftop units for heating, cooling, and ventilation or central plant systems for larger buildings.

Tenant Fit-Out: Integrated Systems Package Guidance

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab created an integrated systems package (ISP) for achieving deeper energy savings during tenant fit-out in existing commercial buildings. The ISP includes a checklist, specifications, and procedures for LED lighting and dimming controls, HVAC controls, plug load controls, and energy monitoring.

HVAC Equipment Replacement: Integrated Systems Package Guidance

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab created an integrated systems package (ISP) for achieving deeper energy savings during RTU equipment replacement in existing commercial buildings. To minimize required expertise and effort, the ISP includes a checklist, specifications, and procedures for a high-efficiency RTU, advanced controls, energy monitoring, and envelope improvements to reduce HVAC sizing.

Implementation Model

The Tower Companies Leverages Green Leases to Reduce Energy and Water Use Implementation Model

The Tower Companies updated its standard lease agreements to include a green appendix that 100% of new and renewed tenants accepted, supporting efforts to reduce energy and water use across its commercial portfolio.

USAA Real Estate: Building Upgrade Value Calculator Implementation Model

USAA Real Estate developed a calculator to convert the results of energy efficiency upgrades into metrics that are meaningful for financial decision makers, resulting in more projects funded and increased portfolio-wide energy savings.

Parkway Sustainability Program Incentivizes Efficiency Improvements Implementation Model

Real estate investment trust Parkway was running into challenges tracking its buildings' energy performance and motivating stakeholders to participate in sustainability initiatives. After launching a Sustainable Properties Awards Program with robust tools and incentives, 100% of Parkway's portfolio is benchmarking energy consumption and allowing the trust to monitor progress toward goals.

Lendlease Uses Portfolio Approach to See Savings at Scale in Military Housing Implementation Model

Lendlease found $10 million in savings and achieved its Better Buildings Challenge goal 5 years early by utilizing engagement, technology, sustainable design, and more to find savings at scale across their military housing portfolio. 

Iron Mountain Leverages Redaptive’s Efficiency-as-a-Service Program for Energy and Carbon Reductions Implementation Model

Iron Mountain collaborated with Redaptive in an efficiency-as-a-service product to finance energy efficiency projects, creating a flexible future cost savings program.

Report

How to Choose, Use, and Better Understand Climate-Risk Analytics Report

This report provides insight to the land use industry on how to interpret climate-risk analytics, identify risks effectively, and incorporate them into decision-making throughout the investment life cycle. 

Promoting Solar PV on Leased Buildings Guide Report

This guide explores the benefits, barriers, and strategies to installing solar on leased buildings, including commercial real estate.

Showcase Project

CommonWealth Partners: Cottonwood Corporate Center Showcase Project

CommonWealth partners undertook comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades at this center, including lighting, a preventative maintenance program for HVAC, and a building automation system calibrated for peak efficiency. Altogether these measures save 17% energy annually.

JBG Smith: L'Enfant Plaza East Building Showcase Project

JBG Smith upgraded aging building systems at the 836,500-square-foot L’Enfant Plaza East in Washington, D.C. to achieve 31% energy savings and annual cost savings of $920,000.

Nuveen Real Estate: Water Savings at 1401 H Street (City Center) Showcase Project

Nuveen Real Estate and the Cushman & Wakefield property team utilized no- and low-cost strategies for water savings at 1401 H Street (City Center). By upgrading toilets and urinals, replacing aerators and adjusting the frequency of sidewalk cleanings, Nuveen Real Estate reduced water consumption by 36%.

Columbia Association: Supreme Sports Club Showcase Project

Supreme Sports Club is a 100,000-square-foot, 24-hour fitness facility in Columbia, Maryland, and is Columbia Association’s most energy intensive facility. Building renovations, lighting retrofits, and mechanical upgrades have been implemented that reduced overall energy consumption by 22%, savings over $96,000, all while improving member experience.

Lendlease: Island Palm Communities Showcase Project

Lendlease’s Island Palm Communities underwent a large-scale energy security and modernization project that incorporates rooftop solar PV, energy efficiency upgrades, and water conservation efforts to save a projected 22% in energy use and 28% in water use.

Toolkits

Green Revolving Funds Toolkit

This toolkit provides cross-sector guidance on establishing a green revolving fund to overcome the common barrier of dedicated funding. A green revolving fund is an internal capital pool that is dedicated to funding energy efficiency, renewable energy, and/or sustainability projects that generate cost savings. A portion of those savings is then used to replenish the fund.

Webinar

Climate Risk Assessments: Commercial Buildings & Portfolio Resilience Webinar

This webinar explored a variety of strategies commercial building owners can use to address extreme weather events and identify cost-effective strategies and improvements to protect occupants and assets from short and long-term risks.

Working Toward Net Zero: Best Practices and Examples to Engage Tenants in Sustainability Webinar

This webinar from the Urban Land Institute featured an upcoming collection of primers that share how to drive sustainability through tenant engagement will dive into best practices and examples of how property owners are aligning their sustainability goals and their tenant engagement strategies.

Sector Priorities

The Better Buildings Alliance Commercial Real Estate Steering Committee helps to set priorities for work in the sector each year. This year, sector activities are focused on the following priorities:

  • Highlight technical pathways for decarbonization in commercial real estate with a focus on electrification, particularly for retrofits in existing buildings. Additionally, showcase effective embodied carbon reduction efforts of partners and connect partners exploring embodied carbon back to DOE technical research and initiatives.
  • Develop and showcase technology and finance solutions related to renewable energy and storage, including onsite installations and offsite procurement such as PPAs and VPPAs.
  • Assist partners facing challenges in pursuing energy efficiency with an increased focus on healthy buildings and IAQ.
     

Steering Committee Members

  • Becca Rushin, Jamestown (Chair)
  • Matthew Praske, EQT Exeter
  • Michael Drowne, Newmark
  • JP Flaherty, Tishman Speyer
  • Mike Groppi, CBRE
  • Hakon Mattson, Elevance Health (formerly Anthem, Inc.)
  • Sara Neff, Lendlease
  • Brenna Walraven, Corporate Sustainability Strategies
  • Marta Schantz, Urban Land Institute