Nuveen Real Estate: No- and Low-Cost Energy Savings at 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue


Nuveen Real Estate and the Hines property team identified a series of no- and low-cost strategies to significantly reduce energy consumption at 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue. Nuveen Real Estate's decision to further improve the energy performance of the property, an already high performing urban office building, reflects its ongoing effort to identify and implement energy efficiency opportunities across its real estate portfolio. 


In establishing its Global Real Estate Sustainability Initiative (GRESI), Nuveen Real Estate committed to an aggressive energy reduction goal of 20% by 2020 for its real estate portfolio.  Since that time, Nuveen Real Estate has met and exceeded that goal for its office portfolio, having reduced total energy consumption by 22.1% since the 2007 baseline year.



Working with their sustainability consultant and the Hines property team, Nuveen Real Estate identified no-and low-cost measures, and those requiring capital, to enhance HVAC controls, improve building pressurization, and upgrade interior and exterior lighting. When aggregated, the projects yielded an overall payback period of 3.5 years and an ROI of 29%.


Nuveen Real Estate completed the following energy efficiency measures at 1001 Pennsylvania over the course of five years:

  • Upgraded the building’s energy management system (EMS) including the north and south central plant controls, a central communications network system, and a hybrid conversion of variable air volume (VAV) box controls from pneumatic to direct digital control (DDC).
  • Installed carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors throughout the building, and implemented a demand controlled ventilation strategy.
  • Improved the efficiency of the HVAC system by:
    • Installing variable frequency drives (VFDs) on the air handling unit fans, and enabling control through the EMS.
    • Installing a plate-and-frame heat exchanger to enable free cooling during mild weather.
    • Installing high efficiency sand filtration systems in the north and south chiller plants.
    • Replacing the damper seals on the smoke evacuation dampers.
  • Performed elevator modernizations that included upgrading cab lighting and replacing mechanical systems in the elevator machine rooms.
  • Performed LED lighting upgrades in interior and exterior areas including the parking garage, stairwells, and restrooms.
    • Retrofitted all tenant and common area 32W T8 linear fluorescent lamps with 28W T8 lamps and occupancy sensor controls, and replaced (950) 15W CFLs in the main lobby with 11W LEDs.


By adhering to a strategic management plan focused on continuous improvement, including closely monitoring utility consumption; implementing water efficiency improvements and replacing all water closets (1.6 and 1.28 gpf), urinals (1.0 and 0.5 gpf) and lavatory sinks (2.0 and 0.5 gpm) with low flow models; maintaining a rigorous preventative maintenance schedule; and educating tenants on best practices; the property team at 1001 Pennsylvania continues to improve utility performance and increase the property’s competitiveness in the Washington, DC market. The combined efforts of Nuveen Real Estate and the Hines team increased the property’s ENERGY STAR score from 71 in 2010 to 86 in 2015.


Baseline year energy costs are measured using 2015 electricity rates.

Annual Energy Use

Baseline (2010)
252 kBtu/sq.ft.
Actual (2015)
164 kBtu/sq.ft.

Energy Savings:


Annual Energy Cost

Baseline (2010)
Actual (2015)

Cost Savings:


Sector Type



District Of Columbia

Project Size

835,000 Square Feet

Financial Overview


1001 Pennsylvania Avenue
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue

1001 Pennsylvania Avenue
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue