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


Nuveen Real Estate and the Cushman & Wakefield property team identified a series of no-cost and low-cost strategies to significantly reduce water consumption at 1401 H Street. Nuveen Real Estate's decision to further improve the water performance of the property, an already high performing urban office building, reflects its ongoing commitment to identify and implement water efficiency opportunities across its real estate portfolio. 


Improving water efficiency, along with reducing energy consumption and demonstrating environmental and social responsibility, is a critical component of Nuveen Real Estate's Global Real Estate Sustainability Initiative (GRESI). Since the start of the GRESI platform in 2007, Nuveen Real Estate has reduced annual water consumption by nearly 10%, or 130 million gallons, across its office, multifamily and retail portfolios.



Working with their sustainability consultant and the property team, Nuveen Real Estate identified no-and low-cost measures to improve the efficiency of plumbing fixtures and reduce the frequency of sidewalk cleanings, decreasing building-wide water consumption by 35%. When aggregated, the projects yielded an overall payback period of 1.8 years and an ROI of 56%.


The following water efficiency measures were completed at 1401 H Street over the course of two years:

  • Upgraded (116) 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) toilets and (25) 1.5 gpf urinals to high efficiency 1.6/0.8 gpf dual-flush toilets and 0.5 gpf urinals.
  • Replaced (92) 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) aerators with 0.5 gpm aerators on all lavatory faucets to reduce the flow rate.
  • Reduced the frequency of sidewalk cleanings using a hose by one-third.


By adhering to a strategic management plan focused on continuous improvement, including closely monitoring utility consumption, implementing energy and water efficiency improvements, maintaining a rigorous preventative maintenance schedule, and educating tenants on best practices, the property team at 1401 H Street continues to decrease utility consumption and  increase the property’s competitiveness in the Washington, DC market.


Baseline year water costs are measured using 2015 water rates.

Annual Water Use

Baseline (2012)
14 gal/sq.ft.
Actual (2015)
9 gal/sq.ft.

Water Savings:


Annual Water Cost

Baseline (2012)
Actual (2015)

Cost Savings:


Sector Type



District Of Columbia

Project Size

360,000 Square Feet

Financial Overview


1401 H Street
1401 H Street