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BOSTON-Two co-joined buildings here, located at 222 Berkeley Street and 500 Boylston Street, owned and operated by Texas-based Hines, have been designed and retrofitted to reduce energy use resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings annually. Both buildings received the energy star designation from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

According to James Green, regional manager of engineering services for Hines, the energy star rating is achieved by reporting the facts of the building and its energy use to the EPA which then compares that information with similar buildings using the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey as a guide. If a building’s rate of energy efficiency falls within the top 25%, it qualifies for the energy star.

Green contends that the program has not only saved the company money but has also made the leasing process easier by making the building more appealing to potential tenants. “Energy is available for the tenant should they need it,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “The building can maintain its energy consumption. Tenants don’t have to limit their growth and we don’t have to increase the cost of our electrical system. It also helped tenants reduce their operating costs.” Green notes that the process also increases the value of the building itself. He estimates that the company spent $1.3 million on hardware to improve energy efficiency.

Among the features installed in the buildings were T12-25 Watt fluorescent bulbs which, says Green, improve the quality of lighting and provide an appropriate level of light. Hines installed 30,000 of these bulbs in the buildings at a cost of $130,000. Abatements from the local utility company Nstar were $65,000 and Green puts the savings at $74,000 per year. Electronic ballasts were also installed rather than the older style magnetic ballasts and in combination with the new lighting he puts the savings at $80,000 annually.

Office motion sensors were also installed to control the lighting. Nearly 1,800 were installed at a cost of $182,000 and Nstar provided a $140,000 abatement. The feature results in annual savings of $30,000. “We did an informal survey and saw that at any point during the day we could expect between 15% to 20% of the offices here to be vacant. We take advantage of the sensors to shut down the lights,” notes Green who adds that these models are more sophisticated than the earlier ones because they can both sense and listen for a person’s presence.

The company also installed variable frequency drives which regulate the speed of large motors and is used on air handlers. The savings realized from the VFDs–which cost $90,000 and received abatements of $40,000–are about $91,000.

500 Boylston, which was built in 1987, has 707,000-sf of space while 222 Berkeley, which was built 10 years ago, has 460,000 sf of space. Both buildings were fully occupied until recently when 20,000 sf of space became available in each building from companies that relocated.

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