NEW YORK CITY-The Building Owners and Managers Association International challenged its members and the real estate industry to improve energy efficiency yesterday. The organization presented its transformation energy plan on the 44th floor of Hearst tower, the first green office building in New York City history to receive a gold rating.

The plan includes a 7-Point Challenge for members to reduce the use of natural resources, non-renewable energy sources, waste production and work in coordination with building management, ownership, and tenants to achieve the following goals:

  • Continue to work towards a goal to decrease energy consumption by 30% across portfolios by 2012;
  • Benchmark energy performance and water usage through EPA’s ENERGY STAR benchmarking tool;
  • Provide education to building managers, building owners and operators, engineers, and others involved in building operations, to ensure that equipment is properly maintained and utilized;
  • Perform an energy audit and/or retro-commissioning of buildings and implement low-risk, low-cost strategies to improve energy efficiency with high returns;
  • Extend equipment life by improving the operations and maintenance of building systems and ensure equipment is operating as designed;
  • Through leadership, positively impact your community and your planet by helping to reduce your industry’s role in global warming; and
  • Position yourself and the industry as leaders and solution providers to owners and tenants seeking environmental and operational excellence.

    Panelists included Kurt Padavano, BOMA International chairman and CEO, BOMA International incoming chairman, Brenna Walraven, Brian Schwagerl, VP of real estate and facilities planning for Hearst Corp., Stuart Brodsky, national program manager of commercial properties ENERGY STAR at the US Environmental Protection Agency and Karen Penafiel, VP of advocacy at BOMA International.

    “The challenge before us is ambitious but achievable,” said Padavano, who is also COO of Advance Realty Group. “Current research estimates that energy consumption in commercial buildings accounts for 18% of US greenhouse gas emissions. Responsible building operating and management practices can significantly reduce energy consumption, lower GHG emissions, and thus diminish a building’s carbon footprint.”

    BOMA International’s Market Transformation Energy Plan states that through implementation of no- and low-cost operation and management practices alone, buildings may see a reduction in energy consumption of up to 30%. In addition to lowering operating costs and enhancing asset value, these measures will improve tenant comfort and satisfaction with better building temperature control and lower absenteeism and increase tenants’ productivity, resulting in real cost savings for tenants.

    BOMA believes that increasingly the market will demand energy efficient sustainable buildings and that the 7-Point Challenge supports the industry in making the business case for implementing sustainable practices, thereby bringing value to owners and operators.

    By working with real estate professionals through the BOMA network of 91 local associations, with all levels of government, and the countless number of public and private groups with similar goals, BOMA International believes market transformation will be realized.

    BOMA International chairman-elect Brenna Walraven, executive managing director of national property management for USAA Real Estate Co. added, “Commercial real estate owners and operators understand the triple bottom line value to reducing energy consumption and implementing “high performance and sustainable management practices; these efforts not only have dramatic environmental benefits, but also have tremendous financial benefits.” She further added that there would be incentives for companies who follow the 7-Point Challenge.

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