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Tenant Participation Crucial to Efficiency

07/11/2011 | By Allen Kenney

Tenant Participation Crucial to Efficiency
In June, Beacon Capital Partners LLC announced that 10 properties in the Washington, D.C. area owned by its affiliates had achieved LEED certification. The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED building certification system is widely considered to be the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of environmentally conscious buildings.

Commercial real estate services firm Cassidy Turley oversaw the effort to retrofit Beacon Capital's 10 existing properties to comply with LEED standards. Evan Tyroler, vice president of sustainability services with Cassidy Turley, talked with REIT.com about the challenges and benefits of such an effort.

REIT.com: Evan, can you give us an idea of the genesis of this effort?

Evan Tyroler: Over the past few years, Cassidy Turley has made a serious commitment to sustainability and supporting our clients with sustainability and efficiency initiatives. We've done a substantial amount of work with Beacon Capital. Collectively, we came to a decision to certify these projects.

REIT.com: How do you begin the process of figuring out the best ways to retrofit properties to make them more efficient?

Tyroler: Most times our teams go in and do a gap analysis of the property. We do a snapshot of what is going on in the building. It's a survey of the tenants and the vendors and property engineers. That gives us our baseline of how energy efficient or inefficient a commercial building is.

REIT.com: How did that work with your latest project in Washington?

Tyroler: We did our initial gap analysis in 2010. We looked through the buildings and how they were they operating. We found multiple people in the past had tinkered with different set points for the buildings' mechanical systems.

We also looked into ways to improve the buildings' waste management and recycling programs. That involved increasing signage and putting in additional recycling bins throughout the buildings. Additionally, we implemented an electronics recycling program to dispose of "end-of-life" electronics equipment.

REIT.com: What is the biggest challenge in a project like this?

Tyroler: A lot of it deals with working with the tenants. These people have all different types of fulltime jobs. You have to figure out what's driving them and why they would want to participate in the process. We give them the relatively simple concepts so they can take that with them.