Environmental Case Studies

Boston Properties: Green Building Leaders

Boston Properties, Salesforce Tower, San Francisco, CA

Boston Properties (NYSE: BXP) , the largest publicly traded developer, owner, and manager of Class A office properties in the U.S., has a long history of developing and operating properties that are certified under the U.S. Green Building Council LEED rating system. Since 2008, Boston Properties has certified over 21 million square feet of its current portfolio at the highest Gold and Platinum levels.

In 2018, the company achieved LEED Platinum certification of Salesforce Tower, the 1.4 million-square-foot, 61-story office tower that serves as the new headquarters of Salesforce in San Francisco. The project earned more points under the LEED Version 3 rating system than any other project in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the highest rated new skyscraper in the State of California.

Salesforce Tower features:

  • Energy efficient architectural and mechanical systems designed to reduce energy costs 30% below California’s Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards;
  • A state-of-the-art air distribution system with outdoor air intakes at each floor and low horsepower fans for ventilation and free cooling; and
  • The largest onsite blackwater treatment system in a commercial high-rise building in the U.S. The system is expected to save up to 30,000 gallons of fresh water a day and 7.8 million gallons a year.
     

Salesforce Tower has been described as a new benchmark for energy, water, and indoor environmental quality performance.


Alexandria Real Estate Equities: Green Building Leaders

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., Campus Pointe by Alexandria, San Diego, CA

As of March 31, 2019, 51% of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.'s (NYSE: ARE) total annual rental revenue comes from LEED projects. Alexandria also targets LEED Gold or Platinum certification on all new, ground-up development projects.

To this end, Alexandria has implemented the following environmental leading practices in their operations, building designs, and property management:

  • Commitment to SMART energy, carbon, water, and waste reduction goals;
  • Partnerships with tenants and local community programs to develop innovative strategies to meet environmental targets;
  • Rigorous performance monitoring of air, water, and light qualities.
     

Alexandria’s healthy building goal is to achieve healthy building certification of 50 properties by 2025.


Kilroy Realty: Carbon Neutral Operations Goals

Kilroy Realty, Skyline Tower, Seattle, WA

Kilroy Realty (NYSE: KRC) has made a commitment to address the impact of building-related carbon emissions.

At the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, Kilroy set a goal to exceed its previous Science-Based Target initiatives for GHG reduction and pledged to establish carbon neutral operations by the end of 2020.

Kilroy has laid out a three-step strategy to achieve its goal of carbon neutral operations:

  1. Maximize onsite energy reduction initiatives to continuously reduce overall energy consumption;
  2. Capitalize on opportunities to install onsite solar and batteries;
  3. Add capacity to the grid through renewable power purchase agreements.

Kilroy's ambitious Science-Based Targets demonstrate the opportunity for lasting impact within the real estate industry.


SL Green: Generating Impact Through Emission-Reducing Activities

SL Green, 100 Park Avenue, New York, NY

SL Green’s (NYSE: SLG) sustainability strategy is aligned with the future resiliency of New York City, as the company invests in energy efficiency projects, deploys cutting-edge technology, and operates around the transportation hubs that are at the heart of the city’s vitality.

As the largest owner of commercial real estate in New York, SL Green has committed to reducing GHG emissions intensity 30% portfolio-wide by 2025.

To meet this goal, SL Green has invested over $66 million in energy efficiency projects since 2010, including upgrades to HVAC, BMS, and lighting systems, and installing VFDs.

Generating Impact:

  • SL Green installed an ice plant at 11 Madison Avenue to reduce daytime electricity use and alleviate the strain on the electrical grid. The ice plant will reduce carbon emissions by 1.4 million pounds which is equal to removing 120 cars from the road each year or the planting of 186 acres of trees.
  • SL Green partnered with Viacom at 1515 Broadway in the mayor’s Carbon Challenge and committed to a 30% reduction in GHG emissions by 2025. In conjunction with a central plant upgrade, BMS upgrade, and steam room insulation, a 26% energy reduction and 27 point increase in ENERGY STAR score were realized.

 

Equinix: Harnessing Renewable Energy

Photo courtesy of Equinix

Equinix (NASDAQ: EQIX) is a global data center and interconnection provider with more than 200 data centers across five continents. As data centers are energy-intensive operations, Equinix strives to reduce its environmental footprint and help its customers operate more sustainably.

In 2018, Equinix covered approximately 90 percent of its electricity consumption with equivalent renewable energy purchases. Equinix’s strategy for reaching 100 percent renewable energy coverage is based on five principles:

  1. Utilize renewable and low-carbon energy sources;
  2. Prioritize local sources of renewable energy across its diverse operating regions;
  3. Prioritize new or recently built renewable energy sources;
  4. Seek markets with favorable renewable energy policies when mapping new data center locations; and,
  5. Advocate for utilities and suppliers to bring online more renewable generation in Equinix locations.

As a result of Equinix's global renewable energy purchases, customers at over 150 locations can reduce their carbon footprint through partnerships with Equinix.

 

Essex Property Trust: Leveraging Leading Practice Energy Systems

​Essex Property Trust, 500 Folsom, SanFrancisco, CA

Essex (NYSE: ESS) has developed 25 GREEN or LEED-designated properties, representing almost 8,000 environmentally sustainable units over the past decade.

Essex’s newest development, 500 Folsom, has targeted LEED Silver certification, and exemplifies how Essex leverages leading practice energy systems to improve efficiency, decrease environmental impact, and create cost savings for tenants.

500 Folsom uses solar thermal technology to passively preheat water for the property, which improves water heating equipment efficiency and significantly reduces the energy demand on the grid. This system also serves to decrease the costs associated with hot water for the property’s tenants, thereby generating both environmental and economic benefits.

Built with over 10% local materials and over 80% recycled materials in the unit flooring, 500 Folsom also features low-flow fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, LED lights, electric-vehicle charging stations, and a graywater recycling system that has been designed to offset water usage in the building for toilet flushing and landscape irrigation.

500 Folsom is the latest example of Essex’s commitment to creating sustainable buildings for its residents and the environment.

Simon is a global leader in shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations. Sustainability is a business approach that enhances the communities in which the company operates, as well as long-term shareholder value, by embracing opportunities, improving the bottom line, and mitigating environmental and social risks.

To best achieve its environmental objectives, Simon’s sustainability strategy includes bold goals for energy management, reduction and on-site generation. In 2018, the company achieved or surpassed all its initial energy targets, including improvement of both portfolio-wide energy efficiency and GHG efficiency by 5-10% by 2020.

Since 2003, Simon has achieved a 37% reduction in electricity consumption across the portfolio, which represents 363 million kilowatt hours. The company has also reduced portfolio-wide emissions by 45%, which equals 261,169 metric tons of CO2 and is inclusive of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, as well as employee commuting and business travel Scope 3 emissions.

These results were achieved through targeted initiatives such as:

  • LED retrofit projects at over 178 properties across the U.S.;
  • Development and implementation of an energy benchmarking tool, used at enclosed centers across the portfolio;
  • Pilot of on-site solar and energy battery storage projects at select sites across the U.S.;
  • Ongoing energy audits and retro-commissioning across the portfolio; and
  • Participation in demand response systems to reduce peak loads and provide additional capacity to the grid during peak hours

 

Macerich: On the Path to Zero Waste

Macerich, Los Cerritos Center, Cerritos, CA

Macerich (NYSE: MAC), one of the largest owners, operators, and developers of major retail real estate in the United States, has set a goal to achieve zero waste at its facilities by 2030. As an initial target, Macerich aims to increase its waste diversion rate to over 70% by 2025 and to reduce overall waste generated by 50% from its 2015 baseline levels.

Macerich’s innovative waste mitigation strategy is focused on reducing waste at the source. The company collaborates with tenants at each property to implement waste reduction initiatives, such as:

  • Participating in community waste programs and waste-to-energy programs;
  • Using biodigesters to divert waste from landfills;
  • Hosting e-waste community events; and
  • Leveraging existing programs in partnership with local organizations to support community job initiatives in waste management.

Between 2014 and 2018, Macerich recycled 93,408 tons of waste, including waste to energy, an annual average of 33% of all waste generated in its facilities.

In 2018, Macerich launched a pilot program with Glass King Recovery and Recycling at its five Arizona centers. Partnering with each property’s restaurants – high producers of glass waste – the pilot program saw more than 782,017 pounds of bottles and glass waste being collected and kept out of Arizona landfills.

 

Digital Realty: Leveraging Water Conservation Efforts to Improve Energy Efficiency and Reduce Costs

Digital Realty, Main Street 365, San Francisco, CA

Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR) performed a cooling tower cleaning and disinfection (C&D) program at its data center on its Clifton, NJ campus in 2016, in coordination with Nalco Water. The C&D helped Digital Realty realize significant energy, water, and cost savings as part of a comprehensive water treatment and waterborne pathogen risk management program.

Following a thorough cleaning of heat transfer surfaces, condenser water temperatures were reduced by 6°F – from a pre-cleaning temperature of 84°F to a post-cleaning temperature of 78°F. This improvement was expected to deliver $100,000 in energy savings in the first year.

This reduction resulted in the realization of a 10% energy efficiency improvement and an energy cost reduction of $100,000 per year in chiller operations.

Additionally, as a result of the C&D program, the distribution deck of one of the cooling towers was cleared and flow was restored, reducing water wasted due to overflow conditions. This fixed the overflow condition and reduced excess water consumption by approximately 1 million gallons of water over a period of four-and-a-half months.

 

Simon Property Group:, Inc. Surpassing Energy Targets and Improving Efficiency

Simon Property Group, King of Prussia, King of Prussia (Philadelphia), PA

Simon (NYSE: SPG) is a global leader in shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations. Sustainability is a business approach that enhances the communities in which the company operates, as well as long-term shareholder value, by embracing opportunities, improving the bottom line, and mitigating environmental and social risks.

To best achieve its environmental objectives, Simon’s sustainability strategy includes bold goals for energy management, reduction and on-site generation. In 2018, the company achieved or surpassed all its initial energy targets, including improvement of both portfolio-wide energy efficiency and GHG efficiency by 5-10% by 2020.

Since 2003, Simon has achieved a 37% reduction in electricity consumption across the portfolio, which represents 363 million kilowatt hours. The company has also reduced portfolio-wide emissions by 45%, which equals 261,169 metric tons of CO2 and is inclusive of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, as well as employee commuting and business travel Scope 3 emissions.

These results were achieved through targeted initiatives such as:

  • LED retrofit projects at over 178 properties across the U.S.;
  • Development and implementation of an energy benchmarking tool, used at enclosed centers across the portfolio;
  • Pilot of on-site solar and energy battery storage projects at select sites across the U.S.;
  • Ongoing energy audits and retro-commissioning across the portfolio; and
  • Participation in demand response systems to reduce peak loads and provide additional capacity to the grid during peak hours