Better Buildings Challenge Opens Efficiency Opportunities
Milwaukee, Wis. – The owner and manager of a Milwaukee office building thinks recent lighting improvements will not only lower energy bills and help meet sustainability goals, but also attract and keep tenants.
Terry Gallant, Real Estate Manager at CBRE Property Management, said the project started with “recognizing that sustainability is a top priority of today’s sophisticated office tenant.”
LP Park Partners owns the building at 11800 West Park Place and enrolled it in the City of Milwaukee’s Better Buildings Challenge, a program that provides the tools and resources building owners and property managers need to effectively implement energy efficiency projects.
That led to a collaboration with FOCUS ON ENERGY®, a partner in the Milwaukee Better Business Challenge.
“Our experience with the Focus on Energy Program staff was most helpful in identifying energy efficiency projects and creating a capital plan that would meet our goal of decreasing our energy consumption by 20% over our baseline year,” Gallant said.
The Better Business Challenge included an energy assessment of the building, which has two stories and more than 54,000 square feet of tenant space in the Park Place Office Park in northwest Milwaukee. The assessment identified a number of potential projects eligible for financial incentives from Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide, utility-funded energy efficiency and renewable resources program.
LP Park Partners and CBRE worked with Lori Griesbach, an Energy Advisor with Focus on Energy, to implement four of the identified projects, all lighting upgrades.
One project involved converting to LED lighting on the second floor, which is entirely occupied by Liberty Mutual Insurance. There were also upgrades to LED lights in the first floor common area, as well as the parking lot and exterior areas. The final project involved daylight harvesting, the process of using natural light to offset the amount of energy needed to properly light a space.
In addition to the expertise and guidance of Griesbach, who worked closely with contractor Roman Electric, Focus on Energy provided $12,617 in financial incentives for the four lighting projects. They money is to help offset the initial cost of the investment in more-efficient lighting, which is estimated to save more than $18,000 per year in avoided electricity costs.
The new lights, over their lifecycle, will also save an estimated 2,159,043 kilowatts of electricity. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that’s enough to power 176 average homes for a full year and is equal to the carbon emissions of burning 1,682,000 pounds of coal.
“Being a good corporate citizen and environmental steward was a priority for stakeholders in this project,” Gallant noted. “Ownership, property management and our tenant worked together to achieve an outcome that was beneficial to all parties involved. Our Focus on Energy partners were invaluable in assisting us with our initial project design and evaluating the most efficient path forward to achieving our goals. The incentives were very valuable as we progress towards this path!”
Gallant added that he would recommend Focus on Energy to other business owners.
“Absolutely! Ownership and management recognize that participation in programs such as Focus on Energy and the Milwaukee Better Buildings Challenge employs the best use of our skill set, allowing us to provide sustainable solutions which deliver measurable value to our investors and our tenants. This value can be measured in improved tenant satisfaction, increased operational efficiency and a reduction in overall operating costs.”
The building is powered by We Energies, one of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that partner in Focus on Energy. Customers of those utilities are eligible for the energy expertise and financial incentives the program provides.
A third-party evaluation noted Wisconsin runs the most cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation. It also found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates more than $5 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced pollution and reduced energy costs.