Benchmarked, an energy blog series, examines local businesses who have used EPA’s Portfolio Manager to track energy use.
Company/Property Name: American Real Estate Property (AREP)
Name and Title: Janice Snee, President of the King Farm Conservancy
How many buildings do you manage?
I manage all of the American Real Estate Properties in Montgomery County, Maryland—nearly 1 million square feet in total.
What kinds of building uses are in your buildings?
All of our buildings offer Class A office properties.
When did your company begin benchmarking?
AREP started benchmarking office space in 2007.
Why did you begin benchmarking?
We, as a property management group (AREP), started benchmarking because we wanted to better understand energy consumption in our office buildings, as well as observe and analyze trends throughout our portfolio. We felt this would help us make informed decisions regarding future upgrades to HVAC, lighting, and other building systems. We are fortunate to have tenants that are very engaged and informed about energy efficiency and this aligns with our company initiatives.
Who has done (in the past) and does (if different now) your benchmarking in Portfolio Manager?
Our Senior Vice President, James Moore, started our journey for benchmarking back in 2007 and then we hired a third party, Healthy Buildings. Healthy Buildings started benchmarking our buildings in 2014 into ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®.
How has benchmarking your energy use changed the way you manage your portfolio?
The ability to benchmark helps us analyze trends and catch any unusual spikes in energy use and address issues promptly. Benchmarking our buildings helps us make informed decisions.
What do you do now that you didn’t do before?
We paid closer attention to building operating hours and adjusted our operating schedules. We started to invest more in efficient lighting, too.
Have you done anything that drastically improved a building score? If yes, what?
We have worked with Pepco and Healthy Buildings to help, conducted ASHARE Level II audits, implemented all low-cost energy efficiency measures, and have budgeted for capital improvements, which have helped us improve the ENERGY STAR score on some of our buildings (e.g., utility incentives, retro-commissioning).
What building’s energy performance are you most proud of, and why?
We are really proud of our office building at Four Irvington Centre in Rockville, Maryland. It currently has an ENERGY STAR score of 86, and the building achieved LEED Gold certification. We began benchmarking Four Irvington Centre in early 2010. While we started benchmarking we realized how much energy the building was using. Our first ENERGY STAR score of the building was a 66 in late 2011. After getting our first score, we became more aware of our energy usage, which lead us to retrofitting our lights, conducting ASHARE audits, and investing in 100% renewable energy. With our commitment and hard work, we increased our building to an 86, an increase of 20 points in 5 years.
What advice would you give for anyone benchmarking for the first time?
My advice would be to invest time to benchmark buildings accurately. Utilize the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager informational online training sessions that happen monthly. They thoroughly go through each step on how to properly set-up a building in Portfolio Manager.