Benchmarked, a new energy blog series, examines local businesses who have used EPA’s Portfolio Manager to track energy use.
Company/Property Name: The JBG Companies
Name and Title: Jessica Long, Commercial Operations Associate
How many buildings do you manage? Over 60 office properties, 20 residential multi-family and 14 hotels
What kinds of building uses are in your buildings? Multi-tenant office, single tenant government office, multi-family, hotel and retail. Many office tenants, especially large government tenants, have data centers.
When did your company begin benchmarking? JBG began benchmarking office properties in 2007.
Why did you begin benchmarking?
JBG originally began benchmarking as a way to accurately track and monitor energy usages and measure the impact of efficiency measures. Benchmarking through ENERGY STAR is also an important way for our properties to earn recognition for our efforts and for communicating the superior performance of our buildings to potential tenants. Additionally, the ENERGY STAR label is a U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) requirement for leasing office space to federal government agencies, which is an integral part of JBG’s business model.
Who has done (in the past) and does (if different now) your benchmarking in Portfolio Manager?
When we began benchmarking, JBG building engineers were tasked with inputting utility bill data and managing their properties in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, with the purpose of engaging in the on-going monitoring of the buildings energy performance.
In 2011, JBG began working with a 3rd party service provider to automatically upload utility data to the Portfolio Manager platform. This then allowed building engineers to focus on implementing energy conservation measures and pursue LEED-Existing Building: Operations and Management (LEED EB:O&M) Certification. JBG property teams are still responsible for maintaining building attribute data in Portfolio Manager related to occupied square footage, number of regular occupants, number of computers, and building operating hours for each space type within the building.
How has benchmarking your energy use changed the way you manage your portfolio? What do you do now that you didn’t do before?
JBG has implemented many low- and no-cost ECM’s based on energy audit recommendations and monitored energy performance. Most common and beneficial actions involve fully utilizing the Building Automation Systems which allows building engineers to optimize efficiency of HVAC equipment.
JBG has a goal of achieving the ENERGY STAR label and LEED-EB:O&M Certification for all stabilized properties by 2016. Having a high ENERGY STAR score is a simple way for a building to earn a large amount of points in the LEED-EB:O&M program. We are very pleased to have buildings like 5635 Fishers Lane in Rockville, Maryland earn 14 points towards its LEED Silver Certification for having a score of 88.
Currently we are expanding our program to include real-time energy management, which will give the buildings engineer’s information on how the building systems are performing in real time, so adjustments can be made immediately, rather than after receiving utility bill information a month later.
Have you done anything that drastically improved a building score? If yes, what?
Overall, JBG has focused on a ground-up approach, tackling low-cost measures to improve energy performance and evaluating larger efficiency upgrades as part of the long-term business plan for each property. Recently, JBG has utilized rebates to retrofitting parking garage lighting with new LED technology.
These projects have been both cost efficient and have experienced significant energy savings. Other projects that have received utility rebates are installation of variable frequency drives on fans and motors, water booster pumps, automation system upgrades, and lighting sensors.
What building’s energy performance are you most proud of, and why?
We are very proud that our new developments are demonstrating superior energy performance as designed with ENERGY STAR scores in the high 90’s. The National Cancer Institute building was designed with energy efficiency in mind and now after two full years of occupancy is performing with even more efficiency than the original design.
Additionally, we are also pleased with the efforts at some of our older properties that have made huge improvements in their scores to earn the ENERGY STAR label. 7200 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, Maryland installed a new Building Automation System, worked with the Department of Energy Better Buildings Alliance to host a building retuning training, completed numerous upgrades to the HVAC system, and upgraded lighting throughout the property. After all of this the property was able to earn the ENERGY STAR label for the first time in 2014.
In 2014 alone, JBG is proud to have earned the ENERGY STAR label on 25 properties.
What advice would you give for anyone benchmarking for the first time?
First time benchmarkers should start by utilizing the training and template resources available in Portfolio Manager so that they may become familiar with what information is required to benchmark. Then engage the property teams to collect information that will be input into ENERGY STAR. There are bulk upload templates that can be utilized for large portfolios or inputting 12 months of energy data to get started.