Benchmarked, an energy blog series, examines local businesses who have used EPA’s Portfolio Manager to track energy use.
Company/Property Name: The Chevy Chase Land Company of Montgomery County, Maryland (CCLC). The properties are:
* The Chevy Chase Metro Building at 2 Wisconsin Circle
* 2 Bethesda Metro
* 5425 Wisconsin Avenue.
Name and Title: Michael Fomalont, Senior Property Manager
How many buildings do you manage?
CCLC owns and manages approximately 2 million square feet of retail, residential, and office of which three of its office buildings are LEED.
What kinds of building uses are in your buildings?
General office use with some specialized medical services, such as eye and dentistry.
When did your company begin benchmarking?
CCLC started benchmarking in 2009.
Why did you begin benchmarking?
While pursuing LEED designations in 2009 for the three buildings noted above, utility usage was benchmarked to provide documentation for the level required for LEED designation.
Who has done (in the past) and does (if different now) your benchmarking in Portfolio Manager?
The initial benchmarking in 2009 was done by the consultant working with us on the LEED for Existing Building designation process. After receiving that designation, entries were handled by onsite property management staff. As we are in the midst of recertification, the entries are being handled by Healthy Buildings International (HBI), our current consultant on this process, and beginning 2016, onsite property management staff will resume benchmarking.
How has benchmarking your energy use changed the way you manage your portfolio? What do you do now that you didn’t do before?
Energy efficiency is very much a part of our discussions regarding equipment replacement, and we have upgraded our energy management system (EMS) to take advantage of the features available in new equipment. For example, escalators run all the time. When we replaced them we installed power commanders to regulate the electricity supplied according to different load weights. When air handlers were replaced, we ensured that we had control over each one so we could minimize the amount of equipment that needed to run in after-hour scenarios. Garage lighting was upgraded with occupancy sensors, and we are now transitioning to LED, all because we can see the reduction in usage through benchmarking.
Have you done anything that drastically improved a building score? If yes, what?
I think the change to LED lighting in the office spaces, currently underway, will have the most impact on our efforts. This LED lighting retrofit spans six floors of office space, and is projected to save approximately 140,000 kWh of energy and nearly $20,000.
What building’s energy performance are you most proud of, and why?
Because the Chevy Chase Metro Building had both LEED and ENERGY STAR designations, the building was able to participate in the Pepco Continuous Commissioning program. An energy audit was performed, producing many clearly identified and achievable goals. We implemented many of the recommendations and we were reimbursed upon completion of the work for a substantial portion of the expenses. In addition, we will continue to benefit from these changes over time.
What advice would you give for anyone benchmarking for the first time?
I would suggest engaging a consultant, and including the building’s EMS contractor in the process and discussion. The consultant recognized important nuances in common building labels which helped us present a more accurate application for LEED and ENERGY STAR. For example, where we had categorized a computer room as a “computer room” they recognized that the technology we had did not meet the size requirement, and therefore the number of computer rooms went to zero. We also had one space classified as “office” but they determined the use for one major tenant was better identified as a call center. Our EMS contractor provided details on the system’s operation and by having them a part of the discussions with our consultant, we could all be a part of plans for the future.