Here at PK Metals, we take pride in our commitment to sustainability. We have over 80 employees spread over 20 acres on Long Island, NY working to recycle electronics, metal, and plastic. We reached out to Jones Lang LaSalle because they are known for having one of the most robust sustainability initiatives in the industry. PK Metals is R2/RIOS cerifited electronics recycler, and our subsidiary e-Green Recycling Management LLC is R2, 14001, and NAID certified. We appreciate Jones Lang LaSalle’s commitment to sustainability.
To learn more about Jones Lang LaSalle’s Sustainability initiatives, we reached out to Dana Schneider, Senior Vice President, Energy and Sustainability Projects, to learn more.
|English: The Empire State Building from the streets of New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Our mission is to help real estate investors and corporations develop green strategies that help them meet their business goals. Investors are always looking for higher occupancy and rents, and a lot of tenants are looking for buildings with high Energy Star scores and LEED certification. Corporations are also motivated by low energy costs, and they’re becoming more aware that a well-designed, well-managed workplace can improve employee productivity. Even a small improvement in productivity is a big payback in terms of the cost of implementation. So companies want natural light and good air quality, and they want a way to measure and report progress. We help with all that.
So even though Jones Lang LaSalle doesn’t own buildings, we help owners save more than $100 million in energy costs every year, which translates to more than 500,000 tons of greenhouse gases.
Are there sustainability programs for tenants (such as recycling days)?
Most of our property management teams have ongoing tenant engagement programs. They may be fairly simple things, like battery recycling or an educational event on Earth Day, or newsletters reminding tenants on ways they can reduce energy and waste. Some buildings have more highly developed programs. For instance, at Aon Center in Chicago our property management team got the building’s largest tenants—including our firm–to commit to significant energy reductions in their spaces in part by involving employees. The building gained the highest recognition in the city’s Green Office Challenge, and the program has served as a model for other buildings we manage.
Employee engagement is really important to the sustainability efforts of our corporate clients, and since we’re usually the facility manager, we have a lot of involvement in those efforts. Just to use one example, Jones Lang LaSalle set up an employee car-pooling and van-pooling program for Yahoo! used by 17 percent of their employees at three or their biggest sites.
Can you discuss your work with the Empire State Building?
The work we’ve done at the Empire State Building has been truly innovative. It started with the owner, Tony Malkin, and conversations he was having with the Clinton Climate Exchange about whether a whole-building energy retrofit could be financially viable. For most owners, an energy project has to pay for itself within three or four years through reduced energy costs to be considered a good investment. Tony and CCI brought together teams from Johnson Controls, Jones Lang LaSalle and Rocky Mountain Institute to develop a process for analyzing the cost and payback of energy retrofit opportunities, to see if a retrofit that significantly reduced energy and carbon would make financial sense. One unique thing was the decision to publicly share all the documentation and tools we used during the analysis, so owners around the world could replicate the process. The entire team has been dedicated to showing corporate, public and investor owners how to make energy retrofits work by analyzing everything and choosing the right strategies in the right order.
We looked at more than 60 potential strategies to save energy in terms of the cost and the payback period. That analysis led us to identify eight programs to reduce energy by 38 percent with a payback of just over three years. We could have reduced energy even more but the implementation cost would have risen faster than the energy savings.
One of the innovative things about the analysis was the use of energy modeling to look at the value of different strategies not only by themselves but in relation to each other. For example, the building was expected to need new chillers so that the hallways on each floor could be air conditioned for the first time. Our analysis showed that improvements to the windows would help reduce the load so that additional chillers wouldn’t be needed—instead, we upgraded the existing chillers and saved a lot on cost. We also found that making changes to the existing windows would be less expensive and would save more energy than replacing them.
The program’s implementation has resulted in the energy savings and carbon reduction we predicted, and the analytical process has been adopted at many other properties. It’s important to note that during the process, asking rents at the Empire State Building virtually doubled and the building has attracted several large Class A tenants that probably would not have put the building on their short list in the past. In some cases, tenants have cited the energy and sustainability improvements as a key factor in relocating to the Empire State Building.
Can you discuss the LEED certification process?
Before you even think about LEED, you need to know your Energy Star score. You want to see a score of at least 70, which means you’re in the top 30 percent of efficient buildings, before you go after LEED. The U.S. buildings that Jones Lang LaSalle manages have an average score of 76, so when we’re working with those clients on LEED, we’re usually in good shape on energy.
We start with a top-to-bottom LEED analysis that shows how many points are easy to get, how many are more expensive or uncertain, and which ones are not practical. Some buildings have enough points in place to get Silver certification without much work or expense, and could reach Gold but at a higher cost. An owner might be willing to spend the difference, especially if it also reduces operating costs.
The certification process takes time, but in experienced hands it has a predictable outcome. At the Empire State Building, we announced at the start that we would pursue Gold certification after the retrofit—I led the analysis and implementation, and I knew that Gold would be achievable. Since our firm has a lot of certifications under way all the time, we pretty much know what will and what won’t be accepted for every credit. We also have a close relationship with the USGBC that keeps us informed of upcoming changes to LEED, and can help us get through bottlenecks faster.
Owners should also know that certification isn’t the end of the LEED process. A building has to be managed right to be green. Jones Lang LaSalle now has over 1,000 LEED Accredited Professionals and Green Associates—many are project managers like me, but many others are property and facility managers, making sure that buildings operate sustainably.
What are some other examples of buildings that you have transformed into being environmentally friendly?
We’ve followed the analytical process developed at the Empire State building at more than 30 other buildings since then. One example is Chicago Union Station, where we used energy modeling to help Amtrak identify opportunities to save over $1 million a year. At Moscone Center in San Francisco, we followed the analytical process for energy and carbon reduction and implemented other sustainability improvements to save a lot of energy and prepare the three-building convention center for LEED certification, which it will receive this year. In all these cases, cost is a key consideration. The key is to be able to calculate up front what the cost will be and what benefits the owner will gain—and having a track record of delivering those results.
What can businesses do to engage their landlord to increase sustainability initiatives?
Owners and their leasing agents want to do everything they can to keep tenants happy. If a tenant has a cost-effective strategy or program in mind, the building manager will be very open to it. But this is a two-way street: Not only owners and managers, but tenants also have a big role to play in promoting energy and sustainability.
We work for a large bank that has set up seven green criteria that its tenant reps are expected to ask about when leasing space. The mandate is to get as many of the criteria as possible without paying extra. They do hundreds of leases every year, and their brokers are ranked on their ability to get sustainable features. The first year this system was put in place, the average number of sustainable criteria in the bank’s leases essentially doubled, because the brokers understood the importance to the company and wanted to achieve high rankings.
Another lesson from the Empire State Building has been the collaboration of management and tenants to reduce energy. Incoming tenants are asked to conform to certain green standards that the team developed to minimize energy usage. For prospective tenants who aren’t sure how this might work, we created pre-built spaces with high energy efficiency, so they could see what green space looks like, what it costs and the energy savings they can gain. And we’re providing tenants with sub-meters and energy monitoring systems so they can see how the actions of their employees directly affect their occupancy cost. The monitors also provide carbon footprint data, which is difficult to get in many leased buildings. As a result of this initiative, tenants contribute a lot to our energy reduction efforts, which saves them money directly and generally has a positive impact on employee well-being and productivity.
Taken from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/philfava/2012/08/21/how-jones-lang-lasalle-manages-sustainability-initiatives/