Office buildings account for 17 percent of CO2 emissions in the U.S., or about 1-billion tons per year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Thanks to an agreement between property manager Cushman & Wakefield and the EPA, some of those emissions could get cut over the next few years. Using energy efficient technologies and practices, Cushman & Wakefield is aiming to reduce energy consumption 30 percent at its managed properties — currently more than 3,000 buildings — by 2012. The total square footage of those buildings was not available.
Cushman & Wakefield plans to work with EPA initiatives such as Energy Star to analyze its buildings’ energy use and to look at energy-efficiency solutions. Energy Star is a voluntary program, with Cushman & Wakefield getting technical assistance, as well as some public recognition, by partnering up with the EPA on cutting emissions.
The announcement didn’t list specific technologies, but getting to that 2012 target will likely take a wide range of cleantech systems covering lighting, heating and cooling, and smart devices.
Cushman & Wakefield can use its past experience in green building, having already worked on other efficiency projects, including helping Adobe Systems get the first ever Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Existing Buildings rating system. Cushman & Wakefield said that the $1.4 million project for Adobe’s San Jose, Calif., headquarters included load management, lighting, water system and other retrofits. The company replaced bulbs in the building with energy-efficient fluorescents, installed motion-activated power strips at each desk to turn off equipment when not in use, and made improvements and upgrades to the HVAC system. It’s paid off, too: Cushman & Wakefield says the project yields an annual return on investment of $1.2 million.
Today’s deal with the EPA is going further than just energy use, however. The property management company has also agreed to track water usage at its managed properties using Energy Star software and push for the use of water-efficient fixtures and water conservation. Cushman also plans to look at waste reduction activities at its managed buildings under the EPA’s WasteWise program, and promote sustainable landscaping practices and the reuse of industrial materials as part of the agency’s GreenScapes initiative.
EPA said Cushman & Wakefield will update the agency with a progress report on its goals every 6 months.