The Tower Companies is a family-owned real estate development and property management company that develops, owns, and manages commercial office, retail, and multi-family residential properties across the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Mindful of its global impact, Tower is a leader in sustainable development and building operations, having been recognized by organizations such as the U.S. Green Building Council, U.S. Department of Energy, National Resources Defense Council, and Institute for Market Transformation. Nearly 90% of Tower’s portfolio is LEED® certified, and 80% of its ENERGY STAR certified buildings average a score over 80. The Millennium Building located at 1909 K Street NW features a 30 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system—the largest installation by a privately-held real estate developer on a Class A, commercial office building in the District. After being introduced to the DCSEU in 2012, Tower has completed a number of efficiency projects in its District buildings, such as upgrades to boiler systems, building automation systems, lighting retrofits, variable frequency drives, and the incorporation of additional occupancy sensors.
Tower’s property at 1828 L Street NW is a 340,000 SF LEED® Gold and ENERGY STAR certified, multi-tenant office building that includes 120,000 square feet of a four-level below-grade parking garage. Working with the DCSEU in 2015, Tower replaced more than 850 lamps and fixtures in the parking garage and below-grade back of house areas with high quality, ENERGY STAR and Design Lights Consortium (DLC) qualified lifetime warrantied LEDs. The energy savings—estimated at more than $20,000 per year—will reduce operating costs not only from direct energy savings but also from maintenance savings. The brighter, more reliable lighting will also increase tenant safety and also help improve the reliability of day-to-day operations for the property management and engineering teams. The retrofit will pay for itself in less than 5 years.
This garage lighting retrofit project is a result of a recommendation that came from Tower’s real-time energy management program, which was implemented across their entire portfolio in 2012 to significantly increase energy savings and improve operations through a variety of energy conservation measures. The second phase of this project will be to install zoned motion sensors in the garage in late 2016 or early 2017. The company is also working with the DCSEU to upgrade the lobby lights to LEDs, and to complete a larger, more comprehensive lighting retrofit at 1707 L Street NW.
“The 1828 L Street parking garage lighting project is a great example to share with other building owners and was a ‘no-brainer’ since the lights are on 24/7. It demonstrates a clear benefit for making low-risk investments to yield significant energy savings that will contribute to lower operating costs,” said Eugenia Gregorio, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Tower Companies. “I would strongly encourage others to partner with programs like the DCSEU to help achieve both short and long-term energy efficiency goals.”
As a partner in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge, Tower has committed to reducing both energy and water consumption 20% by 2020 for over nearly 3 million square feet of its building portfolio in the District and in Maryland. The lighting retrofit in the 1828 L Street parking garage will contribute to this goal and save approximately 165 MWh per year—the equivalent of more than 15 homes’ electricity use for one year. Since 2010, the company has reduced energy and water consumption nearly 15%, serving as a model for companies of its kind in the District and across the country.