LEED O+M: Existing Buildings v3 - LEED 2009
Park Central 7
LEED Gold 2011
The below stakeholder perspectives address the following LEED credits:
SSc3, SSc4, WEc2, EAc3.1, EQc3.6
Goals and motivations
What were the top overarching goals and objectives?
One of the main energy goals was optimizing the building's Energy Management System (EMS) capabilities. Working with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing consultants we were able to identify what performance improvements could be made to the system. The upgrades that were made to the EMS allowed our engineers to keep close surveillance on building performance and increase precision with zone specific adjustments. For example, current transformers were added to the Siemens Talon EMS to better monitor the consumption of the Flakt Air Handler fans, cooling tower, and pumps.
The end result was driving down electrical costs.
In order to lower consumption of potable water, low flow toilets, urinals, and faucets were installed that dispensed water at a rate of 1.6 gpm, 1.0 gpm, and 0.5 gpm respectively.
Tenant Well Being:
In order to improve tenant well being at Park Central 7 we focused on improving environmental quality as well as tenant expectations. The property's recycling program was implemented in a way that required minimal tenant effort, resulting in higher participation rates. Other initiatives focused on increased awareness of alternative commuting and automatic light sensors. We wanted tenants to feel like they were working in a healthy, top-performing building. One other example of our efforts was the change in pest control procedures at Park Central 7 from preventive controls with chemicals to the elimination of all chemicals. A preventive, non-chemical approach allowed us to handle pest problems effectively while creating a healthier work environment.
What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?
An unexpected result of pursuing LEED credits involved the cooling towers. Late during the certification process our team discovered an alternative, more efficient method for treating the cooling tower water. A diffusion-based chemical method of water treatment was implemented, which helped Park Central 7 earn an Innovation in Design credit (IDc1). The traditional method of treatment used a liquid in such quantities that it had to be delivered via freight trucks, while chemical tablets are now delivered via UPS. This new method contributes to an overall reduced environmental footprint by reducing transportation emissions, product packaging, decreased water toxicity, and lowered supply costs. Indirectly, the electricity consumption at the cooling towers is reduced by the elimination of supplemental pump use for chemical mixing. Energy savings at the cooling tower helps contribute to our achievement of EAc1 Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance.
Even though the decision for the diffusion-based system was made late in the certification process, effective communication between the various stakeholders involved with the project helped facilitate the installation of the new system before the performance period ended.
Photo by Jay Miller
Parmenter Realty Partners removed the existing fountain in order to reduce excess water and electrical consumption. New interior planters hold large trees that naturally improve the indoor air quality of the space.
Our approach to pest control was new at the property. We transitioned from a preventive chemical treatment that focused on elimination of pests indoors to a preventive non-chemical approach focused on preventing pest entry into the building. The property was evaluated at every point of entry from top to bottom. Any roof penetrations were sealed. Any door leading to the exterior that had light showing through was modified by using weather stripping or other adjustments. Building electrical and janitorial closets were also inspected and all holes or entry points were caulked or sealed. As for the building exterior, our ongoing pest program changed from blanketing chemical applications to focused monitoring of pest activity. When pests are recognized, the affected areas are treated and then returned to being monitored once pests have vacated.
One effective strategy for reducing energy use at Park Central 7 was to improve our Energy Management System (EMS). This system was upgraded to allow the monitoring and trending of cooling fans, condenser and evaporator pumps, and air handler fans. More detailed visualization of our building systems helps identify trend points and any abnormalities day to day. Analyzing energy consumption helps to identify areas of concern and allows any system problems to be identified more quickly, thus saving money over time. For example, after the upgrades we noticed that the system was turning on the second chiller prematurely. We were able to make system adjustments to stay at the optimal operating configuration with only one chiller on.
The goal of the recycling program was twofold: to reduce the amount of ongoing consumables coming into the building and to reduce the amount of waste generated by the building. During the LEED kick-off event for our tenants, we provided reusable water bottles and totes. Proactive tenant education helped with the first goal of source reduction. The company's first ever waste stream audit was conducted in conjunction with our cleaning contractor, which proved to be educational for our tenants and ourselves. Our property newsletter highlighted the results of the audit, and encouraged more tenant participation through data sharing. In order to make the new recycling program easy for tenants, we placed individual recycling bins at occupant desks. At all times, our goal was to minimize the requirement for major behavioral changes.
Aside from LEED certification, what do you consider key project successes?
A year after Park Central was awarded LEED-EB Gold the property had reduced electricity usage by 3.3%. Energy efficiency measures cut the buildings energy use from 16.5 kWh/sf to 15.9 kWh/sf. This reduction resulted in an annual energy savings of $20,800 after taking into consideration the change in fuel costs. In the same year Park Central's Energy Star score climbed from 87 to 92.
One intangible benefit experienced by our project team was a deeper understanding of the property, building systems, and operations. We made positive changes that benefited our company, our tenants, and the environment. For little to no cost we were able to improve the triple bottom line, which is a metric that would be used on future projects.
Photo by Jay Miller
In order to maximize tenant well-being a shade garden with wifi access and a putting green was installed in a previously underutilized central courtyard.
For little to no cost we were able to improve the triple bottom line, which is a metric that would be used on future projects.
We also learned more about our tenant's employees. While engaging and educating tenants during certification we were pleased to see them intrigued and appreciative about the building's commitment to sustainability.
We discovered during the LEED process that some of the tenants with existing leases had green initiatives that mirrored those of Parmenter. The process of certification helped us meet those tenant's initiatives, which increased retention rates. Since achieving LEED-EB Gold, Park Central has also been able to attract new tenants with similar values.
As Project Lead, Monica Gonzalez kept everyone on track and moving in a forward direction. Weekly conference calls were conducted to go over each credit in detail and to appoint responsibility for documentation. This collaborative approach facilitated idea sharing and creativity. For example, the entire team often weighed pros and cons of potential strategies to accomplish and achieve specific credit points - even if some of the people were not directly responsible for the credit. This type of collaboration helped the project team implement new strategies related to the cooling towers even as the project was approaching the end of the performance period. All of the LEED-EB credits that we attempted were achieved, a result of our regular calls with the entire project team.
Photo by Jay Miller
A rock feature that mimics a creek bed utilizes local material and allows water infiltration.
This project was the first LEED project for most of the team members. One aspect we found difficult was to know the most effective process to gather data for Sustainable Sites credit 4. Achieving full participation on surveys is inherently difficult , and while we required survey completion for entrance into a LEED tenant event, many building occupants did not attend the event. Emailed surveys were routinely forgotten within the allotted timeframe, and we had to attempt to gather data multiple times. In addition, some of the credits require tenant fit-out plans, sections, and electrical controls data, which we often did not have for renovations that occurred before our ownership. We visited some tenants three or four times to obtain the necessary data, which was very time consuming.
In order to reduce the time required by both tenants and property managers, we developed a standardized data-collection process, which has been used by Parmenter project teams on other LEED projects. We have found the use of a professional surveying company to be very helpful, as they include a web-based platform for surveys and guarantee responses. In addition, we combined the LEED surveys with our standard annual tenant survey so that the impact on the tenants was minimal.
Photo by Jay Miller
Secure bike storage was added as a result of our LEED-EB pursuit. Tenant access cards are specially programmed to provide entry.
What was the value of applying LEED to this project?
A benefit of LEED certification at Park Central 7 was the demonstration of Parmenter's commitment to sustainability. Another benefit was improved tenant retention, as many tenants were interested in occupying a building with green building credentials. The changes made to the building and its operations, which were documented during the LEED process, drew attention to the building's energy efficiency measures, healthy indoor air quality, and responsible stewardship of the local environment.
Photo by Jay Miller
Park Central’s fitness center is available to all tenants. It is a benefit for tenant wellbeing, and they consistently rate it highly on their tenant satisfaction surveys.
As a second benefit of LEED-EB:OM certification, team members involved in the LEED process now look at the property with a more holistic view. Decisions made concerning retrofits, system changes, tenant space planning, and even landscape management now take into consideration the triple bottom line. The Park Central team now coordinates every aspect of the property and its operation to maximize efficiency. For instance, after LEED certification was completed, our team continued investigating ways to increase Park Central's energy efficiency. By implementing a day cleaning program we decreased after-hours operation of the building's HVAC and lighting systems, which further reduced the building's energy demand.
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