TIAA-CREF-Owned Seattle Properties Earn Energy Star Certification

Of the first 17 existing multifamily properties recognized by the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, three are properties owned by TIAA-CREF. The U.S. financial services organization and leading real estate investor owns Aspira, Circa Green Lake and the Prescott Wallingford apartments, all located in Seattle.

New York—Of the first 17 existing multifamily properties recognized by the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, three are properties owned by TIAA-CREF. The U.S. financial services organization and leading real estate investor owns Aspira, Circa Green Lake and the Prescott Wallingford apartments, all located in Seattle.

The certification is recognition that these trailblazing properties are more energy efficient than 75 percent of comparable properties across the nation.

This is the first time existing multifamily buildings have been eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. In the past, certification had been limited to those new construction multifamily buildings that met prescriptive design requirements for high performance.

The new 1-100 ENERGY STAR score and certification for existing multifamily properties is based on nationally representative survey data from Fannie Mae. It will be integrated into other green building certification programs, including the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.

All three of the TIAA-CREF Seattle properties have property management teams focused on the effective implementation of the organization’s Global Real Estate Sustainability Initiative (GRESI) platform. The platform requires using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to benchmark energy and water consumption in an effort to enable the tracking and reporting of performance.

“GRESI emphasizes operational best practices that focus on efficient operations, benefitting from the value created by no-cost/low-cost actions,” Nick Stolatis, TIAA-CREF senior director and head of global sustainability, tells MHN. “In addition, all three investments participated in Seattle Light’s Powerful Neighborhoods Program to receive energy- and water-efficient fixtures. In addition to lighting retrofits, Circa Green [Lake} and Prescott [Wallingford] also installed occupancy sensors to reduce energy consumption, while Aspira, designed as a Built Green energy-efficient development, used its existing variable frequency drives to optimize HVAC operations to reduce its energy consumption.”

TIAA-CREF’s commitment is evidenced by its GRESI platform, and recognized by EPA in the bestowal of the ENERGY STAR “Partner of the Year” award on TIAA-CREF for the last seven years, Stolatis says. That commitment gives residents confidence that sustainability is fully considered in the management and operations of its residential properties. “We view recognition such as the ENERGY STAR certification as validation of our best practices, which not only serve to reduce the environmental impact of these communities, but also save money for the landlord and for the residents,” he says.

TIAA-CREF will continue to benchmark all its multifamily properties, and strive toward obtaining the whole-building data for more of its communities, which is required to earn an ENERGY STAR certification, Stolatis reports.

“Cooperation by utilities, such as that provided by Seattle Light, is critically important in this regard,” he adds. “In all cases, we will continue to engage with our residents to offer guidance and information on how they can be part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through more efficient use of our natural resources.”