By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Rockville, Md.—The Tower Cos., a major developer of commercial properties in metro Washington, D.C., has said that it will incorporate the Building Owners and Managers Association International’s 7-Point Challenge as part of business practice. Benchmarks in the 7-Point Green Challenge include, among other things, decreasing energy consumption by 30 percent across portfolios by 2012; employing the Energy Star metrics to benchmark energy performance and water usage; providing education to engineers, owners and operators about energy usage; performing energy audits to implement low-risk and low-cost strategies; and improving operations and building maintenance systems.
According to Jeffrey S. Abramson, Tower partner, the adoption of BOMA’s challenge won’t mean a radical change in corporate practices, since the company has been following sustainable practices for quite a while. It has also been recognized for its pursuit of green development. Multi-Housing News named the company “2010 Awards of Excellence Development Company of the Year,” for its green initiatives and outreach.
Tower’s 2000 Tower Oaks Blvd. was the region’s first LEED platinum multi-tenant commercial office building, as well as the world’s largest Vedic one—an interpretation of Indian architecture—and the subject of a Harvard Case Study. The company’s Tower Building, 1828 L Street, and 1909 K Street are Energy Star rated, while 1828 L Street is LEED gold, while the Tower Building and 1707 L Street are LEED silver, and 1909 K Street is LEED certified. Tower has also installed a total of nine electric vehicle charging stations in six of its 11 LEED-certified properties.
In the multifamily realm, the company’s Blair Towns was certified LEED-EBOM (LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance) platinum. Previously, the U.S. Green Building Council had recognized the property as the country’s first LEED-certified multifamily rental community.
Abramson tells MHN that incorporating the 7-Point Challenge will make its multifamily developments more competitive, besides offering environmental benefits. “We are introducing separate apartment metering in the fall when our tenants will start to pay for utilities for the first time,” he says. “They will be able to monitor the bills on line, in real time, so they can set limits, and not have to wait until the end of the month. That puts them in control of their utility bills.”
Ultimately, he adds, “our tenants and future tenants will be able to take advantage of our eco-renovations and have lower bills than those of our competitors. Tenants also know they are living in a community with immediate access to Metro and shopping, and where sustainability is behind every decision.”