Purpose of the project
MetLife created the Energy and Sustainability Challenge in order to increase sustainability awareness and prompt sustainable activities throughout all properties. The Challenge allows properties to share ideas and compete against one another in energy reduction, waste diversion, and water conservation, among other metrics. This offers a collaborative and competitive environment, in which action is encouraged organically, without direct mandates from MetLife. The Challenge included the MetLife NBIM Entity and Core Property Fund.
The Energy and Sustainability Challenge was presented to all MetLife properties. Instead of only focusing on energy reduction, numerous other factors were taken into account. The Challenge scoring criteria included the following: innovation/ creativity, successful planning and implementation, team work, realized or expected results (e.g. expense reductions, improved efficiencies and performance vs. project costs) and quality of submittal (clear, concise, etc).
Additionally, MetLife outlined activities which were reported in the Challenge submittals. These activities include the following:
1) Register and benchmark utility usage to EPA’s ENERGY STAR and share property data with MREI. Pursue certification plaques for all eligible buildings.
2) Perform energy audit and implement no-cost, low-cost and cost effective strategies to improve energy and water efficiency.
3) Adopt and adhere to approved green cleaning protocols. Update janitorial service contracts to include green cleaning specifications and terms.
4) Establish energy reduction target (as a %) over a five year period using a benchmark year starting sometime between 2010 - 2013.
5) Develop near- and long-term waste stream reduction targets and implement waste management initiatives.
6) Engage tenants/residents in energy and water conservation and waste management initiatives.
7) Consider high performance properties (properties with an ENERGY STAR rating >75) as candidates for LEED certification. Review LEED Certification potential and implement certification process, if justified.
8) For properties that are currently LEED Certified, maintain/improve LEED Certification status for next recertification date.
9) Provide quarterly updates on E&S initiatives.
MetLife provided 1.5 months to document activities and nominate projects.
Twenty-five properties were nominated for the Energy and Sustainability Challenge Awards; these include 7 Domestic Regional Offices, 16 Asset Managers and 10 Management Companies. This demonstrates the excitement and involvement incited by the Challenge. Asset Managers and Property Managers throughout the country implemented and documented sustainable practices. Metlife selected 7 Regional Award Winners, 6 Property Type Award Winners and 1 National Award Winner.
The Nominations included numerous innovative initiatives. Each nominated property outlined a Challenge, Solution and Benefits. A few of these initiatives are included below.
- Upgraded an obsolete chiller plant, saving over $120,000 in annual utility costs.
- Partnered with electricity provider to implement Peak Demand Response program, and installed an energy monitoring and management software platform. These activities also contributed to achieving LEED Gold certification.
- Created a rainwater recovery program for irrigation.
- Retrofitted all lighting fixtures/ bulbs in common areas, saving approximately $21,000 over four years.
- Expanded rainwater recovery program to reuse water in cooling towers, saving approximately $19,000 in one year.
The activities listed above are representative of all nominations, in that the initiatives had both quantitative and qualitative benefits. While some initiatives were easy to quantify, such as the chiller replacement, others had a significant environmental benefit, which is difficult to monetize, such as the rainwater recovery program. Both of these activities were encouraged and rewarded throughout the Challenge.
MetLife will utilize all of the information provided to create new goals for future years and to update the Challenge for 2015.
"We designed our program to tap into the best thinking of our asset managers and third party property managers. Their energy, competitive spirit and desire to increase sustainability awareness has really ignited enthusiasm for the program and helped to identify sustainability initiatives that work best for each individual property.”
- Kevin Wenzel, Director and Head of Asset Management - MetLife Real Estate Investors