Purpose of the project
Waterfront Station is a Triple Net leased building with a government agency as the tenant. The owner, USAA Real Estate Company, and the property management company, Vornado, wanted to accurately benchmark the building’s energy use, but needed information from the tenant about the energy demand of the data center.
The tenant, the DC Government, also benefitted as they were seeking to improve their Energy Star score and better understand the energy costs of their data center.
This tenant engagement benefitted ownership and the tenant and aligned their efforts for the best outcome.
In July 2013, after a 3-year grace period allowing the use of default values, EPA ENERGY STAR began requiring that buildings applying for ENERGY STAR certification use metered values for a key data center metric. To obtain the necessary metric, landlords need an energy reading at the output of the tenant’s uninterruptible power supply (UPS).The catch is that not all data centers have meters installed in this location. And when they do, the meter and associated energy data is owned by the tenant, which makes it difficult for the landlord to gather the necessary information.
Meeting the ENERGY STAR requirement called for a new kind of landlord-tenant collaboration. The building management team started by engaging with the tenant’s IT department and energy management staff. The tenant’s interest in sustainability and transparency was evident, as DC recently became the first jurisdiction in the country to publicly disclose the real-time energy use of its own buildings (via BuildSmartDC.com), and requires larger privately owned buildings to benchmark and disclose their annual energy use. “This was a great opportunity to learn something new and improve our energy transparency,” said Sam Brooks, Director of Energy and Sustainability at the DC Department of General Services. “By taking this next step, we knew we could more accurately calculate our building’s ENERGY STAR score and set an example for others in the District.”
Through an effective property management team, Vornado, tenant decision makers, maintenance contractors and an owner’s requirement, the building was able to fully capture data center consumption through the UPS. Once the energy use of the data center is tracked for 12 consecutive months, a more accurate ENERGY STAR score can be generated, normalizing the building’s energy use for the data center energy demand.
Now that the building has been fully benchmarked for a sufficient amount of time, the Energy Star Performance Rating has improved 10% and is more accurately representing building energy use.
“USAA Real Estate Company views sustainability as an integral part of our overall strategic approach to asset management and ownership by integrating it into the way the organization does business. Our strong culture of sustainability supports government goals, engages our tenants and strengthens tenant relations”
-Sam Mitts, Executive Managing Director Portfolio Management