Investing $1.5 million in energy-efficient upgrades was a big investment for ICORR Properties International, which manages the 12-story, 142,000-square-foot One Sarasota Tower. But going green immediately began to pay off.
For the last several years, ICORR vice president Earl Fossum has been on a campaign to improve the 24-year-old, Class A office building’s energy efficiency. By partnering with the Sarasota-based office of Hill York’s Energy Solutions Performance Group, ICORR lowered One Sarasota Tower’s utility costs. “We had been spending $500,000 a year on electric bills, and we reduced that consumption by 34 percent,” Fossum says.
Fluorescent light bulbs with timers were installed. Staff began turning off the lights on the upper fourth of the parking garage where the sunlight is brightest, and shut off all the parking lot lights at midnight instead of running them needlessly for 24 hours a day.
Hill York also examined the motors that control the air-conditioning system. “The building used to take in air from outside and try to condition it and distribute it throughout the building. Instead, we put in variable CO2 sensors to sense when we needed fresh air as opposed to bringing it in 100 percent of the time,” says Hill York’s director of energy services, Rob Pulsifer. “We have improved the efficiency of the equipment by over 50 percent.”
The reduction in kilowatt hours and greenhouse gas emissions after all the energy improvements is the equivalent of permanently removing 181 passenger vehicles from Sarasota’s roads, Pulsifer says.
To complete the initial energy assessment, ICORR provided the engineers with two full years of energy bills, which allowed them to track the highs and lows of usage. Then ICORR compared the costs of keeping existing equipment to replacing it.
“We looked at how much we were spending to repair our 24-year-old equipment every year,” Fossum says. “Yes, the price of buying the new equipment was substantial. But if we kept going where we were going, we would have spent that $1.5 million in the next 10 years and still have had [decades]-old technology. Now in 10 years, though we’ve spent that money already, the savings will pay for it.”
For companies that may not have the upfront capital for energy-efficient projects, grants and rebate programs are available through Florida Power & Light.
“We have a lot of high-profile tenants—federal tenants and large financial companies—and one of the things they look for is buildings that are run efficiently,” Fossum says. “If you want the best tenants, it is important to give them the best building, and the investment will pay for itself.”
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