TIAA-CREF has trimmed the energy intensity of its global real estate holdings by 3.6 percent in the past 12 months, and earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Partner of the Year award for the second consecutive year, the pension fund said last week.
The energy reduction was achieved by implementing efficiency measures mainly in its commercial office holdings, which total about 43 million square feet. Not counted in the 3.6 percent figure are opportunities to trim energy use in its 12,000-unit multifamily real estate portfolio, which the company has been analyzing to establish an energy baseline before making improvements.
TIAA-CREF began benchmarking the energy use of its real estate investments in 2007. It pledged last year to pursue a 10 percent cut in the energy consumption of its properties by 2010.
That commitment is saving both energy and money, said Nicholas Stolatis, director of strategic initiatives for TIAA-CREF Global Real Estate.
“Creating value for our tenants and clients and reducing our impact on the environment are closely tied together,” Stolatis said, “as implementing no- and low-cost and accretive capital improvements to improve energy efficiency also improves the economics of our real estate investment portfolio.”
Portfolio-wide, TIAA-CREF is engaging its property managers to make simple but effective operational changes, like verifying lights are shut off at night and running buildings on Saturdays only at a tenant’s request.
Other efficiency solutions are more creative. At its 730 Third Ave. headquarters in New York, the company replaced the building’s mechanical cooling system with energy-saving ice thermal storage chillers, preventing 6 million pounds of carbon from entering the atmosphere, it said.
TIAA-CREF has more than $363 billion in assets under management, including direct and indirect investments of $63 billion in global real estate. Its U.S. properties include the 40-story office tower at 1 South Wacker in Chicago, Boston’s 99 High Street building, and several 1 million-square-foot enclosed malls.