You are on page 1of 4

Bank of America Plaza

Columbia, South Carolina

Case study

Commitment to increase energy efficiency, building performance paves way to LEED Gold
The Bank of America Plaza anchors an entire city block at the north end of downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Since taking ownership in 2006, Cooper Realty Investments has been increasing the energy efficiency and performance of the building with the help of Johnson Controls and NAI Avant, the property management company. With their sights set on LEED certification, the team leveraged the improvements they made and took them to the next level. As a result, the Plaza is the first building in the state to achieve LEED Gold certification for existing buildings. The Plaza is a 17-story office complex housing 302,340 square feet of Class A+ commercial office space. Major tenants include banking, commercial real estate, investment securities and insurance companies, law and accounting offices, and a State Senator. Cooper first considered pursuing LEED certification at another building within its portfolio. The company wanted to be a pioneer in the region and we knew that a LEED rating can be an influencer for prospective tenants. As we started the process at that facility, we quickly learned that we were much further along at the Plaza because of the work weve done there with Johnson Controls, says Allen Stewart, chief engineer. We already had many of the systems in place and were doing a lot of the required tracking and recording, adds Amy Marthers, property manager. It was time to put the necessary policies and procedures into place and document them.

The path to LEED

Johnson Controls has been servicing building controls at the Plaza since it opened in 1989. After taking ownership in May of 2006, Cooper challenged Johnson Controls to provide a solution for improving the performance and energy efficiency of the building, and achieving long-term savings wherever possible. Within six months, Johnson Controls proposed and initiated a retrocommissioning study to identify potential energy conservation measures within the building. Over the course of the next year and a half Johnson Controls Were very proud of what weve implemented a variety of approved accomplished with our building. We do energy conservation measures resulting have prospects looking at us from cities in an annual utility cost savings of over like New York and Atlanta where LEED is $43,000. These measures included more common, so our certification sets upgrading variable air volume controls from pneumatic to digital, installation us apart from our competition. of variable-speed drives on all cooling equipment, building-wide lighting control retrofits, and upgrading the building Amy Marthers controls to a Johnson Controls Metasys Property Manager building management system. NAI Avant
Bank of America Plaza. Bank Lobby.

A keypad on each floor allows tenants to override the preset schedule for HVAC and lighting. Because those billable hours can be tracked and reported, it helps Marthers better manage energy costs and justify tenant charge-backs when appropriate. These capabilities have a positive impact on leasing and tenant retention when our building is compared to others in the area, adds Marthers. The ENERGY STAR rating system was used to benchmark building performance at the beginning and end of the retrocommissioning process. The rating system accounts for the impacts of year-to-year weather variations, as well as building size, location and several operating characteristics. Training of building management and facility operators on how to update ENERGY STAR data and effective utilization of the Metasys system was provided as part of the retrocommissioning process. This helps ensure the long-lasting benefits of the process. An ongoing controls-based service agreement with Johnson Controls ensures system performance and optimization. From where I sit, Johnson Controls professionalism and willingness to clearly explain things helps us work efficiently, without a lot of back and forth, on a day-to-day basis, says Marthers. Stewart adds, the Johnson Controls service team in Columbia is one of the best Ive worked with. I feel like were all on the same page and theyre looking at the big picture like we do. The buildings ENERGY STAR rating in April 2008 was 84 after some of the energy conservation measures had been completed, and the building received the ENERGY STAR award. For Cooper, NAI Avant and Johnson Controls, the rating served as a key indicator of their potential to obtain the Gold rating.

At a Glance
Bank of America Plaza Columbia, SC
Energy reduction


Water reduction


Averaging 120 pounds of recyclable material and 160 bags of shredded paper monthly. Grass clippings are mulched and recycled back into the soil. Composting of annual plantings and leaves. Use of Green Seal Certified cleaning agents.

The Metasys system communicates using standard web browsers and maximizes monitoring and control of all mechanical and electrical systems throughout the building. Control sequencing enhancements were done on equipment throughout the building. New controls on water heaters and unit heaters allow for off-hour scheduling and control sequencing to reduce energy consumption. Power monitoring initiatives included sub-metering of individual floors and select equipment. In the past, our buildings HVAC and lights basically ran 24/7. We are now able to better program equipment based on when the building is actually in use. And, were able to give tenants some control of their own space during off-hours, which they like, says Marthers.

Going for Gold

The Plaza is the first existing building in the state to achieve a LEED Gold rating and the energy conservation measures implemented early-on set that course. When Coopers CEO decided to pursue LEED certification at a building within the companys portfolio in 2008, Johnson Controls brought its energy and sustainability champions into play. The team quickly determined that the Bank of America Plaza was already well positioned to achieve LEED Gold and initiated the certification process in October of that year.

is sub-metered, allowing energy in smaller areas to be tracked and further enhancements to be made. In April 2009 the building achieved an ENERGY STAR rating of 87, once again receiving the ENERGY STAR award. Johnson Controls also managed the certification process including the completion of all necessary documents and submittal to the USGBC for review. As a result of the cooperative efforts of Cooper, NAI Avant and Johnson Controls, the Plaza was awarded Gold certification in March 2010.

Lindsay Copelin, Allen Stewart, Amy Marthers and Michael Moore make up the Cooper, NAI Avant team involved with the LEED project.

A significant part of the project and Gold rating is tied to building controls As the LEED consultant, Johnson Controls and the resulting savings. For example, facilitated the process by providing an Innovation in Operations credit was direction through the procurement tracking received for the occupancy override process and helping collect information keypads used on individual floors. from personnel and tenants. Cleaning A total of 56 points were earned in six and recycling practices along with basic credit categories on the LEED scorecard. everyday operations were identified to Most notable was Energy & Atmosphere assist in writing internal policies and at 21 of 30 possible points, Indoor procedures. Green cleaning practices Environmental Quality at 15 of 19 possible implemented require the use of Green points, and Innovation in Operations at 5 Seal Certified cleaning agents, which of 7 possible points. improve the environment by reducing toxins and waste, conserving natural Energy use was reduced by 15 percent resources and minimizing ozone depletion. and water by 40 percent at the Plaza, Environmentally friendly practices extend as a result of the sustainability initiatives outside too, where lawnmowers with that have been put in place. Recycling mulching decks are used, and annual programs have led to the collection of plantings are composted and used for soil 120 pounds of recyclable material and 160 enhancement. bags of shredded paper monthly. Johnson Controls identified and implemented additional upgrades to achieve certification, including installation of fresh air measurement and CO2 monitors to better control indoor air quality. Additional power monitors were installed to allow for sub-metering of chillers and lighting control panels. Metasys system trending was written to sub-meter all variable-speed drives and generate reports. As a result, nearly 80 percent of the energy in the building Were very proud of what weve accomplished with our building. We do have prospects looking at us from cities like New York and Atlanta where LEED is more common, so our certification sets us apart from our competition, states Marthers. This really was a team effort, which is important for anyone considering this process to understand. Knowledge, commitment and follow through are key and as a team, we had that.

The Johnson Controls service team in Columbia is one of the best Ive worked with. I feel like were all on the same page and theyre looking at the big picture like we do.

Allen Stewart Chief Engineer NAI Avant

LEED Facts
Bank of America Plaza Columbia, SC
LEED for Existing Building Operations & Maintenance Certification awarded June 2009

Sustainable Sites Water Efficiency Energy & Atmosphere Materials & Resources Indoor Environmental Quality Innovation in Operations
*Out of a possible 92 points

5/12 3/10 21/30 7/14 15/19 5/7

The LEED Certification Mark is a registered trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and is used with permission. ENERGY STAR is a registered trademark of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). Metasys is a registered trademark of Johnson Controls, Inc. Printed on recycled paper. 2010 Johnson Controls, Inc. Printed in USA CSST-10-126