BOMA International: Greening the Way

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation with more than 17,000 members with the mission of enhancing the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information. In 2009 alone, the five billion square of private office space located within the markets served by BOMA’s 92 local associations generated $40.8 billion in direct operating outlays to the benefit of workers and businesses within their host jurisdictions. A cornerstone of BOMA’s success is its leadership in developing tools and programs that are transforming commercial real estate to meet energy efficiency goals through a dedicated, voluntary marketplace. Partnering for the “Greener” Good BOMA is leading the way by partnering with various organizations to create new green solutions for the commercial real estate industry. BOMA and the Clinton Climate Initiative recently released the groundbreaking BOMA Energy Performance Contract (BEPC) model to allow building owners to perform major energy retrofits to existing buildings by removing key barriers. The Empire State Building’s recent green retrofit is the most visible project in which the BEPC model was implemented. In the BEPC model, the owner/operator sets the financial and environmental criteria for the project up front, and the energy service company (ESCO) provides a turn-key solution that meets or exceeds those criteria. The utility and operational savings derived from the building efficiency project are used to repay the cost of the project, and the ESCO financially guarantees the energy savings that will be achieved, assuming project risk and compensating the owner for any savings shortfalls. This new model of energy performance contracting is exactly the tool building owners need to enhance asset value through affordable energy retrofits. In addition to strategic partnerships with the Clinton Climate Initiative, the U.S. Green Building Council, Green Building Initiative and many others, BOMA partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in the development of the Commercial Real Estate Energy Alliance (CREEA). CREEA is an informal association of commercial real estate owners and operators who work with DOE and DOE’s national laboratories to advance efficient building technologies, promote the construction of high-performance buildings, and reduce energy consumption and the carbon footprint of the commercial real estate market. Setting and Meeting New Challenges Current research estimates that energy consumption in commercial buildings accounts for 18 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In July 2007 BOMA International launched the 7-Point Challenge, which challenges BOMA members to reduce the use of natural resources, non-renewable energy sources and waste production throughout the commercial building marketplace. Since its launch, BOMA’s 7-Point Challenge has been widely embraced throughout the marketplace, with more than 120 member companies and local associations representing more than two billion square feet of office space endorsing the Challenge. It has garnered industry and media attention for its ambitious but achievable goal to improve energy efficiency across real estate company portfolios by 30 percent by 2012 (based on an ENERGY STAR® average building rating of 50).

BOMA has extended its green outreach to City Hall, working with cities and municipalities to bring awareness to the role commercial real estate plays in reducing energy consumption. Several cities and counties have stepped up to endorse the 7-Point Challenge, including Albuquerque, Denver, Orlando, Phoenix and Orange County, Florida. BOMA also recently developed a version of the Challenge for vendors. The vendor challenge encourages suppliers of products and services to implement energy efficient and sustainable policies within their corporate facilities and to work with their customers – commercial real estate owners and managers – to provide expertise and knowledge of the products, equipment, services or programs they offer to help customers evaluate green strategies to facilitate market transformation. Providing Green Business Solutions The critically acclaimed BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) continues to rank among the leading green educational programs with more than 14,000 industry professionals learning low and no-cost strategies to reduce energy consumption. BOMA built on BEEP’s success with the development of the Sustainable Operations Series (SOS), a four webinar series that teaches practical ways to implement sustainable building operations. The BOMA International Conference and The Every Building Show™ is another venue where BOMA’s green programming for existing buildings is meeting industry demand. At this year’s conference, an entire track of education is dedicated to helping property professionals build a sustainable bottom line. The courses in this track will examine the long-term, bottom-line benefits of sustainability for existing buildings. The Every Building Show also features the BOMA Green Pavilion and ENERGY STAR Showcase, which features expert exhibitors representing the top suppliers of green and energy-efficient solutions. BOMA recently published the industry’s first green lease guide by “greening” the popular Guide to Writing a Commercial Real Estate Lease by Steven A. Teitelbaum, Esq. This instant best seller includes enforceable lease language to ensure tenants comply with the building’s green priorities and includes annotations for ENERGY STAR, LEED and GBI rating programs. In 2009, BOMA introduced the BOMA 360 Performance Program, a groundbreaking new program designed to validate and recognize commercial properties that demonstrate best practices in all major areas of building operations and management. Two of the six categories of evaluation are Energy and Environmental/Sustainability. BOMA 360-designated buildings are evaluated on an extensive list of criteria, including ENERGY STAR® Benchmarking, ENERGY STAR® Products for Building and Tenants, Building Energy Management , Energy Audit/System Commissioning/Re-Commissioning , 7-Point Challenge Acceptance, Waste Management and Recycling Policies, Indoor Air Quality, Green Cleaning, Exterior Maintenance Management, Water Management and Traffic Reduction Initiatives. But Don’t Take Our Word For It… Listen to what others are saying. BOMA has been recognized for the positive impact of its green initiatives. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has honored BOMA’s groundbreaking energy efficiency initiatives and programs for the past four years, with the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award in 2007 and 2008, and the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award in 2009 and 2010. BOMA is the first and only real estate association to receive these honors. BOMA also received the 2009 EPA Climate Protection Award—the EPA’s highest honor—for BOMA’s leadership, innovation and dedication to protecting the climate.

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