JLL’s Robbins Schneider touts reducing energy use in commercial buildings

NEW YORK, NY — Reducing the amount of energy that commercial buildings use is the single most crucial task facing the real estate industry, according to Dana Robbins Schneider, managing director, with JLL’s Energy and Sustainability Services group. Robbins Schneider has been a featured speaker at numerous recent industry events, educating owners and developers on tools that are now available to significantly reduce energy use and associated costs at any building. Robbins Schneider covered this topic in a keynote presentation she gave at the Future Facilities Summit. The issue was also the focus of the tours of the Empire State Building that she led for attendees of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s 2015 International Conference, held from Oct. 26th to Oct. 30th at the New York Grand Hyatt in Manhattan.Robbins Schneider highlighted her work at the Empire State Building, where she oversaw an intensive eight-month initiative to design a sustainability program for the property. The effort achieved energy cost savings of nearly 40% at the historic building. Robbins Schneider and the project partners created tools that could be replicated to implement similar energy retrofit programs in a cost-effective manner at any building.

“The retrofitting project for the Empire State Building was designed to lessen its impact on the environment and, more importantly, to provide an example for developers and governments around the world that sustainability is economically feasible,” said Robbins Schneider. “In major cities like New York, commercial and residential buildings account for more than 75 percent of total energy use.”The Empire State Building consumes as much energy as 40,000 single family homes in a single day. The energy retrofit currently saves the building $4.4 million annually in energy costs, and reduces 105,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 13 years — equivalent to removing 25,000 cars from the road. In addition, JLL and the project partners retrofitted 6,514 windows in the building, reducing summer heat load and winter heat loss, and retrofitted HVAC systems to optimize the existing building control system. The retrofits also helped to stimulate the local economy while creating more than 250 local and regional jobs during the course of the retrofits, from manufacturing to construction and engineering.“80% of the buildings that exist in New York today will still be here in 2050, and investing capital to increase efficiency is one of the best returns on investment an owner can achieve,” said Robbins Schneider. “Retrofitting existing buildings is also the best way for a city to become environmentally sustainable.”

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