South Florida office supports green energy ventures

December 10, 2012

All too often commercial property owners believe that investing in green energy or sustainable technology will drive up the cost of construction projects. However, with the smart incorporation of the right materials and systems a property owner can build an energy-efficient property without putting themselves in the red.

Community Newspapers reports that Transwestern's south Florida office has recently announced that its 255 Alhambra Circle property has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. The accreditation comes from the U.S. Green Building Council in the existing buildings category. The building is 13-stories high, 231,000 square feet and is a multi-tenant office, with retail tenants taking up the first floor.

"There has been a perception that ‘greening’ the current standards of existing buildings is too costly or arduous of a task. Transwestern believes the overwhelming benefits of creating sustainable and efficient buildings are financially beneficial for both our tenants and ownership as well as sound environmental stewardship," said Marta Fernandez, General Manager with Transwestern, who managed the certification process on behalf of the building’s ownership. "With a 40 year old building, there was concern that we would not even qualify for LEED certification. However, through the guidance of Transwestern Sustainability Services working alongside our skilled management team, we were able to reach LEED Gold for 255 Alhambra, and without a large capital expenditure."

To earn the certification, owners of 255 Alhambra Circle had to implement a number of green building initiatives, having 17.5 percent of tenants use alternative forms of transportation to commute to and from work – even though the structure is in the middle of a suburban area. According to the news source, the building also has been outfitted with low flow aerators, low-flush toilets and urinals to reduce potable water use by 37.6 percent.

A number of organizations are working together to further advance the integration of green energy design into current and new structures. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy established the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub). The agency was intended as an Energy-Regional Innovation Center, intent on driving the inclusion of green construction techniques and the incorporate of sustainable design. EEB Hub hopes to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and promote regional economic growth in Pennsylvania.