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The Russ Building earns BOMA Innovative EARTH Award for Tenant Engagement Program

San Francisco, CA – May 5, 2014 – Shorenstein Properties LLC announced that the Russ Building has received the BOMA San Francisco Innovative EARTH Award for the company’s “I Will if You Will” Energy Savings Challenge.  The Challenge, part of Shorenstein’s signature Flip the Switch tenant engagement program, empowers tenants to save energy and greenhouse gas emissions by tracking office equipment energy use with modlet™ monitoring outlets.

Bill Whitfield, The Russ Building’s General Manager, accepted the award at the April membership meeting of the San Francisco Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).  Whitfield helped Shorenstein design the “I Will if You Will” Challenge and pilot tested it with two tenants in 2013.  Challenge participants committed to shutting off computers, monitors, printers, coffee makers, and other office devices, which are commonly left on after business hours.  Overall, pilot tests of the Challenge demonstrated average energy savings of 45% over baseline measurements.    

The “I Will if You Will” Challenge provides building occupants with personalized information and feedback on the impact of their energy management actions.  Property Managers offer a fun reward such as a gift card raffle or pizza party (the “I Will”) if participants commit to adopting energy saving strategies for their office devices (the “You Will”).  Participants use modlets, made by ThinkEco Inc., to wirelessly transmit real-time office device energy use information to an online dashboard.  The modlet, which earned a 2014 Top Product Award from Building Operations Management, is also able to save energy through an automated on/off schedule.  “Shorenstein’s Challenge educates individuals about plug load energy use and prompts behavior changes.  That is exactly what we designed the modlet for – to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from everyday appliances and electronics,” said Jun Shimada, CEO at ThinkEco.

According to Whitfield, tenant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  “Participants are very excited about the modlet technology and the opportunity to learn just how much energy their computers and other devices use – and how much can be saved,” he said.  For the ClimateWorks Foundation, one of the Russ Building pilot tenants, the Challenge allowed them to quantify the impact of their existing energy management practices and identify additional savings opportunities. 

Chaquita Perkins with ClimateWorks said, “We found that the break room coffee machine was using a lot of energy during nighttime hours and implemented a simple procedure for turning it off at the end of each day.”  The new coffee machine shutoff procedure saves over 290 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually – equivalent to the carbon sequestered by six trees.  As part of the Challenge, Chaquita also used a modlet for three months to monitor the energy consumption of her desktop PC, which goes to sleep automatically each night as part of the organization’s standard IT power management policy.

Shorenstein rolled out the Challenge company-wide in January and will engage 30 tenants representing nearly 1 million square feet of office space across Shorenstein’s national portfolio in 2014.  Shorenstein’s G.R.E.E.N. (Green Real Estate Environments Now) Committee created the Challenge with technical support from the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps program.  The Committee designed “I Will if You Will” based on the Earth Hour organization’s 2013 campaign of the same name.

“The Challenge personalizes sustainability for our tenants and sets up broader conversations about building energy efficiency and the environment,” said Jaxon Love, Sustainability Program Manager for Shorenstein.  According to Love, approximately 70% of the energy used in the company’s buildings is determined by occupants.  Tenant education and engagement are critical to achieving deep energy savings in commercial properties.  The Flip the Switch Program focuses on equipping tenants with information, tools, and incentives to make environmentally-friendly choices that benefit their organizations and the building.  Shorenstein initiated Flip the Switch in 2011 with a nationwide energy awareness educational tour for tenants. Since then, Shorenstein has launched the GreenShorenstein.info website devoted to tenant sustainability as well as other educational resources that make it easy to go “green”.

At the Russ Building, Whitfield’s property management team is redeploying the modlets to continue “I Will if You Will” with other interested tenants this year.  “The modlets reveal energy savings potential that really gets tenants interested in taking action.  We are finding that offering a reward often isn’t necessary because tenants are mainly excited about the opportunity to better understand their personal environmental impact,” he noted.

About Shorenstein Properties LLC

Founded in 1924, Shorenstein Properties LLC is a privately-owned real estate firm active nationally in the ownership and management of high-quality office properties, with offices in San Francisco and New York.  Starting in 1992, Shorenstein has sponsored ten closed-end investment funds with total equity commitments of $6.7 billion, of which Shorenstein committed $573.5 million.  Shorenstein uses its integrated investment and operating capabilities to take advantage of those opportunities which, at the particular time in the investment cycle, offer the most attractive risk-adjusted returns.  Investments have included ground-up developments, asset repositionings and stabilized assets; investment structures have included asset acquisitions, mezzanine loans, preferred equity investments and structured joint ventures.  These funds have invested in properties totaling 53.5 million square feet in transactions with a gross investment value in excess of $12.1 billion.

About the Russ Building

The Russ Building is a California State Historic Landmark. Constructed in 1927, the building has a neo-Gothic architectural design giving it a majestic look compared to the neighboring contemporary structures. It is a steel frame building with a curtain wall constructed of terra cotta tile and brick. The interior is exquisitely detailed with the finest materials and finishes featuring granite floors and marble wainscoting, elevator lobbies with ornate area rugs, and pendant light fixtures. The building has been carefully maintained and periodically refurbished so that it offers a modern office environment within a classic and meticulously preserved structure.  The Russ Building is located at 235 Montgomery Street in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District. 

About The ClimateWorks Foundation

The ClimateWorks Foundation supports public policies that prevent dangerous climate change and promote global prosperity.  ClimateWorks partners with an international network of affiliated organizations—the ClimateWorks Network—to support smart policies in the geographic regions and economic sectors that have the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The Network’s goal is to inspire adoption of effective policies to limit annual global greenhouse gas emissions to 44 billion metric tons by the year 2020 (a reduction of 17 billion metric tons, or about 25 percent below business-as-usual projections), and 35 billion metric tons by the year 2030 (50 percent below projections).

About ThinkEco Inc.

New York City-based ThinkEco Inc. is a leading Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology company, providing easy-to-use energy efficiency and demand response solutions for utilities, enterprises, and homes. ThinkEco’s patented IoT technology platform enables cloud-based energy efficient and connected home and office applications powered by intelligent algorithms. ThinkEco also provides an attractive customer user interface and fully functional API with which utility and technology partners can integrate. For more information, visit www.thinkeco.com, follow the company on Twitter (@ThinkEco), and find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ThinkEco).

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