Near the end of last year, we earned a Four Green Globes for Existing Buildings rating from the Green Building Initiative® for achievements in sustainable operations at our Crown Plaza building. This was our fourth Green Globes award since 2010, and our second for Crown Plaza.

The announcement of green building certifications doesn’t get as much fanfare these days, especially here in the Northwest, as sustainable building and management practices have become more standard in the community.

Tenants seek green features
So, is the bloom off the rose or is going green still important in commercial real estate? We believe it is more relevant and important than ever. Where properties with green features were once the exception, they’re now commonplace. Most importantly, green features are no longer a wish-list item for current and prospective tenants; they expect properties to be environmentally-friendly.

Benchmarking performance
Green Globes is a user-friendly alternative to the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, and can be implemented at a significantly lower cost on the part of the building owner. We chose this path over LEED as we were looking for a program that would help us benchmark our performance against our goals. Crown Plaza is a perfect example of helping us document and track our progress. Our initial Green Globes rating was a Three Globes award, and we improved that to a Four Globes rating.

Energy-efficiency benefits everyone
Standing at more than 293,000 square feet and 11 stories tall, Crown Plaza was built in the 1970s. Older buildings are a challenge as they weren’t designed with energy efficiency in mind; so, we’ve had to be tireless in our search to find savings.

To earn the Four Green Globes rating, we’ve invested in in the latest LED lighting technology, including controls to dim the lights and turn the lights off when not needed. Daylighting strategies capitalize on natural light, allowing us to leave lights off until later in the day. We purchase clean energy through our utility, Portland General Electric, to offset energy costs, and we require green building cleaning products to be used throughout the property. Tenants have access to a comprehensive free recycling program to reduce building waste, and we’ve dedicated a secured bike storage area to make it easy for tenants to find alternate ways to commute to work. These are just a few of the many actions we’ve taken to conserve energy and water, work on emissions and indoor air quality, and improve resource management.

For us, saving energy means reducing the building’s carbon footprint, providing a better work place for tenant businesses, and improving the performance of the building. Going Green is not only still important, but it may be one of the most important things we do. Read more about our sustainable building practices at Crown Plaza in a recent issue of Retrofit Magazine.