CASE STUDY: BRE Properties
BRE Properties, Inc. (NYSE:BRE) is a real estate investment trust that owns, develops, acquires, and manages highly desirable apartment communities in the West's most sought-after places to live, including 57 properties in California. BRE has a longstanding track record of successfully adapting to the marketplace and turning challenges into opportunities, so it is only natural that they decided to partner with the California Sustainability Alliance to increase the sustainability of their multifamily housing portfolio.
The process began in 2007 with preliminary assessments of five apartment communities that were deemed representative of BRE’s California portfolio. The assessments identified measures that could improve energy, water, and natural resource efficiency. Building upon these findings, BRE worked with the Alliance to characterize the types of equipment typically used in their apartment communities and to identify energy efficiency measures that might be applicable to the full portfolio of BRE’s properties in Southern California. Numerous retrofits and operating measures were evaluated, including:
- Replacing pool pumps and motors
- Installing pool covers
- Replacing inefficient lighting
- Replacing through-wall A/C units
- Tuning up or replacing other inefficient A/C units
- Reducing pool pumping hours
- Resetting boiler temperatures
At a typical apartment community, these measures will save over 22,500 kWh of electricity and 5,000 therms of natural gas each year, and will pay for themselves in less than two years. If implemented at BRE communities across California, these efficiency measures will result in annual energy savings of over 1.3 million kWh of electricity and 230,000 therms of natural gas. Based on this analysis, the Alliance developed a set of recommended energy efficiency measures for use at BRE’s entire portfolio. To facilitate adoption of these measures, a “Keep It Green with Energy Efficiency” handbook of best practices was created. The handbook empowers BRE on-site staffs to make incremental improvements as they carry out regular maintenance, in addition to providing a business case for larger, more capital intensive retrofit programs.