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December 2003

Energy Star Program Names Most Energy Efficient High-Rise Building in the Nation

The Joe Serna, Jr.-Cal/EPA Headquarters Building has been cited as the most energy efficient high-rise building in the nation by Energy Star, a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 25-story, 950,000-square-foot high rise, developed and operated by Thomas Properties Group, achieved a higher ranking than 10,000 buildings around the country.

Energy conservation and sustainability are daily watchwords at the Joe Serna-Cal/EPA headquarters, according to Craig Sheehy, director of property management for Thomas Properties Group. “We constantly are on the lookout for practices and materials that improve air quality, reduce energy usage and maximize resource re-use, reduction and recycling,” he said.

Completed in 2001, the Joe Serna Building was designed and built using leading-edge green principles. Today it is being operated using sustainable materials and technologies. “All of our property management decisions are mindful of how we can protect the planet and conserve resources,” Sheehy notes. “There is no difference in cost but there is a great difference in the results.”

Named for former Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna Jr., the building is one of 51 across the U.S. and Canada involved in the United States Green Building Council’s pilot program for existing buildings. The program is designed to gather data that demonstrates the financial viability of green building operation, thereby setting a benchmark for the industry and encouraging other building owners to follow similar practices.

For example, among the innovative property management practices at the Joe Serna Jr.-Cal/EPA headquarters, Thomas Properties Group instituted daytime janitorial service, saving about $100,000 annually in energy costs by eliminating nighttime lights. Additional benefits include a reduction in the number of tenant complaints and increased retention of janitorial staff. All janitorial, landscape and maintenance services use non-toxic, odorless and biodegradable products. A large vericomposting system manages the organic materials generated during food preparation in the on-site cafeteria. Cafe workers easily transport the material collected each day to an outside bin for processing by approximately 20,000 worms, diverting approximately 10 tons of waste from landfills each year.

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