Here’s How Hines Reached Its Energy-Efficient Sweet Spot
To assist our readers who are looking to become experts at managing their facility’s energy consumption, we turned to Hines Interests Limited Partnership, which has one particular technique that not only leads to lower energy bills, but also a personalized check in the mail.
Located in the heart of Manhattan in New York City, Hines acts as managing agent for 1251 Americas Associates II, L.P. The building, formerly known as the Exxon Building, is more commonly referred to by its address, 1251 Avenue of the Americas. The building stands 54 stories high, which makes it one of the 100 tallest buildings in the United States. Major tenants include Bank of Tokyo, Mizuho, Natixis, and Toshiba America, Inc.
We spoke with Thomas Bonilla, the assistant chief engineer at Hines, to learn more about the company’s strategy. Three years ago, Hines received a call from Energy Curtailment Specialists (ECS) regarding a program called demand response, in which participants get compensated to occasionally reduce their electricity use when the grid becomes unstable. Accepting the phone call and listening to the pitch turned out to be a rather beneficial move for the company, and here’s why:
YEB – Were you familiar with demand response before working with ECS?
Tom – Yes, I have had experience with demand response programs before my time here at other buildings.
YEB – What were your first impressions of ECS and demand response, and has that changed over time?
Tom – It’s been excellent from the start and up until present. The intimidation factor and uncertainty of not making commitment has been removed because ECS has been clear of expected target kW to be achieved at each event. Some previous providers left you flying blind only to tell you that you did not make your commitment.
YEB – What do you do during an event day to prep your facility for performance?
Tom – Some energy consuming items are listed as things that will go off. Other items are listed as things that are scaled back. This list is strategically made between the property management, engineering, and electrical departments. All curtailment items are in place and kW is read prior to event hour and then removed after event hour has ended to ensure complete commitment is met.
YEB – How do you use the funds you earned from participating in the program?
Tom – Funds are re-invested into the building by ownership for improvements – including further energy conservation measures.
Taking your business strategy from inefficient to economical is not impossible. It takes hard work, commitment, and a willingness to test new tactics, but once you reach the sweet spot where energy efficiency meets profits, you’ll never look back.
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