Thursday, October 11, 2012

BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards Innovations - The Orrick Building

By BOMA Energy & Environment Committee Members Zachary Brown (CBRE) and Jessica Robinson (Zipcar)

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Ask Blake Peterson, Senior Property Manager at Langley Investment Properties and BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards innovator what it takes to run the Orrick Building  one of the greenest buildings in the country, and she’ll tell you it requires three things: engaged ownership, a special set of tenants and an operations team that cares.  While aggregating all three variables can seem daunting at first, those who are tenacious and foster a collaborative environment can produce truly innovative programs.

Built in 2002, the Orrick Building was designed to LEED Silver standards but was never certified. Despite taking over operation of a property that was already considered state of the art, the management team still saw an opportunity to do even more when they arrived in 2007. Through the joint efforts of new ownership, tenants, vendors, and managers, the building made the necessary adjustments and improvements which earned LEED-EB O&M Platinum certification in 2010. The Orrick Building boasts an Energy Star rating of 94, one of the highest in the United States, and has an impressive 93% landfill waste diversion rate.

A model for sustainability efforts in commercial real estate, the Orrick Building has a truly innovative approach to integrating tenant involvement into the pursuit of greater efficiency and resource conservation. These impactful programs include streamlining office supply vendors to minimize the number of daily truck deliveries, creating consistent light bulb purchasing policies, and educating new tenants on setting up in-suite coffee service with reusable mugs and compostable service ware.

As with other BOMA member buildings, one notable innovation at the Orrick Building came as the result of a unique problem. Located adjacent to the freeway, the building had an unanticipated neighbor in the form of a vacant parcel owned by Caltrans. Sandwiched between the eastern edge of the building and the Fremont St off ramp, this sliver of land was a veritable no man’s land plagued by litter and undesirable activity.

But rather than an eyesore, Blake saw an opportunity for a positive use of the space. Today, rather than trucking away plant waste and tree clippings from the property’s landscaping, mulching is done on site, and these chips are then spread as ground cover on the once unused parcel. Seeded with native California poppies, which require no irrigation, the mulched area is a creative solution that eliminated blight, reduced hauling costs, and earned the building additional LEED points.

Interested in learning more about this and programs at other buildings? The BOMA San Francisco Energy and Environment Committee offers best practice sharing and a chance to connect with peers and allied partners at monthly meetings. Join us to discover new ways to jump start projects at your property. Think your building stands out because of your own sustainability initiatives? Get ready for the 2013 EARTH Awards application forthcoming on the BOMA San Francisco Website. For details, contact Committee Chair Zachary Brown at for more information.

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