Upgrading Seattle’s Older Buildings with Green Features to Ensure a Sustainable Future

Upgrading Seattle’s Older Buildings with Green Features to Ensure a Sustainable Future

Fifth & Yesler in Seattle’s International District is certified LEED Gold. 

Nationwide, the environmental impact conversation is cranked to full-volume. Businesses are responding to sustainable, climate-friendly demands from employees and consumers. Policymakers feel the heat as state and local governments pass aggressive energy management laws. The movement is a conga line of energized stakeholders en route to a more sustainable and cost-effective future.

Look to the front of the line and find Martin Selig Real Estate (MSRE) decades ahead of the conversation.

MSRE is Seattle’s full-service commercial property development and management company committed to providing tenants with sustainable and cost-effective office space. This green vision and tenant-first focus is represented across MSRE’s entire portfolio of properties. Even as MSRE develops the future of sustainability, it remains equally committed to reinvesting in the long-term success of its older properties.

Seattle’s older commercial buildings are the workhorses of the clean energy future. According to a 2016 Harvard Business Review article, 75 percent of commercial buildings across America’s major metropolitan cities will be in use beyond the next 15 years. Here in downtown Seattle, MSRE’s older buildings remain the pulse of the city’s rapidly growing economy. Leasing office space from legacy addresses shouldn’t require tenants to forgo sustainable, energy-efficient features. MSRE persistently reinvests in older, existing buildings to enhance Seattle’s reputation as a world-class city for people choosing to do business in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a win-win for the entire Seattle community.

To provide tenants with the best downtown office space, MSRE’s dedicated team of in-house energy management specialists routinely implement the latest green features to its slate of older properties. The energy management team is always up-to-speed on the latest, local, environmental policies affecting commercial real estate properties. When Seattle imposed aggressive new sustainable commercial building standards, known as “building tune-ups”, MSRE was prepared to surpass the city’s sustainability goals without having to shift its energy management mission.

When upgrading older buildings, MSRE’s energy management team customizes each property’s internal utilities systems with the very latest green features. This isn’t a one-and-done approach, but a constant quest for perfection.

What’s Old Hums New Again – Thanks to Updated Energy Systems

Traditional rooftop HVAC systems are inefficient methods for heating, cooling and ventilating multiple floors of office space. These systems squander tremendous amounts of energy that can be repurposed through more sustainable investment. On a clear day, take an early morning look across Seattle’s skyline and witness older, inefficient building systems in action. Across downtown, excess heat in the form of steam is released from the rooftops of older commercial properties. This practice is standard for most major metropolitan cities — but it’s also a symbol of wasted energy potential.

The release of excess heat is a byproduct of a traditional HVAC system’s energy production. MSRE prefers to install hydronic heat pumps into its older buildings. With this sustainable system in place, the MSRE energy management team can oversee the reintegration of excess heat back into the building’s internal utilities loop. That means less reliance on older-style electric boilers and a more efficient system overall. And no more steam rising skyward at the start of the day.

 Other methods to reduce the demand for air conditioning include pre-cooling buildings to flush heat and reduce core internal temperatures. Commercial buildings naturally absorb a surprising amount of heat energy during sunny days. This built up energy often goes unused and can be reincorporated into the building’s utilities loop. MSRE takes advantage of Seattle’s climate to reduce the demand for mechanical heating and cooling. By incorporating these essential energy saving protocols into its building management, MSRE is able to ultimately reduce energy consumption and provide cost savings for tenants.

Upgrading HVAC systems is just the beginning. Transforming Seattle into a global leader in sustainable, commercial real estate requires a comprehensive approach.

Water is critical to the internal utilities systems of commercial properties. Seattle has an abundant water supply, but that doesn’t forgive inefficient and irresponsible use of the Pacific Northwest’s famous resource. Traditional AC systems use water as a cooling mechanism. This produces a major expense for tenants as large volumes of water are continuously required throughout a building’s daily operation.

To combat unnecessary water waste, MSRE’s energy management team installs solenoid valves that adapt as necessary to regulate water flow in accordance with daily demand. Over months and years, the installation of these devices results in significant financial savings. Green features that reduce water demand include investments in modern urinals and faucets. An MSRE property proves that it’s not only what you can see that makes a difference, but how systems respond behind the scenes.

Lighting is perhaps the most obvious solution to reduce energy use, and a constant commitment to reducing waste through light sources can pay major dividends. As lighting technology improves, MSRE routinely removes unnecessary lighting fixtures and replaces fluorescent lighting with improved, long-lasting LED options. Common output has been reduced to 35 to 46 watts per fixture, as opposed to 96 watts per fixture.

It all adds up. Below ground, parking garages are also notorious sources of excess energy consumption. Parking stall occupancy sensors in garages and activity sensors in stairwells produce greater savings benefits for all tenants in the building.

Seattle’s natural beauty and energized economy sets it apart from the world. Such a forward-thinking city should offer cost-effective commercial leasing options that align with the sustainable values of the people who call it home and the businesses that accelerate innovation.

Thanks to the efforts of its energy management team, MSRE continues to advance its reputation as Seattle’s premier commercial real estate company. As the conversation on environmental impact continues to evolve, Seattle’s older commercial buildings will remain the heartbeat of the downtown business community, and MSRE will continue to enhance the energy performance of these legacy properties. This mission is good for the environment, and it significantly reduces operating costs for tenants. It’s why MSRE is the industry leader providing Seattle with a sustainable and thriving environment for business.

Need help with leasing options in Seattle? Contact leasing specialists at Martin Selig Real Estate.

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