L&B Realty Advisors is a real estate investment advisor with $9 billion under management and over 50 years of experience in successfully acquiring, managing, and disposing real estate on behalf of its clients. Sustainability is a key consideration when evaluating and managing its investments. To further enhance its existing sustainability strategy, L&B partnered with Carbon Lighthouse and the third party multinational commercial real estate (CRE) services company for its One Biscayne Tower property. The engineering staff was already using an energy use dashboard to successfully track overall utility consumption and scheduled the HVAC operations to closely align with the building’s operating hours. In fact, the building already had an Energy Star score of 91 (consuming less energy than 91% of similar buildings) before Carbon Lighthouse even began working in the building.
Property Team + Carbon Lighthouse Duo
Carbon Lighthouse first established a robust data stream to feed granular heating, ventilation air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, and occupancy data directly into its AI platform CLUES®. Then, worked with the L&B property and engineering teams to assess One Biscayne Tower’s existing building systems in search of energy savings and operational improvements. The data stream and CLUES analysis uncovered and quantified new HVAC controls optimizations and provided a robust quantifiable dataset to support the lighting retrofits the property and building engineering teams had long sought to implement. Each of the energy conservation measures, whether implemented by the property team or Carbon Lighthouse, result in annual expense savings which are financially guaranteed by Carbon Lighthouse and backed by Munich Re insurance.
As CLUES collects more data, its algorithms become more accurate and demonstrate zone isolation and central plant measures for One Biscayne Tower generating more energy efficiency and cost savings than projected.
The building engineering and property manager had long wanted to pursue a lighting retrofit. They knew what lighting fixtures and light output they wanted to maintain aesthetic consistency, and the right sequence of in-house labor and logistical staging would get the retrofit done with minimal disruption. However, they did not have the lighting material wattage details locked in, nor detailed verification checklists for the almost one dozen different lighting retrofit configurations, much less a financial savings guarantee to demonstrate ROI making approvals challenging.
Carbon Lighthouse supplemented their efforts to get the project approved by evaluating different product configurations with a precise financial analysis, to be backed with a financial guarantee. These efforts included detailed verification checklists to ensure the lighting retrofits (including lamps, ballasts and occupancy sensors) were installed properly. Once the retrofits were complete, the CLUES platform and data stream confirmed the energy savings from the retrofits were being realized financially. The assessment to ensure the savings would flow to NOI was completed in a matter of weeks, rather than requiring additional property team time to conduct a utility bill analysis months later.
The Data Stream Advantage
The established data stream and CLUES driven data mining also surfaced exciting ways to optimize the central plant, including:
- Providing better control of existing HVAC equipment (airflow duct static pressure, air/water supply temperatures, chiller staging automation) based on building demand and outdoor air conditions to optimize tenant comfort
- Ability to isolate energy zones during after-hours and unoccupied floors
- Increased visibility of central plant conditions
Carbon Lighthouse managed contractors to incorporate additional sensors into the building management system (BMS) and update the programming based on the customized CLUES algorithms for each measure listed above.
For example, the site team knew to only push the minimum amount of air through ducts to the tenant spaces that need the cool air. However, getting a building to respond accurately and intelligently without affecting tenant comfort is really difficult. Based on the data stream and CLUES, Carbon Lighthouse discovered dynamically adjusting the air pressure could deliver $20K of annual savings and further reduce energy consumption beyond the well-scheduled HVAC operations. The chief engineer agreed yet he lacked the time, data visibility, and flexible data mining tools to develop the customized algorithms needed for the over 700 individual zone locations demanding a different amount of conditioned air at any one time. CLUES evaluated each of these locations and explored a few hundred different ways of intelligently controlling the air pressure to ensure that real financial value would be created without affecting tenant comfort. Carbon Lighthouse then created an algorithm that only includes 670 of the 700 locations to create savings without affecting tenant comfort, excluding roughly 5% of zones that required special attention. Without Carbon Lighthouse, the BMS provider would have executed this optimization measure across the majority of the 700 locations in the off-the-shelf programming (for an additional fee). This would have made the new sequence non-functional, driving the savings to zero or causing problems the site team would need to override, potentially leading to energy penalties. As the building needs evolve, Carbon Lighthouse and the building engineering team will be able to update this programming as necessary using CLUES and the data stream.
“Carbon Lighthouse worked closely with our on-site engineering team to pull detailed technical specs enabling both their team and ours to seamlessly implement savings measures,” said One Biscayne Tower Property Manager, Loretta Diaz.
“For the first three months of our service, Carbon Lighthouse delivered more energy savings than projected at One Biscayne Tower and gives us confidence that we are not only achieving current savings in energy usage and cost but using the most advanced technology on the market that will yield further improvements over time,” said Corinne Hoffman, Asset Management Director with L&B.