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40-Year-Old Building Cuts Energy Cost By $2.2 Million

Transwestern's Roger Vasquez Outlines Initiatives to Maximize Financial Return

HOUSTON, Aug. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Houston's iconic Pennzoil Place, originally constructed in 1975, has implemented a number of strategies to cut energy costs by $2.2 million since 2008, according to the third quarter edition of "Ask the Expert," featuring Roger Vasquez, director of engineering at Pennzoil Place. In this edition, Vasquez outlines programs implemented at the property to cut energy consumption and increase financial return for the property owner, Metropolis Investment Holdings Inc.

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Metropolis completed a major overhaul of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems and installed Cisco Internet of Everything fiber optic backbone for the property. The backbone allows all the existing and future technologies in the buildings to be tied together and controlled from a tablet or smartphone. Tenant and building issues are addressed immediately, saving time, improving service quality and increasing tenant satisfaction. Tenants also have the ability to tap into the Cisco backbone for Internet and data service, creating a new revenue stream for the building owner.

Transwestern was able to provide services in-house that were previously outsourced due to the new technology and improvements in the building. For example, an expanding tenant faced a $25,000 investment and a six- to eight-week wait for Internet service in its new space. Transwestern completed the job in two days at one-tenth the cost. Additionally, the Cisco fiber optic backbone allowed Transwestern to move security in-house and away from an external monitoring service, saving Metropolis $50,000 a year.

When planning the major capital improvements to the buildings, Metropolis secured a number of rebate incentives to save money on the improvements and shorten payback periods. A rebate of approximately $650,000 was used on a $5 million multi-chiller replacement, reducing the payback period by two years, and a rebate of approximately $170,000 cut the payback on an $800,000 lighting project to 2.6 years.

Demand Response is a nationwide initiative in which buildings are paid to reduce energy consumption and share their capacity with the nation's three power grids during peak usage times to prevent blackouts. Pennzoil Place is one of only a few office buildings to participate, and it has found innovative ways to achieve significant power reductions without turning off equipment. Metropolis realizes three financial benefits from participating in Demand Response: energy costs are lower when capacity is diverted; ownership was paid $40,000 during the first year of participation; and the lower anticipated demand capacity resulted in lower fees from the energy provider.

"Ask the Expert" is a Q&A with Transwestern experts and leaders. Download the full version at  

Transwestern is a privately held real estate firm specializing in agency leasing, property and facilities management, tenant advisory, capital markets, research and sustainability. The fully integrated global enterprise leverages competencies in office, industrial, retail, multifamily and healthcare properties to add value for investors, owners and occupiers of real estate. As a member of the Transwestern family of companies, the firm capitalizes on market insights and operational expertise of independent affiliates specializing in development, real estate investment management and research. Transwestern has 34 U.S. offices and assists clients through more than 181 offices in 40 countries as part of a strategic alliance with Paris-based BNP Paribas Real Estate. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter: @Transwestern.

SOURCE Transwestern

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