Oakland Office Building Goes Green, Embraces LEED-Approved Practices and Operations

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The 7901 Oakport Street Office Building in Oakland is reducing energy use and employing more environmentally friendly practices in an effort to go green. Individuals at Ardenbrook Inc., the real estate investment company that owns the property, expect the building to become the greenest in the area upon completion.

With larger multinational companies such as Citigroup and Coca-Cola announcing energy savings initiatives earlier this year it is only a matter of time before smaller tenants make similar demands for efficiencies. 7901 Oakport Street Office Building intends to be the leader

Real estate investment company Ardenbrook Inc. announces that the 7901 Oakport Street Office Building, located in the Port of Oakland Business Park in Oakland, is embracing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and other related green initiatives. The building will be turning to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED-EB designation, which is tailored to existing properties.

"We as a long term value owner have an incentive to invest in greening existing properties. After all, the notion of turning brown edifices into clean, green machines is anything but a new idea," says William Mathews Brooks, President of Ardenbrook.

LEED-EB certification is the gold medal standard in the race to energy efficiency. Certification means an existing building has achieved a rating from the U.S. Green Building Council based on six categories, ranging from cleaning issues to systems upgrades and maintenance to meet green building performance standards.

"We will be sweating the small stuff," property manager MJ Williamson says. "Utilities are the largest operational cost for the building, accounting for 50 percent of overall costs on average. Coincidentally, it is the easiest to realize savings. Our goal is to reduce energy costs by 30 percent. Much of this challenge involves educating tenants."

For building owners, energy savings are easily quantifiable and go directly to reducing the operating costs of the building. That data also gives owners another point of differentiation when the "for lease" sign goes on the front door.

"Tenants are finally asking owners to walk the green talk. Why now? Chalk it up to the one-two punch of increased awareness and rising energy usage, particularly electricity," Williamson says.

Ardenbrook Operations Manager Jim McFaddin Reed expects that the 7901 Oakport Street Office Building will become the greenest in the area, reducing energy use some 50 percent by 2015. Over the past two years, the 7901 Oakport Building has invested just less than $1 million in seven individual retrofit and upgrade projects in its facilities to achieve a 121% return in combined annual energy savings and rebates from local utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).

"With larger multinational companies such as Citigroup and Coca-Cola announcing energy savings initiatives earlier this year it is only a matter of time before smaller tenants make similar demands for efficiencies. 7901 Oakport Street Office Building intends to be the leader," Brooks says. "For building tenants, energy savings are easily quantifiable and go directly to reducing rent cost of the occupying building. This fit nicely with our philosophy of providing companies high quality offices at the lowest possible price."

From a cost savings and environmental standpoint, the stock of existing buildings far outnumbers the volume of buildings under construction. According to the EPA, commercial buildings account for 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions; in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, the figure approaches 70 percent. The high environmental impact led the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) to issue a challenge to the industry in July to improve energy efficiency across the board some 30 percent by 2012.

The first LEED-EB certification was created in 2004, so the program is relatively new in relation to the green building council's new construction program, launched in 2000. According to the council, only 480 structures are on the existing buildings waiting list, while some 5,000 new buildings await LEED certification.

About Ardenbrook, Inc.

Ardenbrook, Inc. is one of the San Francisco Bay Area's largest real estate investment companies. Ardenbrook's four generations of real estate experience encompasses ownership, management and development of a mixture of land uses and property types, including in excess of 50,000 residential units, (single family, multi-family and condominium developments), commercial, industrial and offices. Its experience includes real estate operations in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida.

A well-established company with over 90 years of operational experience, the company owns or operates numerous properties including office and industrial buildings, shopping centers and apartment communities. The company's holdings are located in the five Western states. Within Northern California, Ardenbrook has real estate operations experience in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Yolo County, San Francisco, Stanislaus County and Sacramento County.

Ardenbrook has deep roots in Southern Alameda County, reaching back to the 1840s. The "Arden" potion of its name reflects is long involvement in the development of both the City of Fremont and more recently the western district of the City of Fremont, Patterson Ranch – Ardenwood Forest - New Town, now "Ardenwood." The "Ardenwood" name comes from the 1870s, the South Pacific Coast Railroad Station once located in the Patterson Ranch area of Fremont, named for the forested area in England mentioned in Shakespeare's play, "As You Like It."

Ardenbrook is a privately held company that strives to balance professionalism and integrity with a relaxed work environment. For more information, visit http://www.ardenbrook.com.

Media Contact:     

MJ Williamson, Ardenbrook, Inc.

510.797.7980

mwilliamson @ ardenbrook.com

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