Gold and Platinum Portfolio Sustainable Investment Group
Gold and Platinum Portfolio

SIG’s LEED expertise drives leading real estate company to unprecedented certification

ATLANTA (April 18th, 2017) — Paramount Group, Inc., a leading U.S. real estate investment trust, took the unprecedented step of achieving Gold and Platinum LEED recertification across its entire portfolio — 13 million square feet of existing Class A office space in 13 building across New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

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Sustainable Investment Group’s (SIG) team of consultants and engineers led this complex process using its LEED for Existing Buildings (EB) Volume Prototype. SIG designed its LEED Volume Prototype with the help of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The program was approved based on the SIG’s level of experience, competency, and consistency. SIG is the only third-party consultant in the world with a LEED EB Volume Prototype.

“It was a significant achievement to coordinate efforts on 13 buildings across three cities in less than a year,” said Charlie Cichetti, Chief Executive Officer of SIG. “Our unique LEED Volume approach saved Paramount money and time without sacrificing any of LEED’s stringent requirements. The normal LEED credit requirements are all still there, but the efficiency is on the QC/LEED review and certification fee savings at the end.”

Paramount’s effort to make its portfolio of office buildings even more sustainable has resulted in significant positive impact on the environment.

  • Paramount Group continues to earn its ENERGY STAR labels each year. The company’s savings in energy consumption contributes to a reduction of 7,518 tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere annually. That has the same effect as planting 313,275 trees every year.
  • Paramount’s buildings consume 28 percent less water than other buildings of the same size and occupancy. That’s equivalent to the daily water use of 67 households (which on average consume 400 gallons of water per day) or the amount of water used to grow 14 acres of corn.
  • The Paramount Group portfolio has a 56 percent recycling diversion rate, which means more than half of the waste from these buildings is diverted from landfills because of recycling, donations, composting, and reuse efforts in place.

Typically, one LEED EB project can take between 9 and 12 months to reach Gold certification, yet SIG was able to certify Paramount’s 13 buildings simultaneously in less than a year through its LEED Volume process. SIG also provided in-house energy audits, retro-commissioning and air testing. SIG’s LEED Volume approach shortened the schedule of LEED reviews by three months and reduced certification fees.

“It is quite the undertaking to achieve an initial LEED EB certification, but Paramount Group understood the benefits of recertification and we set the bar high,” Cichetti said.

According to USGBC, Paramount is the first company to achieve Gold and Platinum LEED certification for its full portfolio of existing buildings simultaneously.

“For our entire portfolio to reach the highest levels of LEED certification is a remarkable achievement,” said Paul Hitzel, Director of Engineering of Paramount Group. “Every building in our portfolio is top-level LEED, and we counted on SIG to lead this effort. Not only did we hit this high mark, we did it ahead of schedule.”

Signature buildings in the Paramount portfolio include:

  • 425 Eye Street in Washington, DC, originally earned LEED Core & Shell (CS). The Veterans Affairs space that comprises most of the building was then built out to LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI) standards, and the building is now LEED EB Platinum certified.
  • One Market Street in San Francisco, now LEED EB Platinum, is the largest LEED certified building in the Bay Area.

In New York City, Paramount Group also leveraged SIG’s experience with retro-commissioning and Local Law 87 compliance to earn additional LEED points that helped these Manhattan buildings owned by the company achieve LEED Gold across the NYC portfolio.

SIG first worked with Paramount in 2012 to help the company’s New York-based professional team earn LEED credentials. In 2013, SIG worked on the initial LEED certification for Paramount’s office portfolio. Knowing that all LEED projects must be recertified within five years, Paramount maintained its partnership with SIG for the recertification process.

“Paramount recognizes the value to tenants of achieving the highest levels of LEED certification for its buildings,” says Cichetti. “The company has truly raised the bar.”

Here are highlights from Paramount Group’s Sustainability Report:

Energy

  • The average ENERGY STAR score for the 2016 Paramount Group LEED Project Portfolio is 82. The scores reflect energy data entries through December 2016.
  • The portfolio experienced an average of 10.2 percent decrease in EUI (Energy Utilization Index; kBTU/SF) from the baseline, conserving 12,963 MWh from 2010 to 2016, an average of 1,080 MWh per building. The average American home uses 10,000 kWh a year, so this is enough energy to power 129,639 homes for a year (9,972/building).
  • This reduction in energy consumption contributes to a reduction of 7,518 tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere (578 per building). One tree can sequester 48 pounds of carbon dioxide, so this equates to planting 313,275 trees (24,000 per building).

Water 

  • Most water fixtures at these Paramount Group buildings function at high efficiency. Based on IPC/UPC baselines for water consumption, which uses average usage based on building occupancy, the portfolio consumes 28 percent less water than baseline. This equates to 981,458 kGal per year for the total portfolio, with an average of 75,496 kGal per building.
  • The average American household uses 400 gallons of water a day, so this saves enough water for 67 households. It takes about 684,000 gallons of water to grow an acre of corn, so this is enough water to grown 14 acres of corn.

Waste

  • Recycling at these properties involves a single-stream collection system, which allows all recycling to be collected in one bin. This includes recycling cardboard, glass, plastic, paper, metal, and newspapers.
  • In addition, some buildings increase their diversion rates through:
    • Corrugated cardboard not captured in the single-stream program
    • Paper shreds recycled and reported by tenants
    • Organic waste collected and composted by a local organics vendors
    • Durable goods recycling of electronic waste, lamps, and batteries
  • Diversion is based on quantity in tons of diverted material compared to landfill material. Diversion includes recycling, donations, composting and reuse. The portfolio has a 56 percent diversion rate.

About SIG: Sustainable Investment Group LLC (SIG) delivers sustainability services and education to the building and real estate industry. SIG’s team includes design, construction, property management, and real estate professionals. It provides LEED consulting, LEED training, and technical services from its offices in Atlanta, GA; Boulder, CO; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY; and San Francisco, CA. Learn more at www.SIGearth.com.

About Paramount Group, Inc.: Paramount Group, Inc. is a best-in-class owner, operator and manager of Class A office properties that are some of the most sought after addresses in New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Founded in 1978, it is the landlord of choice for the world’s largest names in the financial, legal, professional services and media industries.  Learn more at www.Paramount-Group.com.

About LEED Volume (per USGBC):

The benefits of the LEED Volume Program stem from its large-scale application across an organizations building portfolio. Participants benefit from achieving economies of scale to reduce costs through common approaches to building design, retrofits, and management. Project certification is streamlined using an audit process. LEED Volume certification uses alternative review methods, and encourages a robust education program wherein LEED is incorporated into standard practices, procedures and tracking processes across the organization.

For more information, please email michaelc@sigearth.com