Over the last decade, North American Specialty Insurance Co. (NAS), owner of the Office Tower, has committed to improving energy efficiency and reducing the environmental impact of its headquarters at 650 Elm St, adjacent to the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.
In July 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the company’s efforts by awarding the Office Tower an ENERGY STAR label. The facility became one of six commercial office buildings in New Hampshire to earn the label by demonstrating energy performance that ranks in the top 25 percent among its peers nationwide.
A subsidiary of Swiss Re Group, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies, NAS acquired the seven-story office building in 1992. As part of a Swiss Re initiative to improve internal environmental management at its facilities worldwide, the building in 2007 earned the ISO 14001:2004 designation, an internationally recognized environmental management standard.
The building’s ENERGY STAR certification grew out of a series of environmental initiatives, both large and small, that NAS undertook while pursuing ISO 14001:2004 certification. Eversource played an integral role by partnering with NAS on energy efficiency measures and suggesting that the company pursue the ENERGY STAR label.
“We work hard to incorporate the fundamental principles of sustainability into our business practices,” said Bill Jones, NAS’s Vice President of Group Logistics. “The ENERGY STAR label recognizes our long-term effort to continually reduce our facility’s impact on the environment, and we are grateful to [Eversource] for collaborating with us on that effort.”
Eversource worked with NAS on measures such as a facility-wide conversion to energy efficient lighting and the installation of a variable-frequency drive to reduce the power demand of a large motor that controls the fan in the building’s cooling tower. By using Eversource rebates to help defray the up-front costs of the projects and reduce the payback period, NAS realized significant energy savings to support a quick payback.
“NAS continually investigates new strategies to improve the building’s efficiency,” said Tom Belair, Eversource Energy Energy Efficiency Services. “We are honored to have helped them achieve ENERGY STAR certification and encourage other companies to follow their example.”
NAS elected to pursue ENERGY STAR certification last year after Eversource suggested that the company enter its energy usage data into EPA’s Portfolio Manager, a free online tool that allows users to calculate their building’s energy performance score relative to similar facilities across the country.With a score of 75 or higher on a 1–100 scale, a building may qualify for ENERGY STAR certification. When NAS first entered the building’s usage data last year, the facility scored 79.With data refinements, the score improved to 82. The building received the ENERGY STAR label after a professional engineer reviewed and verified the data and NAS submitted a formal statement of energy performance. Because of the energy saving measures it has implemented, the Office Tower has realized cost savings that it has passed along to the building’s tenants. “We’ve been able to keep the amount we charge tenants to cover operating costs steady over the past five years,” Jones said. “In a challenging economy, that has made the building more marketable.”