Energy Square

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: November 2013
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the three office buildings that make up Energy Square

Fast Facts

Address: Dallas, Texas
Company/Developer: Lincoln Property Company
Project Specs: Retrofit/Major Renovation
Project Type: Office
Square Feet: 990,478

Project History: Located just north of downtown Dallas (Texas), along North Central Expressway, Energy Square is a three-building office complex comprised of approximately 990,478 gross square feet and built in 1971, 1980 and 1985, respectively. The property had endured years of deferred maintenance. Ownership and management changed in late 2011 at which time a $10 million dollar renovation ensued. The vision was to turn this community eye-sore into a Class A office project that contributes to the local community and City at-large as well as provides a vibrant and healthy work environment for its tenants.

Renovations included making needed repairs, improving energy and water efficiency, a parking garage lighting retrofit, new white roofs, lobby renovations, the addition of a fitness room with showers, upgrading restrooms and increasing the connectivity between the three buildings by creating social spaces that encourage interaction among building occupants. The exterior plaza connecting the three buildings was a large open area of concrete slabs. Now, green spaces, vegetation and shading devices have been installed to create gathering places for tenants and visitors. Commensurate with the renovations, the project commenced the LEED process in February 2012 and earned the USGBC's LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Gold Certification in January 2013. Additionally, the project was recently awarded the LEED Project of the Year (Private) by the North Texas Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Along with the office buildings, the site includes three acres of land that could be used for a multifamily or retail development. The property is adjacent to DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) lightrail providing opportunity for a transit-oriented development.

Commitment to Sustainability

Whether or not a project pursues a third-party rating, Lincoln believes employing sustainable strategies in the development and ongoing operations and maintenance of any building is the responsible thing to do — fiscally, socially and environmentally.

Lincoln’s commitment to sustainability began when they joined as an ENERGY STAR® Partner in June of 1999. In 2009, they elevated the allocation of staff with the formation of their Green Council. The Green Council is comprised of real estate professionals from each regional office. They bring knowledge from a variety of disciplines including development, engineering, building management operations and maintenance.

LPC Energy Management Program

The foundation of our Energy Management Program is their 24-page that includes supply-side management, low-cost/nocost energy conservation measures, operational strategies and capitalintensive building upgrades. To measure, monitor and report energy and water usage and costs, Lincoln actively utilizes ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

LPC Green Practices Manual

The LPC Green Practices Manual for construction and operations is a 75-page document detailing how to implement energy- and water-saving measures, reduce occupant commutes and implement sustainable purchasing and recycling programs and other green practices. Each chapter begins with a measurable company-wide goal related to the chapter topic. This manual was developed by the Green Council with the assistance of LORD Green Real Estate Strategies and approved by the Regional Directors.


  • Since 2009 Lincoln has increased its average portfolio-wide ENERGY STAR score from 69 to 77.
  • 100 percent of our office buildings are been benchmarked in EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, representing more than 52 million square feet.
  • The company has 59 current ENERGY STAR-labeled buildings.
  • Approximately 15.7 million square feet of their portfolio is LEED-Certified and an additional 3.5 million square feet is registered for LEED certification.
  • A member of the U.S. Green Building Council, Lincoln supports the credentialing of its professional staff with a growing list of more than 58 LEED-credentialed professionals.
  • Lincoln earned the ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award for 2009, 2010 & 2011.

Green Features

Economic Analysis

  • Energy Square was purchased in late 2011 as a value-add investment. Ideally located though suffering from neglect, under-market rents (by about 12 percent) and near-term rollover of approximately 50 percent of the leases, the asset was purchased at less than replacement cost.
  • Immediately upon acquisition, a $10 million renovation project began. Many improvements have been made since acquisition.
  • The project earned the USGBC's LEED® for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance GOLD Certification in January 2013. Total LEED certification costs for all three buildings, almost one million square feet, was $293,042. Of that, the majority of the costs went toward improving energy and water efficiency and indoor environmental quality. We have calculated a payback of four years or less based on energy, water and waste savings alone.
Energy Sqaure outdoor plaza

Canopy in Energy Square Plaza

Site Sustainability/Materials Use

  • The project has incorporated all aspects of sustainability with regard to materials use — including materials brought into and taken out of the building. The property successfully implemented an ongoing durable goods recycling program in partnership with Goodwill Industries of Dallas and Dell Computer which allows building occupants to recycle electronic waste from their offices as well as homes. A total of 7.75 tons of electronic waste was diverted from the landfill during a three-month period. This program not only diverts dangerous electronic waste from entering the landfill, but will also provide employment and training for persons with disabilities and disadvantageous circumstances. All electronic waste is either recycled or refurbished by Goodwill Industries employees locally. Refurbished items are sold at Goodwill's Computer Works Store in Dallas.
  • In addition to diverting electronic waste from landfills and incineration, Lincoln Property Company implemented a lamp purchasing plan which reduced the overall mercury content of the lamps used in the building to less than 50 picograms per lumen-hour. This not only saves energy, but reduces the amount of mercury already seriously polluting Texas waters. All lamps and batteries are recycled after the end of their useful life.
  • For the near 3,500 building occupants, approximately 94 percent of all cleaning purchases and products are sustainable products such as Green Seal®-certified cleaning chemicals and hand soaps, paper products with recycled content and very thin trash can liners.
  • Sustainable products were used during the restroom and lobby renovations including the use of Promar 200 Zero VOC interior latex flat paint and eggshell paint, Hadrian Toilet Partitions made with recycled content, VT Industries Wood Doors containing FSC particle board core (20-70 percent of door construction weight composed of pre-consumer recycled materials, no urea-formaldehyde highdensity fiber), Armstrong Ceiling Panels with 25 percent recycled content grids and panels, Bobrick Toilet Accessories also made with recycled content and Trikes Wallcovering which is recyclable through reclamation and is low VOC.

Energy Efficiency

  • Each of the three buildings was ENERGY STAR labeled in 2012 and 2013 with scores (on a scale of 1 to 100) of 86, 83 and 91. An ASHRAE Level II audit was performed at the buildings in 2012, identifying low-cost and capital-intensive Energy Conservations Measures (ECMs).
  • The property implemented all low- and no-cost ECMs including reducing exhaust fan runtimes, cleaning cooling coils and replacing 32-watt lamps with 28-watt lamps as they fail. These ECMs are projected to save 542,000 kWh annually resulting in a reduction of 380 metric tons of CO2 emissions (equivalent to the amount of emissions produced from the electricity use of 57 homes a year).
  • The old built-up roofs at two of the three buildings were replaced with white roofs with high solar reflectance, not only reducing cooling load but reducing heat-island effect for the local community.
  • The five-year capital plan includes more energy-saving improvements for Energy Square such as an energy-efficient chiller upgrade. All of the chillers at the property have been replaced with modern, non-CFC based equipment with the exception of the 450-ton chiller at Three Energy Square. The property committed to phasing out this chiller with a more efficient unit using HCFC-123 refrigerant by December 2014 in an effort to not only save energy but also to reduce stratospheric depletion associated with CFC-based refrigerants.
  • Lastly, the property has committed to purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates to cover half of the building's energy consumption for two years. This purchase will aid in offsetting emissions as well as contribute to the development of the renewable energy industry. In total, 9,800 metric tons of CO2 will be offset which is equivalent to the amount of emissions produced from the electricity use of 1,460 homes a year.
Energy Sqaure outdoor plaza

Energy Square Plaza after the renovations.

Water Efficiency

  • The buildings underwent major energy and water efficiency upgrades and operational improvements. A main highlight was the significant plumbing retrofit which resulted in a 30 percent reduction in indoor plumbing fixture water use compared to standard fixtures. Overall the upgrades will result in a savings of 4.1 million gallons and $22,000 annually. Upgrades included replacing the majority of women's 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) water closets with new high-efficiency 1.28 gpf fixtures, retrofitting urinals with more efficient diaphragms and installing flow-restricting aerators on lavatories and pantry sinks.
  • As part of the plumbing retrofit, the project team worked with the City of Dallas to recycle all replaced porcelain fixtures. The city ground up over 100 3.5 gpf water closets for use as drainage material at municipal facilities. In addition to the large scale water savings, the retrofit is expected have a positive effect on the community by easing the burden on the municipal water treatment systems.
  • The retrofit also included entirely renovating restrooms on several floors. New, high-efficiency fixtures with automatic controls were installed which not only exceed local code requirements, but strict EPA WaterSense standards, as well. These fixtures, including autocontrolled 1.28 gpf water closets and pint urinals, were adopted as part of the building standard. As a result, all future fit-outs will be required to abide by these strict standards, thus continually improving water efficiency at the property.
  • Exterior water use was also reduced by replacing turf areas with native/adapted plants that require less water. The plantings also contributed to mitigating more than 15 percent of rainfall on site. Vegetation including trees and planting beds added to the perviousness of the site which reduced stormwater runoff.
  • Small islands throughout the surface parking lot that were once filled with vegetation have been replaced with large river rock. This measure eliminates the run-time of gas-powered equipment such as trimmers and edgers used in routine landscape maintenance. By significantly reducing the runtime of small, gas-powered equipment the associated carbon emissions and noise pollution are significantly reduced, thus enhancing the outdoor environment for the tenants as well as the local community.


  • Energy Square is a three-building office complex ideally located in the North Central Expressway corridor with convenient ingress/egress from either North Central Expressway or Greenville Avenue.
  • The Lovers Lane DART light rail line station is adjacent to the property and the DART bus stop serving six routes is located on site.
  • As part of the LEED certification process, we measured the commuting patterns of building occupants. Approximately 21 percent of the buildings’ occupants are using public transit, carpools and fuel-efficient vehicles to commute to work.
  • With a Walkscore of 83, few office settings in Dallas are more accessible than Energy Square — for tenants, employees and their visitors. Numerous single-family and multi-family residential communities, upscale and practical shopping, dining and entertainment surround the Energy Square campus. Central Market, Hotel Palomar, Mockingbird Station, Old Town shopping center, NorthPark Center, Southern Methodist University and the new George W. Bush Presidential Library are just a few of the features in the immediate area. The site is also less than one-half mile from Dallas' connection to more than 100 miles of bike trails all over the City.
  • Annually, the local Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day parade is held, attracting a huge following from across the DFW Metroplex. Energy Square is located within a block of the end of the parade route. This year, the owners of Energy Square embraced the 24-hour Greenville Avenue party by working with the Dallas Observer and House of Blues Entertainment to host live entertainment in the buildings’ parking lot  following the parade.


  • Due to years of deferred maintenance of mechanical equipment, the indoor environment was compromised. For example, as part of the commissioning required for LEED, it was discovered that exhaust fans were inoperable including the majority of the underground parking garage exhaust fans. The exhaust fans were repaired and all building ventilation systems were adjusted to meet ASHRAE 62.1-2007 standard. In fact, the existing ventilation systems were able to achieve 30 percent increased ventilation over ASHRAE standard 62.1-2007, thus improving indoor air quality throughout the buildings.
  • Additional steps to enhance the indoor environment included implementing a High- Performance Green Cleaning Program, an Integrated Pest Management Plan, a low-VOC policy and conducting an IAQ audit and cleanliness audit. During the LEED process, the company surveyed building occupants concerning their satisfaction with the indoor environment to identify opportunity areas. Identified opportunities were promptly addressed.
  • The key to achieving and sustaining environmentally friendly practices is education. The LEED consultant, LORD Green Strategies, and Lincoln Property Company conducted informative presentations and training sessions with the tenants, building staff and building service providers to explain the benefits of sustainable practices and garner everyone's engagement. All of the vendors participated in the meeting, which detailed the requirements for each service provided. This meeting included details regarding the changes to the building, such as plumbing upgrades and green cleaning methods. The tenants were also educated on the benefits of LEED and provided with new sustainability requirements for purchasing and waste. For example, tenants were provided instruction regarding the new recycling programs available at the building, including the new electronic waste and battery recycling programs.
  • Progress is tracked and evaluated by the property management team and vendors. Energy and water consumption is tracked monthly by the property team using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool. Vendor performance is tracked through service logs for pesticide use, janitorial cleaning purchases, landscape equipment runtimes, electronic waste diversion and monthly trash and recycling reports.
  • To further enhance tenant satisfaction, Energy Square Plaza (the connection point between the buildings) was transformed from mostly concrete to include a shading canopy, artificial turf, planters and even a putting green. Also, additional stairways were constructed to allow better connectivity between the buildings.