BETHESDA, MD – First Potomac Realty Trust (NYSE:FPO), a leading owner of office and business park properties in the greater Washington, D.C. area, today announced that three of the  office buildings in its Southern Virginia portfolio are now Energy Star certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The three buildings include Greenbrier Towers I and II, two 6-story office buildings, as well as the Greenbrier Technology Center II, a multi-story office building.  As a result, First Potomac now has 280,102 square feet of Energy Star certified office space, making it the largest Energy Star portfolio in Chesapeake, Virginia.
“This certification recognizes our good faith efforts to continuously advance our energy infrastructure in the Chesapeake region,” said Tony Beck, Vice President for First Potomac Realty Trust’s Southern Virginia region. “We want to send a clear message to our tenants that we do not take lightly our responsibility to be environmentally conscientious and energy efficient.”
Greenbrier Towers I & II, located across the street from the Greenbrier Circle Corporate Center and within close proximity to Greenbrier Technology Center and the Crossways Properties, have become a cornerstone in the Greenbrier submarket of Chesapeake, Virginia. First Potomac owns six office buildings totaling 719,000 square feet inside Greenbrier Business Park, which has over one million square feet of office space, and is ideally situated near Interstate 64 and a variety of retail and shopping amenities.
Since purchasing the buildings in 2011, First Potomac has performed a number of energy upgrades to Greenbrier Towers I & II. In addition to high-efficiency water-source heat pump systems, two new cooling towers were installed at the towers.
Reflectors were also fitted onto lighting fixtures in corridor and common areas, which reduced the number of bulbs per fixture.
At Greenbrier Technology Center II, First Potomac installed one-inch slim lighting tubes, greatly reducing energy consumption without sacrificing lighting quality. At all three buildings, the company upgraded the ground lights to energy-efficient induction lighting, which cut energy use in half while increasing the amount of light.
The buildings utilize an advanced energy management system, which is actively monitored and updated by the buildings’ lead engineer. Through the energy management system, First Potomac has successfully eliminated unnecessary off-hours energy consumption by programming the system to power down the temperature systems when the building is not in use. First Potomac also consistently encourages tenants to turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
To qualify for the Energy Star, a building or manufacturing plant must earn a 75 or higher on EPA's 1-100 energy performance scale, indicating that the facility performs better than at least 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide. The performance scale accounts for differences in occupancy conditions, regional weather data, and other important considerations.
All three First Potomac buildings scored around 90.
Energy Star certification was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the label can be found on more than 65 different kinds of products, 1.4 million new homes, and 20,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from Energy Star.
The energy usage by commercial buildings and manufacturing plants accounts for nearly half of all energy consumption in the U.S. at a cost of over $200 billion per year, more than any other sector of the economy. Commercial and industrial facilities are also responsible for nearly half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
About First Potomac Realty Trust
First Potomac Realty Trust is a self-administered, self-managed real estate investment trust that focuses on owning, operating, developing and redeveloping office and business park properties in the greater Washington, D.C. region. As of September 30, 2013, the Company's consolidated portfolio totaled approximately 9 million square feet. Based on annualized cash basis rent, the Company’s portfolio consists of 51% office properties and 49% business park and industrial properties. A key element of First Potomac's overarching strategy is its dedication to sustainability. Nearly one  million square feet of First Potomac property is LEED Certified, with the potential for another one million square feet in future development projects. Approximately half of the portfolio's multi-story office square footage is LEED or Energy Star Certified. FPO common shares (NYSE:FPO) and preferred shares (NYSE:FPO-PA) are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.