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Market transformation and the 7-Point Challenge

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In July 2007, BOMA International launched the Market Transformation Energy Plan and 7-Point Challenge to reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings by 30 percent by 2012.

Since that time the response has been extremely positive, with scores of BOMA member companies and BOMA local associations, including BOMA San Diego, endorsing the 7-Point Challenge and making improved energy performance a priority across company portfolios throughout the country.

BOMA recognizes that current research estimates that energy consumption in commercial buildings accounts for 18 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. BOMA also recognizes that responsible building operating and management practices can significantly reduce energy consumption and diminish a building's carbon footprint, lowering GHG emissions.

By working with real estate professionals, our network of 92 local BOMA associations, with all levels of government, and the myriad of public and private groups with similar goals, market transformation will be realized. Commercial real estate owners and operators understand the bottom line of reducing energy consumption and implementing "green" management practices is a social and environmental responsibility, and can result in a positive return on investment.

To reduce the use of natural resources, non-renewable energy sources and waste production, BOMA San Diego is calling upon its members to accept the following 7-Point challenge:

1. Continue to work toward a goal to decrease energy consumption by 30 percent across your portfolios by 2012 -- as measured against an "average building" measuring a 50 on the Energy Star benchmarking tool in 2007;

2. At least once a year, benchmark your energy performance and water usage through EPA's Energy Star benchmarking tool (and share your results with BOMA);

3. Provide education to your managers, engineers and others involved in building operations to ensure that equipment is properly maintained and utilized;

4. Perform an energy audit and/or retro-commissioning of your building, and implement low-risk, low-cost strategies to improve energy efficiency with high returns;

5. Extend equipment life by improving the operations and maintenance of building systems and ensure equipment is operating as designed;

6. Through leadership, positively impact your community and your planet by helping to reduce your industry's role in global warming; and

7. Position yourself and the industry as leaders and solution providers to owners and tenants seeking environmental and operational excellence.

BOMA also calls on its network of 92 federated local associations to accept the challenge to work at the local and state level to implement responsible government programs and voluntary incentives to facilitate market transformation.

BOMA San Diego has endorsed this call to action, which includes:

1. Partner with local government, other industry groups and associations, as well as utilities, to identify voluntary energy efficiency strategies with proven results and application to existing buildings;

2. Partner with local government to share education and case studies on no- and low-cost building operating and management practices to assist in efforts to transform state and municipal buildings;

3. Work with policymakers to enact voluntary, incentive-based programs to accomplish their goals of implementing green communities; and

4. Work cooperatively with state and local government to update, at a reasonable frequency, its model building and energy codes.

BOMA San Diego will be providing further information to its members to encourage voluntary, incentive-based programs to help protect our environment and make member buildings more energy and resource efficient in the coming months. For more information on the 7-Point Challenge, visit www.boma.org.

Benedetto is legislative director for BOMA San Diego.

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