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“We cut energy use at 522 Fifth Ave by 18% in one year.” – Hines Property Management

Categories: Retail, General, Grocery

UNILAND/Gerster Energy Services

Buffalo, NY

UNILAND/Gerster Energy Services

At first glance, 45 Earhart Drive is unexceptional.  Built in 1986, this red brick single story building offers 34,000 square feet of office space and blends into suburban Buffalo.  This is precisely the reason its owner, Uniland Development Company, and a tenant, Gerster Energy Services, decided to make it a showcase for what’s possible when it comes to making energy savings happen.

“We worked together to make 45 Earhart Drive our flagship effort because it is in many ways typical of the commercial office space in Western New York.  The energy savings achieved here can be done in any office building in the region,” said Peter Egloff, Operations Manager, Gerster Energy Services, an HVAC and energy management services company in Western New York that helps clients reduce energy use.

Energy consumption has been cut by almost 30% and these unwasting efforts contributed substantially to achieving the LEED Existing Building certification.  In large part, Gerster Energy Services and Uniland reduced energy use by controlling systems and equipment. They simply turned things off (or down) when they didn’t need to be on.   For example, occupancy and CO2 sensors were introduced to detect whether conference rooms are being used and adjust lighting and HVAC accordingly.  Similarly, based on daily meeting schedules, the HVAC system is programmed to proactively heat or cool meeting rooms ahead of time to optimize comfort and energy efficiency.

Much of the work targeted the building’s lighting and HVAC systems, specifically:

  • Improving Systems Controls & Management: Automated scheduling and sensors are used for the lighting and HVAC systems.
  • Right-sizing output:    Lighting and HVAC output were adjusted to meet staff needs and preferences. Thanks to advances in lighting technology, the number of bulbs in lighting fixtures was reduced by half while still producing more than enough light.  Older fixtures were also replaced with new more efficient lamps and ballasts, and overhead lighting has been scaled back by using more task lighting.     
  • Upgrading outmoded equipment:  Within its own offices, Gerster Energy Services replaced all outdated CRT computer monitors with low-energy LCD monitors to reduce electricity demand.  
  • Optimizing HVAC systems:  High efficiency rooftop HVAC units and a variable air volume distribution system were installed.  This system enables the new HVAC units to use less conditioned air and more outside air when outdoor conditions permit.

As Gerster Energy Services’s Egloff said, “You walk into this building and the energy retrofit work isn’t obvious.  It doesn’t scream radical.  The changes are pretty easy to do and just make sense.” 

“It’s a win-win that improves the value of our properties and minimizes operating costs for our tenants,” explains Shelley Unocic, Property Manager.  Uniland works with both local utilities and NYSERDA to find commercial incentives for its retrofit work. NYSERDA contributed $33,000 to offset the cost of the retrofit work at 45 Earhart under its Existing Facilities Program.

“We believe energy efficiency is simply good business.  What’s been proven out here is being applied throughout our properties in the Buffalo –Rochester corridor,” affirms Unocic.

  • Categories: Grocery


    “Making energy efficiency and sustainability a corporate priority starts at the top, but the implementation must inclu...

  • Categories: General, Grocery, HVAC

    Hines Property Management

    Hines property management takes a pragmatic approach to energy efficiency at its properties. “We adopt practices if they...


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