Spectrum Properties/Emery pushes LEED limits

Friday, October 28, 2011, Vol. 35, No. 43
By Hollie Deese

The Caruthers Building in Cool Springs, a Spectrum Properties/Emery property, received LEED Existing Building Silver Certification in September.

It’s no secret some of the industries hardest hit during the recession have been new construction, renovations and real estate. But that slowdown has opened the door for the steady growth of property companies focused on sustainability, allowing them to target a new, eco-minded clientele.

“It is one of our company philosophies,” says Pat Emery, president of Spectrum Properties/Emery, a commercial real estate company providing leasing, property management, development, brokerage services and commercial acquisitions. “We continually try to improve our buildings to be more sustainable.”

And just last month, Spectrum secured LEED Existing Building Gold certification for the six-building Corporate Centre campus and Silver certification for The Carothers Building, all in Cool Springs.

“We built them originally with a lot of Class A development techniques – energy management systems, reflective glass, bathroom fixtures – a lot of those things that just made it a good building,” Emery says. “So in 2010, we took those things we had already done and added to it to bring them all to LEED EB standards.”

Together, the seven buildings make up 1.4 million square feet of multi-tenant space, the largest collection of multi-tenant buildings in Tennessee and among the largest in the country to achieve LEED EB certification.

Plus, the Corporate Centre campus has become the first multi-tenant campus in Tennessee to achieve LEED EB Gold certification.

Impressive, considering sustainability distinction is especially hard to achieve in multi-tenant buildings, requiring effective management and diligent implementation.

“I think we are truly the leader in the south for LEED, especially in the multi-tenant environment, which is hard,” Emery says. “We have over 65 tenants and 3,700 employees that are affected by what we do, all to the positive. We are creating a better environment for people to work in and businesses to conduct their work. Hopefully create a better world for all of us to live in.”

The properties implemented a number of innovative green programs including a green building education program and an extensive green cleaning program. Indoor plumbing fixtures were retrofitted to reduce water use by more than 1.5 million gallons annually.

Brooke Nicholson, property manager and LEED project manager, oversaw the changes necessary to make the buildings as healthy and efficient as possible.

“Everything we did was to take it a step further,” Nicholson says. “We started looking at what we were using in the buildings and how we could do it better.”

To get to that next level, they made sure landscaping services were not using chemicals or disposing of mulch and trimmings incorrectly. They also implemented a green cleaning program among the janitorial staff to improve air quality in the buildings and better practices with pest management.

“We have done tests that show the air the tenants are breathing in the building is about four or five times better than what they are breathing at home or outside.”

Firmly invested in sustainability moving forward, more and more clients are starting to see the benefits right from the beginning as well. “I think on new construction each year it gets a little bit more,” Emery says. “You can feel the momentum so that in five years it will really be the norm.”