(From left) Salustri discusses the BOMA mandate to membership
with president Henry H. Chamberlain, chairman-elect Joseph W.
Markling and outgoing chairman Boyd R. Zoccola.
Competition is its own incentive.
That’s just one of the messages
the association has for Capitol Hill.
Leadership of BOMA International is advancing its troops on a variety of fronts. But regardless of the issue— whether it be energy efficiency, carried interest or mandated sustainability thresholds—one overarching goal guides
the group’s efforts: to increase the freedom and capability of
its 17,000 members in 93 local associations to chart their own
course for success.
A prime case is the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings
Initiative, launched early last year in part to make commercial
properties 20% more efficient by 2020. “It makes sense and it
dovetails nicely with the BOMA Seven-Point Challenge,” comments president and COO Henry Chamberlain, explaining that
the goal of the challenge actually exceeds the Obama plan both
in terms of threshold percentage and timeframe, seeking a 30%
reduction by the end of this year.
But the two programs are not totally aligned, and as chair-
man Boyd R. Zoccola explains, a major sticking point comes in
the incentives the government program sets out. “We’d like to
see more robust and reasonable incentives,” he says, holding
up the Empire State Building’s recent $13-million energy retrofit
as a prime example. Zoccola, who is also EVP at the Indianapolis-
based Hokanson Cos., says that while the retrofit “hit the ball
out of the park,” and cut consumption by over 40%, the
upgrades didn’t qualify for a single federal tax incentive. “The
bar is simply set too high.”
Joseph W. Markling, who takes over when Zoccola’s term
ends during the BOMA Every Building Conference & Expo in
Seattle this June (see sidebar, Page 68), says the impact of too-
high thresholds will be lack of interest. Even arbitrary standards
sound good to the untrained ear, he says, “and the incentives
sound like a lot of money. But we need incentives that are
meaningful and substantial. Otherwise, if people know they
can’t get to 40%, they simply won’t try. Incentives have to work
for both sides. Every building is different.”
“Depending on your portfolio, your tenant mix and the type
and age of the buildings, there can be a lot of solutions to pro-
duce a high-performance product,” agrees Chamberlain.
“There are a lot of ways to get that done—Energy Star, LEED,
the BOMA 360 program and all sorts of management practices
you can leverage up. But to make any one of them a generic bar
for the industry to clear just doesn’t make sense.”