U.S. Equities Realty Powers 20 North Michigan Avenue with Renewable Energy Credits

CHICAGO - U.S. Equities Realty has purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset energy used at 20 North Michigan Avenue, which houses the headquarters of ISMIE Mutual Insurance Company (ISMIE) and Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS). The property has become one of the first commercial office buildings in Chicago to offset 100 percent of the base building’s electricity with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

U.S. Equities partnered with 3Degrees, a leading national renewable energy and carbon offset company, to facilitate the purchase of RECs at 20 North Michigan. 3Degrees specializes in providing Green-e Certified® RECs from renewable energy facilities across the nation.

20 North Michigan Avenue’s REC commitment will prevent more than 2,318,000 pounds (1,051 metric tons) of CO2 from entering the earth's atmosphere per year. This is comparable to removing 192 cars off the road each year or, the amount of CO2 stored in more than 239 acres of trees annually. Each REC purchased by 20 North Michigan Avenue represents one megawatt hour (MWh) of renewable electricity generated and delivered to the power grid which is equivalent to the power consumed by 139 average U.S. households annually. This energy will displace the generation of conventional electricity throughout the power system and reduce emissions into the atmosphere.

“Through this initiative, U.S. Equities is reinforcing the critical importance of utilizing clean, renewable energy resources to power commercial buildings,” said Sundee Wislow, director of sustainability, U.S. Equities. “Buildings use 70 percent of the electricity produced in the United States. Considering that the creation of electricity is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential that buildings maximize energy efficiency and utilize clean energy where possible.”

In addition to 20 North Michigan serving as the home to ISMIE and ISMS, it is also U.S. Equities’ corporate headquarters. The leadership of these firms felt it was important to address their environmental footprint and improve the building’s overall efficiency.

“We commend U.S. Equities’ management team for launching environmental initiatives that aim to reduce our carbon footprint and positively impact our planet,” said Dr. James L. Milam, president of the Illinois State Medical Society and board member of ISMIE Mutual, the largest tenant and owner of 20 N. Michigan. “We are excited to partner with U.S. Equities on this endeavor and recognize that reducing carbon is as much a business concern as an environmental one.”

Facilitating the purchase of RECs at 20 North Michigan is just one of many environmental sustainability initiatives currently being implemented throughout U.S. Equities’ management portfolio. The company has also launched green cleaning and maintenance programs, electronic waste recycling, low mercury light bulb purchasing, and water efficiency measures in other buildings in its portfolio, as well as received a number of Energy Star certifications – including one at 20 North Michigan. Additionally, U.S. Equities has endorsed the Building Owners and Managers Association’s “7 Point Challenge” and has committed to improving the energy efficiency of its portfolio 30 percent by 2012.

One building that has realized significant efficiency improvements is the Sears Tower, which U.S. Equities began managing in April 2006. U.S. Equities implemented several green programs to improve the 3.8 million-square-foot building’s energy efficiency by limiting waste and energy consumption. Since 2006, the Sears Tower’s recycling rate has drastically increased and the building also now boasts a very successful bicycle and hybrid car sharing programs for its tenants.

“The commercial real estate industry has a clear opportunity to be at the forefront of improving the environmental footprint of our nation’s office buildings, and we’re proud that U.S. Equities has taken a leadership role in implementing innovative sustainability initiatives for our buildings and tenants,” added Wislow.