HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Brookfield Properties, which has 10 downtown skyscrapers in its Houston portfolio, is partnering to build a massive solar plant to power the buildings.
Brookfield’s Houston office portfolio totals 10.3 million SF in notable downtown towers including Allen Center, Houston Center, and Heritage Plaza. The 52-story Heritage Plaza, the centerpiece of numerous downtown skyline photos, was designed by architect M. Nasr & Partners with a top that resembles a Mayan pyramid.
The construction of the Houston solar power plant is part of the Toronto-based firm’s plan to transition its massive U.S. office portfolio to “zero-emissions electricity” by 2026.
Ten Skyscrapers Going Solar in Downtown Houston
Brookfield Properties is in discussions with solar power experts regarding the construction of the solar panel plant for its Houston buildings.
“The new-build (Houston) solar project will be in service by 2026. We are in discussions with multiple developers, but have not yet selected a specific site or supplier,” said Laura Montross, vice president of communications for Brookfield Properties. “The Houston portfolio’s electricity requirements annually are approximately 90,000 MWh, which is unlikely to take up the total capacity of a new solar power plant, so the excess capacity will be available to other buyers or the utility grid operator for purchase.”
In a press release, the company said: ”Brookfield Properties will facilitate the construction of a newly built, Texas-based solar power plant to supply 100 percent of the electricity for its Houston office portfolio.”
Brookfield Properties, which has 70 million SF of space in the United States, says it will be “the nation’s largest commercial real estate user of zero-emissions electricity” when the national power conversion is complete.
Expecting an 80 Percent Reduction in Carbon Emissions
The transition is expected to reduce the total direct carbon emissions of Brookfield’s U.S. office portfolio by approximately 80 percent. Brookfield Properties office tenants will eliminate Scope 2 carbon emissions associated with their electricity consumption.
Brookfield’s more than 70-million-SF U.S. office portfolio is among the largest in New York, Washington, D.C, Houston, Los Angeles, and Denver.
“Instead of taking incremental steps or waiting for others to act, we are completely transforming how we power office buildings throughout the United States,” said Ben Brown, Managing Partner, Brookfield Real Estate. “Not only will it significantly advance our goal of transitioning our entire portfolio to net zero carbon, but also we are confident that both the increased demand for zero emissions electricity it will create and the industry precedence it will set will be a game-changer for how state-of-the-art office buildings are powered throughout the country.”
The companies that are tenants in Brookfield Properties’ buildings will eliminate carbon emissions associated with their electricity consumption, assisting them with measurable progress that can be included in their own ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) reporting.
Although solar will be used in Houston, Brookfield is using other sources of “zero-emissions electricity” in some of its other markets.
Brookfield Properties will procure electricity for its U.S office properties from three sources: hydropower (49%), solar and wind (33%), and nuclear (18%). More than 85% of power will come from new plants enabled by Brookfield Properties’ commitment or bundled Purchase Power Agreements (PPAs), where Brookfield directly buys local zero emissions electricity and receives the associated Energy Attribute Certificates (RECs or EFECs).
Brookfield’s Electricity Sources by Market:
New York – Bundled PPAs: Just as is already being done for Brookfield’s One Manhattan West tower, the New York office portfolio will purchase electricity generated from hydropower facilities located throughout New York State.
Washington, D.C. and Maryland – Bundled PPAs: Office properties in Washington, D.C. and Maryland will purchase 100% of the region’s electricity requirements from nuclear power facilities within the PJM grid, equipped by Westinghouse Electric Corporation, a Brookfield portfolio company.
Houston – New Build: Brookfield Properties will facilitate the construction of a newly built, Texas-based solar power plant to supply 100% of the electricity for its Houston office portfolio.
Los Angeles – New Build: Brookfield Properties will facilitate the construction of a newly built, California-based solar power plant to supply 100% of the electricity for its L.A. office portfolio.
San Francisco – Community Choice Aggregation: Office properties in San Francisco will purchase power through CleanPowerSF’s SuperGreen program, a local community choice aggregation program of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that provides renewable electricity from solar and wind power generated within California.
Denver – Same-Grid Certificates: Office properties in Denver, which is in a regulated energy market that limits the ability for direct power purchase agreements, will purchase renewable electricity certificates from local wind power facilities equivalent to 100% of the properties’ electricity requirements.
Virginia – Same-Grid Certificates: Office properties in Virginia, which is in a regulated energy market that limits the ability for direct power purchase agreements, will purchase emissions free electricity certificates from in-grid nuclear power facilities equivalent to 100% of the properties’ electricity requirements.
The Randall Lewis Center for Sustainability in Real Estate at Urban Land Institute
“ULI Greenprint applauds Brookfield’s leadership to procure zero emissions electricity for its entire U.S. office portfolio by 2026,” said Marta Schantz, Co-Executive Director of the Randall Lewis Center for Sustainability in Real Estate at the Urban Land Institute. “This is an important step in Brookfield’s journey to net zero and an indication of the company’s commitment to ULI Greenprint’s net zero carbon operations by 2050 goal.”
July 3, 2023 Realty News Report Copyright 2023
Houston Center Image: Courtesy Brookfield Properties. Photo credit: photographer Shannon O’Hara
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