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Association Bisnow
March 6, 2008



Henry Chamberlain, President of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, just broke the good news to us:  For the second year in a row, BOMA has been named an EPA ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year. Wow, we didn’t even realize associations could win these things!


Hoisting his 2007 hardware, Henry tells us BOMA won the EPA’s praise again in ’08 for its BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (aka BEEP—who comes up with these things?), a six-course seminar on low-cost strategies for optimizing energy use in commercial office buildings. BOMA is a federation of 92 local associations (and 12 international affiliates), whose 17,000 members use BEEP to learn how to perform an energy audit, invest in new equipment, and be efficient with their lighting. Since the program launched in 2006, real estate firms CB Richard Ellis and Cushman & Wakefield have made it part of their training.


Henry, a Civil War buff, showed us his 1862 map of DC, back when it had more forts than office buildings.  BOMA is going through a historic period itself: in 2007, it celebrated its 100th anniversary and introduced its first female chairman, Brenna Walvaren, who holds down a day job at the USAA Real Estate Company.  BOMA celebrated at its annual conference by ringing the bell at the NYSE, hosting a Q&A with Alan Greenspan at their Javits Center convention—and, naturally, announcing another green initiative.


Back in 1980, Henry worked in the press office of the Carter-Mondale re-election campaign.  (“We lost, but we lost magnificently,” he says.)  He now has BOMA walking the walk on environmental issues—the association is waiting on a LEED Commercial Interiors certification for its newly built-out offices on 15th Street.  


BOMA’s new “7-Point Challenge” asks members and local associations to commit to reducing energy consumption 30% across their portfolios by 2012.  Already taken up by the likes of Transwestern and Carr Services, the challenge asks companies to measure their energy and water use with ENERGY STAR benchmarking tools and share their results with BOMA.  Henry says that championing the environmental cause makes sense for them, and not just because office buildings contribute a whopping 18% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.  “It puts us in a leadership role,” he says, adding that the information collection and distribution functions of the Challenge are a natural fit for an association.  Henry’s challenge, meanwhile, will be finding room on his desk for another trophy.

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