Working in sustainability is in many ways its own reward. We’re thrilled that Kimco’s Corporate Responsibility initiatives have enabled us to share so many environmental and economic benefits with our stakeholders and tenants. But today we’re especially proud to report that we’ve been selected by the LEEP campaign to receive an award for exemplary work in energy efficiency through our Gateway lighting controls initiative.

KIMCO FACILITIES: Custom web-based lighting control system leads to big energy savings for Kimco sites

The LEEP, or Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking, campaign is a national program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage commercial property owners and managers to incorporate high-efficiency lighting solutions in their parking facilities. The collaborative forces behind the LEEP campaign — the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, the Green Parking Council, and the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), with a technical assist from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Alliance — presented the awards at the IFMA Facility Fusion Conference and Expo in the nation’s capital yesterday. Kimco took home the award for “Largest Absolute Number of Facility Upgrades.”

Case studies cited by LEEP have demonstrated the substantial savings potential of intelligent lighting controls and state-of-the-art lighting upgrades. New LED fixtures, for example, which last two to five times longer than traditional outdoor lights, can cut energy costs by up to 70 percent and reduce maintenance costs by a remarkable 90 percent. They do this while actually improving the visibility, safety, and curb appeal at the property – all things Kimco values in addition to the cost and carbon emission reductions.

GREAT HONORS: Kimco’s Nate Mitten poses with leadership of LEEP campaign. Pictured left to right: Paul Wessel, Executive Director, Green Parking Council; Henry Chamberlain, President and COO, BOMA International; Nate Mitten, Manager of Energy Services, Kimco; Tony Keane, President and CEO, IFMA; Arah Schuur, Program Manager, Building Technologies Office, US Department of Energy

For our sustainability team, the LEEP campaign award is not only an honor but a terrific validation that our Property Gateway Building Controls Initiative is on the right track. At the heart of Gateway is an innovative approach to lighting controls that can reduce a property’s energy consumption by 10 to 20 percent depending on site-specific security needs and retailer operating hours. After partnering with outside researchers to better understand the building controls market and current technologies, we built a modular lighting control system that could be packed up in a kit and shipped to a site for installation. We also designed an iPad app to easily control the system remotely. With the intuitive Gateway App, property managers can fine-tune lighting schedules, command lights into temporary override for site inspections and maintenance, and receive automated notifications when lights go out or the site loses power. The system has enabled us to reduce energy use and costs at our properties while also becoming a valuable management tool.

In the earliest phase of the Gateway initiative we learned that energy use could be slashed by selectively reducing lighting during a property’s quiet hours — without compromising safety or security.

TAKING IT HOME: Kimco takes home the 2014 award for Largest Absolute Number of Facility Upgrades

Since 2011, Kimco has upgraded 139 sites in 25 different states with the Gateway system and completed 21 additional lighting control projects before the Gateway program began. This covers some 51 million square feet of parking space and reduces per-site energy use by an average of 22,759 kilowatt hours per year. We’re also saving a total of over $400,000 in energy costs per year which is being re-invested into other site improvement projects. And though we couldn’t be happier with this recognition from the LEEP Campaign, we’re just getting started. Gateway launched only two years ago, but is poised to reach an additional 150 sites by the end of 2014. Moreover, we’re capitalizing on what we’ve learned and plan to leverage building automation technology beyond lighting for other applications including irrigation, sub-metering, video monitoring, and HVAC.

Thanks to all the Kimco property managers, vendor partners and other industry allies such as the Better Buildings Alliance who helped us make the LEEP award a reality.