June 11, 2010

Cutting back on energy use during hot summer months might seem like a lot to ask for a commercial real estate company that manages about 4 million square feet of property throughout the city.

However, Transwestern San Antonio, the largest office management company in the city, saved 265 kilowatts (kW) in 2009 through CPS Energy’s Demand Response program by applying simple energy conservation measures on days when the city’s energy use was at its highest. In doing so, Transwestern received a CPS Energy rebate worth more than $17,000.

“Our goal was to keep energy efficiency at the forefront without sacrificing tenant comfort,” said Matt Rose, Transwestern’s vice president of management services. “Transwestern enjoyed participating in this conservation effort and appreciated the financial rewards we were able to pass on to our clients."

Businesses that sign up for the Demand Response program agree to voluntarily reduce energy demand during “peak energy events” -- times when energy use is high and expected to break records. Whenever CPS Energy sees an opportunity to reduce electric demand it eliminates the need to generate additional peak power.

“The Demand Response program inspired our staff to search for new opportunities of reducing energy demand, especially during those really hot days,” Rose said.

During peak energy events, Transwestern staff saved energy at four large office properties that totaled 1.2 million square feet. Staff worked together to turn off lights in common areas not being used and parking garages where daylight provided sufficient lighting.

The staff also saved energy by adjusting the set points on water heaters and by adjusting the temperature of water in chillers by 1 to 2 degrees.
The 2010 Demand Response season begins June 1 and ends September 30. With hundreds of office and bank buildings in San Antonio, there’s an ample opportunity for medium and large-sized facilities to participate.

Here’s how the program works. Commercial customers who sign up for the program agree to voluntarily reduce at least 100 kW of electric load in exchange for rebates. During hot summer afternoons when energy use is high, CPS Energy notifies customers two hours in advance to reduce electric load.

At the end of the season, CPS Energy issues rebates to the program’s participants. The amount of a rebate is based upon the customer’s ability to consistently “respond” to these notifications by reducing electric load.

Customers have flexibility to participate for the whole Demand Response season or for a portion of it. Customers also have the option to reduce more than 100 kW.

Commercial customers interested in the program can speak to their CPS Energy account manger, visit the Demand Response page on or send Demand Response questions to

The Demand Response program, part of CPS Energy’s Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP), has a goal of reducing 225 MW of customer demand. STEP’s overall goal is to reduce growth in demand by 771 MW – the equivalent of a large electrical generating unit – by 2020.

Transwestern Excels at Saving Energy
In 2009, Transwestern received three CPS Energy rebates for the lighting retrofits worth a combined total of $162,000.

In addition, Transwestern turned off air conditioners on Saturdays when offices weren’t occupied to avoid wasting energy.

Transwestern also recently signed up for CPS Energy’s LoadTracker software to monitor energy use of several properties.

The idea of being environmentally responsible is nothing new for the nationwide real estate provider. Transwestern locations across the country have made it a priority since the company opened its doors 30 years ago.

Nationwide, Transwestern reduced energy use in the buildings it manages by more than 6 percent in 2009. In the same year, Transwestern’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED©) practices saved more than 10.8 million gallons of water and more than 89,000 tons of carbon emissions.

In March, the EPA awarded Transwestern its seventh consecutive ENERGY STAR® award. The company also is the first third-party commercial real estate services provider to win both Partner of the Year and Sustained Excellence awards.

“Transwestern’s leadership role in protecting the environment and energy conservation stems from a deep commitment in doing the right thing, as well as a long-term view business strategy,” Rose said. “Our partnership locally with CPS Energy through their many educational, rebate and energy management programs has significantly impacted our ability to create value for our owners while maintaining a high level of social responsibility.”