Howe Commons Undergoes Green Renovations

The William P. Howe Commons is an historic office park centrally located at 65 South Main Street in Pennington Borough. The complex’s centerpiece is known as the Abey Building, as it was for many years the residence and medical practice of the Borough’s beloved town doctor, William Abey.

Since 1998, Howe Commons’ principal owner has been The Electrochemical Society (ECS), which is headquartered in one of the Commons’ five stately buildings. ECS is an international nonprofit educational organization which has advanced the theory and practice of electrochemistry and solid-state science since its inception in 1902.

Sustainability and renewable energy
Among its principal objectives is the advancement of technology related to sustainability and renewable energy. “Nearly all of the research that the Society publishes and presents at international meetings each year, contributes to the sustainability of our planet,” said ECS Chief Operating Officer Tim Gamberzky. “With a mission that focuses on scientific advancements in areas like renewable energy, ECS is committed to reducing its own carbon footprint and will continue to incorporate planet-sustaining research and technology innovations at our historic Howe Commons facilities.”

Since early 2014, the ownership of Howe Commons has undertaken extensive renovations to the property. The construction has included aesthetic improvements to the buildings’ common areas and facades, in most cases using permanent planet-friendly building supplies, some of which were derived from recycled materials. Additionally, the property’s management company Pretium Property Management has orchestrated the installation of significant improvements to the buildings’ infrastructure all aimed at improving energy efficiency.

This scope of work has included the replacement of inefficient lamps and light fixtures, lighting control upgrades, and the installation of new high-efficiency heating and air conditioning units. “Pretium applauds ownership’s effort to redevelop the property and reduce energy consumption. We expect these improvements to have an immediate impact on economic performance and leasing velocity while dramatically reducing our carbon footprint,” said David Niven, COO of Pretium.

The renovations related to sustainability have been funded in partnership by Howe Commons ownership and through grants furnished through Local Government Energy Audit (LGEA) and Direct Install Programs. LGEA provides subsidized energy audits for buildings owned by local governments, New Jersey State Colleges and State Universities, and non-profit agencies while Direct Install, a division of the New Jersey Clean Energy Program, is a turn-key platform for small to mid-sized facilities to aid in upgrading equipment to more efficient types. Both programs are designed to cut overall energy costs by upgrading lighting, HVAC, and other equipment with energy efficient alternatives.

“By implementing these energy conservation measures we are projected to absorb the CO2 equivalent of planting over 200 trees and of removing 10 cars from the road each year,” said George Ackerman, Principal of enbrooke Realty Investment Company, the Managing Partner of Howe Commons. “The LGEA and Direct Install programs have obviously helped with the economics of these improvements but our partners at the ECS have been quite enthusiastic about making these investments which are both consistent with their mission statement and friendly to the planet.”