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What is ULI
Tenant Energy Optimization Program Center for Sustainability Resources Acknowledgments

Tenant Energy Optimization Program

The ULI Tenant Energy Optimization Program offers a returns-based approach to integrating energy efficiency into tenant space design and construction that leads to reduced energy use and costs. The foundation of the program is a ten-step process that, when implemented in ten pilot fit-out projects, resulted in energy savings of 30 to 50 percent within a three- to five-year payback period—and an average 25 percent internal rate of return over the life of a ten- to 15-year lease. To support building owners, tenants, architects, engineers, and other service providers interested in implementing the process, the program provides tools such as technical resources guides, how-to documents, case studies, and other training materials. The Tenant Energy Optimization Program is led by ULI’s Center for Sustainability and builds on the energy efficiency retrofit project conducted at the Empire State Building under the direction of Wendy Fok. Associated tenant buildouts there—and elsewhere—helped inform the development of the Tenant Energy Optimization process and the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 535).

Center for Sustainability

The ULI Center for Sustainability is dedicated to creating healthy, resilient, and high-performance communities around the world. Through the work of ULI’s Greenprint Center for Building Performance, the ULI Urban Resilience Program, and the Tenant Energy Optimization Program, the center advances knowledge and catalyzes adoption of transformative market practices and policies that lead to improved energy performance and portfolio resilience while reducing risks caused by a changing climate. To learn more, visit

The Urban Land Institute

The mission of the Urban Land Institute is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute today has more than 39,000 members worldwide representing the entire spectrum of the land use and development disciplines. ULI relies heavily on the experience of its members. It is through member involvement and information resources that ULI has been able to set standards of excellence in development practice. The Institute has long been recognized as one of the world’s most respected and widely quoted sources of objective information on urban planning, growth, and development. To learn more, visit


Interested in implementing the Tenant Energy Optimization process? ULI has developed a series of resources, including:

Additionally, the following external resources can further guide you in implementing the Tenant Energy Optimization Program. Have a resource you don’t see here? Email to have it included on this list.

Step 1 – Select a team

Step 2 – Select a space

Step 3 – Set energy performance goals 

Step 4 – Model energy reduction

Step 5 – Calculate projected financial returns 

  • Coming soon!

Step 6 – Make final decisions 

  • Coming soon!

Step 7 – Develop an occupancy plan

Step 8 – Build out the space 

Step 9 – Execute the occupancy plan

Step 10 – Communicate results 


Case Study Participants

The foundation of ULI’s Tenant Energy Optimization Program is a ten-step process that, when implemented in ten pilot fit-out projects, yielded impressive energy and cost savings. Pilot projects applying this process were carried out in tenant spaces occupied by Bloomberg L.P., Coty Inc., Cushman & Wakefield, Estée Lauder Companies, Global Brands Group, LinkedIn, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Reed Smith LLP, Shutterstock, and TPG Architecture. Case studies documenting their experiences were written to inform tenants, building owners, real estate brokers, project managers, architects, engineers, contractors, and energy consultants.

Project Director

ULI’s Tenant Energy Optimization Program builds on the energy efficiency retrofit project conducted at the Empire State Building under the direction of Wendy Fok, principal of OpDesigned LLC. From 2011 to 2016, Fok led the development of a portfolio of tenant buildouts to create a financial and design template to incorporate energy efficiency in tenant spaces. Fok has been a key contributor to the standards set forth in the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 535), which created the national Tenant Star framework. A registered architect, she received her degree from the University of Texas at Austin with real estate executive education from Harvard Business School.


Funding to develop the program was generously provided by the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets, John and Amy Griffin, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Malkin Fund, the SL 2012 Fund, the Ripple Foundation, the Robertson Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

A Commitment to Sustainability
“As both employees and their visitors walk into the new space at One World Trade Center, Cushman & Wakefield’s commitment to its goals of showcasing its brand, energy efficiency and sustainability, and employee satisfaction is apparent.”
Eric Duchon
Director, Sustainability Strategies, Cushman & Wakefield