The Terrace achieved top ENERGY STAR ratings for each of the buildings in the development. This was made possible through Blue Ocean Energy’s sound and effective energy management plan that not only reduced energy consumption but lowered energy costs.

Often, property owners and managers are reluctant to pursue energy efficiency improvements because of the perception of high initial costs. The truth, however, is that these improvements are more cost-effective than continuing to operate inefficiently. Blue Ocean Energy’s energy management strategy allowed the Terrace to see a return on investment after only six months!

All four buildings in the campus have earned ENERGY STAR certification for these energy efficiency improvements and operations. This places the buildings in the top 10% of office buildings nationwide in terms of energy efficiency! This work became the topic of a case study published by Austin Energy available for download below.

We were pleased to find that the simple improvements in operational efficiency that Blue Ocean Energy Management recommended provided a return of investment within only six months. And in 2016, our energy costs were approx. 15% less that in 2012 – even though average occupancy of the four buildings increased from 87% to 95% within that period of time.

Leigh Ann Hendricks

Regional Property Manager

The Terrace is a four building commercial office development, totaling over 619,000 square feet, surrounded by Hill Country terrain and the protected Barton Creek greenbelt. The location, between South Mopac Expressway and Capital of Texas Highway, grants the development convenient access to Southwest Austin.


Property Owner: Cousins Properties
Property Management: Cousins Properties
Energy Mgt. Company: Blue Ocean Energy
Mechanical/Electrical.Plumbing: Trane
Lighting Installer: Marcon Construction Co.
Size: Approx. 619,000
Years Built: Between 1999-2002
  • Terrace I Avg Occupancy 92% 92%
  • Terrace II Avg Occupancy 88% 88%
  • Terrace VI Avg Occupancy 83% 83%
  • Terrace VII Avg Occupancy 99% 99%

                                   Key Measurements:

Low-cost, high-return paybacks can be often found in the operational aspects of energy management, and equipment replaced only when absolutely necessary. Through commissioning the existing equipment employed by The Terrace, the energy management company they engaged was able to formulate a more effective and efficient energy management plan. The plan recommended that a few capital improvements be made, but achieved results primarily through increased operational efficiency.

The main improvements to The Terrace were made to the Building Automation System (BAS) and Energy Management System (EMS) control systems. Currently, only Building I has made this improvement, but The Terrace plans to upgrade the other three buildings. In 2016, Building 2 had a new chiller installed. In addition to these improvements, the complex installed LED lighting in the hallways and corridors, and retrofitted the lighting in the parking garage. The Terrace provides 11 hours per day of thermal comfort.

These improvements qualified The Terrace for rebate programs, as well as provided a six-month return on investment after completion. In addition, cumulative GHG emissions savings from 2012-2018 (based on year 2012) totaled 9,733 metric tons (MTs) of carbon dioxide equivalent.

This is the equivalent of the amount of carbon sequestered by 11,455 acres of forest, or by removing 2,066 passenger vehicles from the road for a year*.

* † ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®

Passenger Vehicles Removed from the Road

Equivalent Acres of Forest


The ENERGY STAR score assesses how a building performs compared to its peer group from an energy usage perspective. A building is given a percentile rating, from 0-100, based on its energy use intensity (EUI). To be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification a building must earn an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher out of a 1-100 scale. This score indicates that the building performs better than at least 75% of similar buildings nationwide. Factors considered in the ENERGY STAR score’s algorithm include building size, location, occupancy numbers, number of computers, etc. This algorithm estimates how much energy the building would use if it were the best and worst performing. The actual energy data is then entered and the building’s rank is determined.


In 2018, ENERGY STAR certification was awarded for all four buildings at The Terrace for the fifth consecutive year. All four buildings of The Terrace currently hold a rating of 83 or higher, a designation that puts The Terrace in the top 12% of buildings in the US from an energy usage perspective.


Austin Energy’s case study highlights how the City of Austin’s ECAD ordinance raises awareness of a property’s energy efficiency. Rather than simply satisfying the ordinance’s requirements, Blue Ocean was able to work with the team at The Terrace and found that energy benchmarking presented an opportunity to save on operational costs. Our proactive engagement led to energy cost savings and decreases in energy usage, even as occupancy rates increased. This increased level of awareness – community-wide – is a primary goal of Austin Energy’s ECAD ordinance.