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Looking for the Office of the Future? Meet Sustainable Office Design

Written by: Marta Schantz

Office building fit-outs happen fast. So fast, that stakeholders may miss energy efficiency opportunities and utility incentives. The Sustainable Office Design (SOD) program solves this disconnect by promoting quality lighting design.

Ever try to incorporate energy efficiency into a quick-turn-around tenant space fit-out? And incorporate utility incentives? And get tenant-and-landlord buy-in? Not easy. The split-incentive issue is a significant barrier to incorporating energy efficiency into Tenant Improvement (TI) projects. Communicating with and obtaining buy-in from stakeholders in this hard-to-penetrate market is a challenge faced by utilities across the country. Further, influencing fit-out projects in the leased commercial office market is challenging for utility efficiency programs due to fast turnaround times, short payback period requirements, and a general lack of customer knowledge on emerging energy efficient technologies.

To counter the barriers to TI efficiency, Waypoint partnered with National Grid and Eversource Energy to develop a program offering that addresses the split incentive in tenant spaces. Sustainable Office Design (SOD), was developed in order to deliver integrated and innovative lighting and controls solutions to this space. Waypoint has been supporting National Grid and Eversource Energy’s effort to address this hard-to-reach market sector with the SOD program since 2014. The goal is to increase the penetration of advanced lighting design and controls into the leased, individually metered office space, and help accelerate the adoption of new technologies in this market moving forward. The SOD program achieves this through a quick 1-month utility application review, simple $1/ft2 lighting and controls incentive based on achievement of pre-approved energy performance targets. An additional designer incentive aligns the interests of lighting designers and program administrators.

The SOD program is the first of its kind to directly engage tenants, and as such, address the all-too-common split-incentive between owners and tenants. After its first year pilot, SOD has published several success stories to share with the market. The following case studies present examples of building tenants working with architects, lighting designers working with utility stakeholders, and all stakeholders benefitting from energy savings.

  • ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge wanted to transform their office into a showcase LEED Gold certified space through efficient and beautiful design, and dramatically reduce electricity usage without negatively impacting lighting quality. ARC and its collaborators created a sustainable, energy-efficient office space and achieved the lowest possible lighting power density (LPD) through computer modeling and careful fixture selection.

  • Cimpress wanted a smart office design that would achieve LEED Gold certification, enhance overall comfort, and foster employee creativity. With advanced lighting technology and 54% open space, Cimpress has achieved an office with low LPD requirements at 0.55 watts per square foot while remaining a high-quality lighting environment.

As SOD program participation grows, even more National Grid and Eversource customers will be benefitting from efficient lighting fixtures and controls strategies. If you are interested in learning more, email


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