2015 Winner: It Takes a Village

The most improved commercial tenant space across multiple sustainability categories.

Who led the charge

 Sammie Baker                     Senior Property Manager,  Parkway Properties


Baker has managed Frost Bank Tower since September of 2005. Thanks to her efforts, the building was the first Austin high rise to earn the LEED Gold O&M Certification in December of 2010. Since then, Frost has also earned the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) 360 Designation and was an Austin BOMA Outstanding Building Award recipient. Thanks to Baker, the tower has realized a great reduction in average yearly electricity consumption—enough in fact to power an average local household for 34 years.


  • Engaging tenants in a sustainability program is critical                                                                   
  • Pilot testing of tenant engagement programs helps in scaling these efforts to other projects

Frost Bank Tower Fills Austin’s Skyline, Not Its Landfills


“Our firm has many buildings in Texas, so we’ve been particularly focused on implementing programs like Earth Day events and electronic waste drives in our region,” says Sammie Baker, Parkway Properties senior property manager at the Frost Bank Tower in Austin. Under the hood, however, the 11-year-old building now features a Building Automation System (BAS) that contributes to lower energy and maintenance costs. Between the BAS and operational changes, Baker says, energy consumption dropped by approximately 16 percent from 2009 to 2012.

Tenant Engagement Is Key
Initially, Baker and her team faced a major hurdle: engaging retail tenants whose spaces were all under separate management control. Their solution was to focus on what worked best. “We placed iPads in the lobbies, through which we encouraged occupants to answer surveys. We even offered them breakfast goodies and fresh coffee,” Baker says. Through this approach they were able to uncover key information they needed to effectively engage their tenants in sustainability improvements, including their new Green Tenant Improvement Guide and Green Office Guide. These publications offer simple, low-cost strategies for stepping up sustainability efforts. 

By educating its tenants about the importance of simple sustainability strategies, Parkway Properties has developed a successful, scalable strategy for environmental stewardship—one it can apply throughout its property portfolio.

Although “Keep Austin Weird” might be the Texas capital’s hip mantra, after Baker and her team’s efforts to implement a robust sustainability program at Frost tower, the city may want to change that to “Keep Austin Green.”


"Effective stakeholder engagement drove the success of our building's sustainability efforts."


CLOSE UP: frost bank tower

What did we do?
The Parkway Properties team created a robust sustainability program that includes engaging tenants as a key factor in its success. 

Why we did it: 
To be an industry leader in Texas and improve sustainability awareness.

Our Approach: 
A multi-prong awareness and tenant-engagement initiative that leverages green techniques and materials.



  • LEED EBOM Gold certification (2010); LEED EBOM Gold certification for 2015 is underway
  • 77 percent of all solid waste has been diverted from landfills
  • Recognized in 2014 by Parkway Partners annual sustainability awards for having the highest waste diversion rate in the entire portfolio