Green roots in emerging markets
AIG Global Real Estate started going green almost 15 years ago, backing into environment-friendly practices almost by accident while working in Puerto Rico. Since those early days, AIG has imported sustainable methodology to its developed-market projects.
In Puerto Rico, AIG was developing a building one of whose selling points would be its capacity to generate 100% of its own power requirements. At the time, it believed the ability to provide a constant power supply would be a differentiator on leasing. And it was, enabling AIG to command the highest rents in the market. However, delivering the power supply turned out to be a challenge.
The idea was to build generators in the building to compensate for an unreliable power supply. In order to keep the size of the generators down, they needed to reduce power consumption. Working with their engineers, AIG came up with a solution that was new at the time, using tanks of glycol (a liquid somewhat like antifreeze), which it froze at night when power demand was relatively low. During the day the air-conditioning blew air over the glycol, which melted during the day.