Why are property management firms gatekeepers of sustainable building operations? Maximizing operational efficiency in office buildings to cut costs is only possible when you have the measurements and metrics to make targeted improvements.
Property management firms hold tremendous power, or at least potential power, when it comes to the sustainable operations of their tenants. Office operations represent a large share of environmental impact for the sector. And it’s frequently the property managers who decide how extensively utility consumption and waste generation are measured.
We’re astonished at how many property managers are missing the opportunity to capture and leverage the information coursing through their buildings.
The technology exists to sub-meter HVAC heating, HVAC cooling, lighting, plug load, renewable energy generation, and steam, each by floor or source. It’s also possible to measure water, wastewater, stormwater capture, recycling, compost, and waste down to detailed levels.
A steady flow of this valuable data is just waiting to be tapped. With this data, tenants would be empowered to target their efforts to operate more efficiently. Without this data, achieving operational efficiency is more like playing darts blindfolded.
Owning or managing a “green” building is a good start, but not nearly enough. One of our clients occupies one floor in a 10 floor office building. This building has a LEED Silver rating. The client completed a LEED Commercial Interiors buildout that boasts a LEED Platinum rating.
Despite these building accolades, our client cannot accurately measure their water or waste. Managing these resources efficiently is important to this client. Typically, a building like this has one water meter, the cost is included in rent, and tenants remain unaware of their consumption.
If, like our client, your utility costs are concealed in your rent, you’re paying hidden fees. You have no way of telling if you’re paying a fair share. If your company is sipping utilities while your neighbor is guzzling, why should you subsidize them?
Let’s look at energy. Your floor may be sub-metered, but do you know what’s sucking the most juice from the grid? Without sub-metering at the levels outlined above, how do you know where to make changes and cut costs?
Many property management firms think that having a LEED certified building will be enough to make them competitive in the market. Maybe that’s true today, but not for long. Building codes and tenant expectations are changing.
If we really want “smart buildings” we need to meter everything for everyone. A wave of sub-metering is on the rise. Pike Research just released a report claiming that the worldwide market for electrical sub-metering technology and services totals $771 million and will grow to $1.58 billion by 2020.
Smart property managers will seize on this opportunity and equip new buildings. Really smart property managers will do what they can to expand equipment in existing buildings.
By extensively installing sub-meters and water flow meters, property management firms can open the gates for their tenants to operate sustainably. In doing so, both can achieve competitive advantage.
Let us know if you’re interested in finding out more on this topic.