Property management companies can save cash by going green

“These tips offer property professionals effective operational and management strategies for reducing energy consumption and elevating sustainability,” said BOMA International chair and chief elected officer Joe Markling.

Commercial architects may have their role in creating sustainable buildings in the future, but property management companies don't have to wait to begin retrofitting their existing structures with money-saving fixtures and common-sense energy-saving suggestions for tenants, be they residential or commercial.  

According to a Wall Street Journal article, "The Green House of the Future," architect Rick Cook, of the New York Firm Cook + Fox, said, "This is a time of re-examining values, re-examining what we need."

Commercial buildings account for 18 percent of the nation's energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.  It costs about $200 billion to pay for that energy, and about 30 percent of the energy is wasted. If every American replaced a single conventional light-bulb with an ENERGY STAR rated bulb, there would be a savings of approximately $600 million annually.  Despite the whopping $205 billion that the Building Owners and Managers Association International contributes to the U.S. GDP, $600 million is nothing to scoff at.

"The deployment of new energy efficient technologies and adoption by both public and private sectors are vital to achieving substantial change in building energy use throughout the U.S.," said Scott Hine, program manager of DOEs Building Technologies Program.

It is in this vein that BOMA International recently released the "Top 10 Ways," we, as commercial real estate companies and professionals, can improve our properties.  "These tips offer property professionals effective operational and management strategies for reducing energy consumption and elevating sustainability," said BOMA International chair and chief elected officer Joe Markling. 

The "Top 10 Ways" include:

  • Use the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager to track consumption of electricity and water.
  • Take advantage of energy-reducing opportunities by conducting regular energy audits.
  • Keep your tenants informed of any seasonal energy-use changes and offer energy-saving advice they can implement in their home.
  • Install compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Install water saving faucets, shower heads, and low-flow flushing fixtures.
  • Encourage the recycling of aging electronics.
  • Implement occupancy sensors to control HVAC systems.
  • Use blinds, or solar shades, to block heat.
  • Provide incentives for sustainability-minded tenants with bicycle racks or electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Finally, replace air filters for HVAC systems frequently.

"As we approach Earth Day," says Markling, "it's important to remember that making significant energy-efficiency improvements is within the reach of most building owners and managers, and many of the methods are no- or low-cost."  

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