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7 Commercial Property Management Tips to Lower Your Energy Bill

Blog 27

Operational efficiency is crucial in maximizing your property's value and appeal as you manage or own commercial real estate. Among the various aspects of operation, energy efficiency stands out due to its significant impact on your bottom line and the marketability of your property. Reducing energy consumption lowers operational costs and increases the value of your property by making it more attractive to tenants who prioritize sustainability and cost efficiency.

Managing energy consumption can be a complex challenge but also a valuable opportunity. By proactively addressing energy use, you position yourself as a forward-thinking leader in property management, aligning with broader environmental goals while enhancing profitability. These tips for property managers looking to reduce costs and drive up margins will also lead your building toward sustainability. 

Understanding Your Energy Usage

The first step towards enhancing energy efficiency is to conduct an energy audit. This process involves examining your property's current energy use to identify areas where you can improve efficiency and reduce costs. An energy audit helps pinpoint problems such as excessive energy consumption in outdated systems or leaks due to poor insulation.

To assess your energy efficiency effectively, you should focus on key metrics such as kWh usage, peak demand times, and energy costs per square foot. These indicators clearly show where energy is used most and least efficiently, guiding your investment in improvements. 

Regularly updating these metrics can also help track the progress of your energy-saving initiatives over time.

Optimizing Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems

HVAC systems are often among the largest energy consumers in commercial buildings. Maintaining your HVAC system's efficiency is crucial for reducing energy usage. 

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning, replacing filters, and servicing, can significantly improve energy performance. Ensure your systems are correctly calibrated, and all components function optimally to prevent unnecessary energy drain.

Lighting Solutions for Energy Savings

Transitioning to LED lighting from traditional lighting options is one of the quickest ways to cut energy costs in your commercial property. LEDs use significantly less energy and last longer, reducing energy and maintenance costs. The brightness and quality of light can also be a subtle yet powerful way to enhance a space's aesthetic appeal.

Incorporating automated lighting systems and motion sensors can further optimize your energy savings. These systems ensure that lights are on only when needed and adjust according to the natural light available, which can drastically reduce your lighting-related energy consumption. This technology not only saves energy but also adds to the convenience and modernity of your building.

Water Conservation Techniques

Effective water management is another crucial aspect of energy conservation in commercial properties. Tracking water usage to identify leaks and ensure toilets aren’t running are easy ways to conserve water. Smart controls like Runwise give you complete visibility into the water returning to your boiler, and if it’s lower than it should be, you’ll be alerted of the potential leak. This is just a straightforward way to conserve water and save money. 

Water conservation indirectly reduces energy consumption by lowering demand for water heating and pumping systems. Implementing these strategies saves water and energy and contributes to a more sustainable operation overall.

Investing in Renewable Energy Sources

Exploring renewable energy options such as solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal systems can be a transformative step for your property. These technologies reduce reliance on traditional energy sources, stabilize energy costs, and reduce environmental impact.

Investing in renewable energy often involves an upfront cost, but the return on investment can be compelling. Solar panels, for instance, can significantly reduce electricity bills while also offering the added benefit of potential tax credits and incentives. While less common, geothermal heating and cooling systems provide high efficiency and long-term savings by utilizing the stable temperatures underground to regulate building temperatures more naturally.

A detailed cost-benefit analysis should be conducted to understand the potential return on investment (ROI) from these renewable energy sources. The combination of lowered operational costs, increased property value, and potential governmental incentives makes renewables attractive for many properties. Additionally, showcasing a commitment to sustainability can enhance the building's appeal to prospective tenants and investors increasingly looking for environmentally responsible real estate.

Employee Training and Energy Policy

One of the most overlooked aspects of energy efficiency is human behavior. Educating your building occupants about the importance of energy-saving practices can significantly reduce energy usage. Simple actions like turning off lights and electronics when not in use, using natural light, and properly setting thermostats can make a big difference.

Implementing an energy policy that encourages sustainable habits is crucial. This policy could include guidelines on energy usage, rewards for energy-saving behaviors, and regular updates about the building’s energy performance. Such initiatives not only promote a culture of sustainability but also align the interests of tenants with those of property management, creating a collaborative environment for energy conservation.

Smart Controls and Building Automation

Smart controls and building automation systems represent the cutting edge of energy management in commercial real estate. These systems integrate various components of a building’s operation into a cohesive, automated system that optimizes energy use. Smart heating controls, for instance, adjust the heating and cooling based on real-time occupancy and weather conditions, significantly reducing unnecessary energy usage.

The real power of smart technology lies in its ability to provide real-time data and actionable insights. Energy management systems can monitor energy consumption across different parts of a building and identify specific areas where energy usage can be reduced. This level of control helps reduce operational costs and maintain an optimal environment for tenants, thereby enhancing tenant satisfaction and retention.

Beyond tenant comfort, controlling your energy usage via technology can reduce your monthly bill by 21%. Which benefits not only you but also the environment. So much so that the energy companies will offer rebates to pay for the technology in your building, or at least a portion of it. 

Government Incentives and Tax Benefits

Numerous government incentives and tax benefits exist to encourage energy efficiency in commercial properties. These can include rebates, grants, and tax deductions designed to offset the costs associated with energy-efficient upgrades and renewable energy installations. In NYC, National Grid rebates offer an easy path for adding smart controls to your building for little cost. The U.S. government also provides a tax deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings that can cover expenses up to $1.80 per square foot.

Utilities offer rebates to cover many of these expenses. We built a tool to find which rebates your buildings can qualify for, which you can access here. 

To take advantage of these financial incentives, staying informed about the latest programs offered by federal, state, and local governments is essential. Consulting with an energy specialist or tax advisor can help you apply for these benefits and integrate them into your overall investment strategy for energy efficiency.

The strategic importance of energy efficiency in managing commercial properties cannot be overstated. It significantly reduces operational costs and aligns your property management practices with global sustainability trends. The benefits extend beyond economics, improving the comfort and satisfaction of tenants, enhancing the property’s market value, and positioning you as a leader in responsible property management.

Take the first step towards transforming your property into a model of energy efficiency. Book a Runwise demo to explore how simple smart boiler controls can drastically reduce your energy expenses and help your building meet compliance standards well into the future. Together, we can craft a strategy that enhances your property's value and appeal in today's competitive market.