Like it or not, energy forms a significant percentage of property operational costs today. In any retail or commercial investment property the common area power will drain a lot of profit from the landlord’s net income.
In simple terms the energy consumption factors of any investment property should be carefully controlled and optimised. That is one of the main jobs of the property manager to focus on; to improve the property performance financially in a realistic and professional way. In saying that, there are a few strategies that can work very effectively and directly in improving energy consumption and costs as part of the overall investment property performance.
Set Some Energy Strategies
Here are some ideas to help:
- CONTRACTOR MEETINGS: Meet with your maintenance contractors regularly as they will have some valuable ideas to share about the operational systems of plant and machinery. They understand the equipment better than anyone else; they will know what can be done to improve energy use whilst not overly impacting occupancy conditions in the building.
- THE COST OF ENERGY: Buy energy at the best commercial rates. There are different suppliers of energy in most towns or cities. They offer certain economies and purchasing power when it comes to energy.
- DEMAND TIMES FOR ENERGY: Understand your peak demand periods. With any office or retail property there will be certain periods of peak energy demand during the day and during the week. Those periods generally do not change, but how you purchase energy at those times will impact gross costs.
- CLIMATE CONTROL AND AIR CONDITIONING: Review air conditioning operations. The air conditioning plant in any investment property will consume a lot of power. In winter and summer those demands will shift depending on your typical outside climate and building design. In conjunction with your air conditioning maintenance contractors you can review special internal climate strategies such as delayed starts, optimal starts, outside air use, and night purges.
- AFTER HOURS CYCLES: The after-hours use of air conditioning, lighting, and the building itself will put demands on operational costs. Some of those use factors will be recoverable from the tenants in the building.
- LOW COST LIGHTS: Lighting modifications can occur to common area globes and tubes so that common area lighting costs are reduced. Understand how lights function in special common areas such as car parking, entrance foyers, and toilets showers. Sensor lights and LED hardware will help in saving costs.
- MOVING PEOPLE: Lifts and escalators are a big drain on power consumption. Whilst they are essential for the movement of people in a building, they could be partially shut down after hours. For example consider a high rise office tower; there is no point running all lifts in the lift banks if the building is largely empty. You can park lifts after hours and only run one lift in each bank in an office tower. The occupants will very likely not be impacted.
So these simple factors of building use will have a great impact on energy consumption and savings in any investment property.