Apple Park May30

Apple Park

One of the world’s most impressive development projects is close to being finalized. The super-famous spaceship structure that’s to serve Apple’s needs in Cupertino, Calif., is a few months away from welcoming the first employees. The tech giant announced in a prepared statement that the campus, dubbed Apple Park, will be open to its people in April. Since the start of construction in December 2013, the project has been under close observation by fans and opponents alike, buzzed constantly by curious drones. The material they gathered didn’t disappoint, in fact, viewing any of the multitude of aerial videos, the astonishing attention to detail is crazy. It’s almost impossible not to let your mind drift towards the device that made Apple, Apple—the Mac. Apple Park is estimated to have a $5 billion price tag—a figure CEO Tim Cook didn’t dispute on a 2015 TV interview. The project was born out of Steve Jobs’ idea of developing a center for creativity and collaboration and features extraordinary structures throughout its 175 acres. Its ring-shaped main building totals 2.8 million square feet and is entirely covered in the world’s largest panels of curved glass. It will be surrounded by a lush canopy of over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees, leaving almost no cement-laden from the campus Apple had acquired from HP. The 1,000-seat theater at Apple Park will be named the Steve Jobs Theater to honor his memory and the enormous impact he had on Apple and the world; the 20-foot-tall glass cylinder with 165 feet in diameter, covered by a metallic carbon-fiber roof, will be situated atop a hill, one of the highest points within Apple Park, overlooking meadows and the main building. “Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple...

A Smarter Vacation?

A lot of work goes into planning a vacation these days. From airline and bus tickets to hotel reservations, you’re making a lot of plans and getting a lot of emails. It can be hard to find what you need when you’re in a hurry on the road. The Google Trips App is a travel guide and a smart vacation planner that was launched last year. Recently upgraded, it helps travelers experience more and organize less. Available both on Android and iOS, the free app compiles all your essential info in one place and makes it available even offline. How it works Once you download it, you need to login using your Gmail account. In just a few minutes, it scans your email, pulling up all trip-related information from your inbox—hotel receipts, car reservations, maps, flight confirmations etc. The best part of the app is that it also works offline. Once you’ve downloaded everything onto your phone, you have access to all the necessary info no matter where you are so you don’t have to use an expensive international data plan. After signing in, the app will show you a list of upcoming and already completed trips. Tap into a future trip and discover a colorful grid with these options: Reservations This feature organizes your flights, hotel information and any rental car reservations you may have made. It puts all your reservations in one place. If you click on an upcoming flight, for example, it gives you the times plus the terminal and gate as available. For hotels and hostels, Trips also shows a map. Things to do This section is the heart of the app. It compiles user data and reviews to offer you a list of things to see in a city...

RENTCafé Reach May25

RENTCafé Reach

We are thrilled to officially unveil RENTCafé Reach. This advanced set of marketing services is designed to attract qualified prospects to your multifamily properties through SEO, SEM and enhanced online property listings on the RENTCafé.com ILS. As a certified Google Partner, we’re ready to help you elevate your search and lead generation programs to the Big Leagues. SEO & SEM Services for the Real Estate Industry The RENTCafé Reach digital marketing team is comprised of Google certified experts in both Google AdWords for paid traffic and Google Analytics for organic traffic. This allows us to use Google as resource to answer questions and identify future opportunities. Our SEM program is a full-service offering from research to setup and fine-tuning, plus remarketing, conversion tracking and display advertising. The SEO program is also a full-service solution with content optimization, on- and off-page optimization, website health checks and location data management through our partnership with Yext. This ensures our clients receive only the absolute best-in-industry, white hat strategies and tactics for improving their websites’ performance while actively protecting them against black hat techniques that get flagged by search engines and harm the performance of search results, ads, websites and brands. Stay Ahead of the Competition We understand how daunting it is to launch an entire digital marketing program. And the perils of working alone without a partner to guide you. What is a SERP? Or Semantic Search and PageRank? What’s the difference between display network and search ads? Or regular text ads vs. expanded text ads and the comparative click-through-rates? We heard your questions and took them to heart so we can help you, our clients, reach beyond the fold and seize the leads that make the difference and drive business results. Today’s digital space is as...

Virtual Veterans

With the help of virtual reality, aging veterans unable to travel can get up close and personal with far-flung war memorials. As the clock strikes 11:11am on Veterans Day, the sun aligns perfectly with the Anthem Veterans Memorial in Anthem Arizona. At the appointed hour, beams of light are funneled through the monument, casting a solar spotlight over The Great Seal of the United States. Surrounded by bricks inscribed with the names of over 750 servicemen, for that one moment the seal glows on the ground, gleaming up from the shadows cast by the shrine’s five marble pillars. While thousands of visitors make the trek each year to watch the transformation live, for many aging veterans the trip is not an option. Failing health and lack of finances make travel prohibitive for many seniors. Thankfully, advances in virtual reality can now help housebound adults explore the world from the comfort of their armchair. “They can be feet away from them again, in full glory, and feel like they’re there with them,” says Sarah Hill, the co-founder of Honor Everywhere, a nonprofit organization to helping veterans see the memorials erected in their honor – either in person or via virtual reality. Losing History The average age of US soldiers during the Vietnam War was 22, and so many of that war’s former combatants are currently nearing retirement age. In addition, in the last 14 years, Vietnam veterans are dying at a rate of 390 per year. For World War II era veterans the numbers are even more staggering: 500 deaths a day and with the US Department of Veterans Affairs estimating that only 620,000 of the 16 million servicemen and women were still alive in 2016.  With an average age of 92, most of the...

YASC DC 2017 May24

YASC DC 2017

The 2017 Spring Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC) in Washington, D.C. kicked off with a glimpse into the future of relationships and technology. Yardi CEO and founder Anant Yardi addressed the crowd of nearly 1,500 clients on how cloud services, mobile apps, and artificial intelligence can be used to improve relationships. Mr. Yardi explained how Yardi will use technology to improve client relationships. He announced the creation of a task force that will address user concerns based on app ratings. “We need an organization—and we’ll set that up—where anytime we get a rating, we need someone looking at it and contacting that user. If there is a response-time issue, a particular problem, we can help them as the problem occurs. Know that service is important to us,” continues Mr. Yardi. “If it’s not good enough, we take action.” In the spirit of improvement, Yardi will continue to enhance cloud services and securities for its users. Recent cloud architecture investments included, but were not limited to, Next Gen firewalls, intrusion protection appliances and software, DDoS protection, web application firewalls, and end point protection. Ongoing training ensures that security staff stays up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field. “We now have a SWAT team within our cloud and they’re constantly monitoring for changes,” chuckles Mr. Yardi. “We are sending members of our security teams to all of the security conferences so that we can be sure that we’re doing the right thing by you.” Staying abreast of trends is another way that Yardi plans to improve relationships through technology.  The refinement of artificial intelligence paves the way for a vast array of applications, not the least of which includes property management. Mr. Yardi posed conceptual applications that use machine learning to improve clients’ bottom line. Unlike...

Reducing Turnover May23

Reducing Turnover

As the senior living industry continues searching for solutions to ongoing workforce shortages and rampant burnout, software solutions like Yardi Voyager can simplify tasks and increase employee satisfaction. Finding and keeping the right employees remains an ongoing challenge for senior living providers. In fact, according to research firm Holleran, after a fairly short “honeymoon period” of one year, worker engagement begins to decline, leading employees to seek out new opportunities and resulting in a 42% average turnover rate for life plan communities. These losses translate into real money: The average cost of turnover per employee can be up to 50% of that employee’s salary, with true turnover costs for registered nursing hovering above $65,000 per employee. “Turnover in our industry’s been pretty high,” admits Angela Kennedy, Senior Accountant for Commonwealth Assisted Living. “Just being able to recruit and retain top talent is challenging.” “Our People Set Us Apart” With a set of core values focused on helping seniors “age with dignity,” Commonwealth Assisted Living operates 23 communities throughout Virginia. Founded in 2002 by Richard J. Brewer, the company values leadership from within and strives to create an atmosphere of teamwork and transparency. As one of the largest providers of independent living, assisted living and memory care in the state, Commonwealth cares for over 1,500 residents. “Our people set us apart from other providers,” says Brewer, “We work hard, and are not afraid to do things differently.” The centralized recordkeeping, customized menus and easy to relevant records available through Yardi Voyager® Senior Housing allows Commonwealth staffers to do their jobs much for effectively, but that’s not the only benefit. According to Angela, the simplified data entry system and streamlined record keeping also help employees feel more engaged by freeing them from mundane, repetitive tasks so they...

Colorful Surface

Microsoft’s Surface lineup welcomed its newest computer, the Surface Laptop, the company’s direct answer to the MacBook. The new flagship device for Windows 10 S was designed with college students in mind. It will sell starting at $999 (upgraded versions will costs as much as $2,199) and will begin shipping on June 15. The new device doesn’t hold any records—it’s not the thinnest nor lightest out there, but its 0.6-inch thickness and 2.74-pound weight make it an easy burden to carry around. The Surface laptop doesn’t bring any novelties either, it’s a Microsoft PC with the Surface branding. The overall design makes you think more about a MacBook-style notebook rather than a Microsoft’s Surface Book—the screen is not detachable and the hinges are not supposed to be seen. In fact, the Surface Laptop feels to be geared toward Apple customers more than anyone else. It will be available in four colors—burgundy, graphite gold, platinum and cobalt blue—the burgundy and blue versions are special in a way that will immediately stand out. Out stands the cloth-like Alcantara fabric, brought from Italy and is laser cut to coat the palm rests and the space between the keys. Even though it’s not more luxurious than metal, its softness and warmth look appealing. How well will it stand the test of time? Remains to be seen. Tech-specs wise, one of the first things that catches your eye is its lack of ports (which seems to have turned into a trend lately): the headphone jack is still there, next to an USB 3.0 port and a mini DisplayPort. But that’s it, Microsoft decided that the USB-C doesn’t have a place there, nor does Thunderbolt 3. One cool thing is that it doesn’t have any visible speaker grilles or holes,...

Growing Office Rents May23

Growing Office Rents

CBRE recently released the Spring 2017 North America Suburban Office Trends Report. Econometric advisors foresee positive net absorption and rent growth will continue throughout suburban office markets in the United States. A handful of cities stand out for their growth. For more than 27 quarters, the U.S. suburban office vacancy rate has refused to rise. Sluggish new supply in major suburbs cannot keep up with increasing tenant demand. Even suburbs that were slow to recover from the recession are now showing luster.  CBRE reports that several Florida markets, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and even Detroit posted year-over-year vacancy rate decreases of 200 bps or more in Q4 2016. Submarkets that cater to thriving industries, such as technology, stand to benefit the most from this trend. Major suburbs that offer energy efficient spaces and top-end amenities will also do well. The following 10 markets are slated for success throughout 2018. Suburban Atlanta Rents increased by 10.1 percent, ending 2016 at an average of $22.47 per sq. ft. Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that some neighborhoods of the metropolitan area just made history by breaking the $50 per foot barrier. Cambridge, Mass. The vacancy rate declined by 180 basis points by Q4 2016, ending at 3.8 percent. The average price came in at $65.26 per sq. ft. The new city of Cambridge has grown in large part due to the presence of technology powerhouses, Microsoft and Apple. The presence of academic professionals, employees of Cambridge Innovation Center and WeWork also contribute to the high demand for office spaces. Suburban Fort Lauderdale, Fla. At the end of Q4 2016, the suburb yielded 8.3 office rent growth, at a price of about $29 per sq. ft. New construction and the conversion of some retail spaces into office space may provide relief...

Business Travel May22

Business Travel

Travel Leaders Group, the largest traditional travel agency in North America, released the 2017 Business Travel Trends survey. More than 540 agents participated in the survey, each with a portfolio composed of at least 50 percent business travel clients. The survey highlights industry trends as well as business travelers’ leading concerns. The business travel sector is projected to remain strong with 86% of agents expecting bookings to remain “as high or higher” than the same time last year. With potential growth in mind, industry professionals search for ways to improve the traveler experience. Top Concerns Each year, agents reported the top travel three concerns for their clients. The chart below reflects changes from year to year.   While agents can do very little to ease difficulties within the airlines and TSA, they have committed to tackling the problems within their reach. Agents reported that they are most able to address or mitigate the following concerns for corporate travelers: Delayed flights 48.6% Making sure someone has their back 39.2% Earning frequent flyer/loyalty points 32.3% Limited airline seat availability 28.7% Travel costs 25.1% Wish Lists Skift, the nation’s largest industry intelligence platform, created the Supertraveler’s Wish List this year. Beyond the woes of airlines and agents, this list hones in on what business travelers seek on a personal level. The most sought-after features include better apps for hotels and improved retail in and around accommodations. Those are great additions for short term stays. But for travelers on assignment for several weeks or months, more is needed to help them feel comfortable. Corporate housing provides a more permanent feel than hotels—but they rarely get it right. Beyond pots and pans in the kitchen, corporate housing fails to address personal needs. Yardi has created a travelers’ wish list to...

YASC Scavenger Hunt May20

YASC Scavenger Hunt

Join the social media photo scavenger hunt at YASC 2017 in Washington, D.C. This is a great way to network with fellow attendees, explore the conference offerings, and learn about Yardi’s history, products, and values. We invite you to jump in on the fun! It’s easy to participate: Snap and post photos of scavenger hunt items on Twitter and Instagram Tag posts with the event hashtag, #YASC2017 Winners will be announced on social media Thursday, May 25, starting at 9am EST Rules: Snap and post on Twitter or Instagram using #YASC2017. Accounts must be public for posts to be visible during contest. There are lots of fun prizes, so don’t miss out!  YASC photo scavenger hunt list: At the YASC Registration Desk A General Session photo Networking at lunch or a break A Washington, D.C. landmark (outside the hotel) With a Yardi staff member (look for the Yardi shirts) Visit Knowledge Central In a course or panel session Selfie with your team or YASC attendee At one of the YASC receptions A favorite moment at YASC Questions?  Visit the Networking Lounge in Columbia Hall of the Washington Hilton, message Yardi on social media, or email us at...

YASC DC 2017 May19

YASC DC 2017

We’re excited to welcome more than 1400 of our valued Yardi clients to the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., next week for our biannual Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC). The networking, fun and learning begins Tuesday, May 23, and concludes Thursday, May 25. Attendees will enjoy a robust schedule of training courses, networking and social events, opportunities to get hands-on with Yardi software, ask the experts and much more. If you’d still like to attend, it is not too late to register. As he has done for the past 15 years, Yardi founder and CEO Anant Yardi will kick off the event on Tuesday morning with a keynote address to attending clients and staff in the International Ballroom. Mr. Yardi typically offers a high-level overview of technology advancement and points of connection to the real estate industry. YASC will be held on the West Coast in San Diego, Calif., from Sept. 13-15. International YASC events are slated for Amsterdam, Singapore and Sydney this fall. A growing YASC Middle East took place this past spring in Dubai. “Our Yardi conference offerings continue to expand, and our goal is for the quality of the client experience to continually improve,” said Tim Hoover, Yardi creative director and producer of the event. “As our repeat attendees can attest, no two YASCs are the same as we strive to make each one better than the last.” Features of this year’s Washington, D.C., conference includes: Opportunities to Connect Over Lunch Network with industry peers and hear more about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. At lunch, look for signs on the tables and select your seat based on your area of interest. A Yardi specialist will be at each table to answer product-related questions. Client Panels and Roundtables Considering a new core product purchase or want to improve how you use your existing platform? Check the course list for the client panels and roundtable discussions. These are great places to pick up tips and insight from your industry peers. Knowledge Central Have a technical question about a Yardi product that you currently use or are considering purchasing? This is the place to go for expert help, one-on-one support, product demonstrations and information about upgrades and implementations. The sales team will be giving away some cool Patagonia gear to clients who stop by for a demo, so if you’ve been wanting to ask about a product you don’t yet have, this is a great time to do it. Wednesday Night Yardi Parti Yardi’s YASC celebrations are known for their food, entertainment and fun! Join us to celebrate our 2017 theme: “Energized for Tomorrow” and see what everyone is talking about. Dinner, drinks, live music, dancing, photo booth and more will take place on Wednesday night in the International Ballroom. Networking Lounge Stop by the networking lounge in the foyer of Columbia Hall and sit down for a conversation with your new industry connections. The Networking Lounge is also where you can find Yardi social media staff, who can answer questions about using social channels for branding, marketing and connecting with your consumer base. Social Media Channels We’ll be running contests throughout the conference, so get engaged and share your experience on social media using #YASC2017 for conference news, prizes and more! You’ll find us @Yardi on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and @YardiSystems on Instagram. Follow the Action We’ll be posting live from the event and so will our social media savvy clients. Find all the posts in one place at our YASC Social...

Insights From AIM May18

Insights From AIM

Multifamily marketers from across the country converged in Huntington Beach for the 2017 Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference on May 7-10. Several hundred professionals gathered to explore the industry’s latest marketing trends and best practices. Here are three ideas from this year’s event that might buoy your marketing efforts: Tell Your Story Marketing is not just an exercise in generating the lowest cost per lead. It’s a complex combination of creativity and strategy that ultimately tells a story to potential customers. In a world of constant digital distraction, today’s marketers need to have the skills to create content that will rise above the noise. When it comes to creating engaging content, authentic storytelling and video rule. AIM panelists Jamie Matusek, President of Catalyst, Lori Valenti Webb, Director of Marketing at Wood Residential Services, and Anna Geary, Founder of Show My Property TV, explored the ideal customer experience. Matusek explained that experiences progress through the Happiness Halo framework, from anticipation to interaction to afterglow. Anticipation is the process of building excitement, teasing potential customers into wanting to know more. This can be seen in pre-event promotion and behind-the-scenes videos. Interaction immerses customers in an experience, providing emotional direction to aid in decision making. Multifamily application could be a time-constrained promotion, such as a rent discount, or highlighting property perks, such as free recreation classes or dog-friendly happy hours. Afterglow focuses on creating a positive memory, reinforcing brand positivity. As Matusek explained, bad things will happen, such as a poorly executed maintenance request or a negative front office visit, so it’s important to positively direct the sentiments with each resident touch point. Crafting an effective story can combine these three concepts into any medium, from a blog or social media post to a video. At AIM, video was...

Energized for Tomorrow May17

Energized for Tomorrow

Yardi has been creating real estate software for more than three decades. The company was founded by Anant Yardi in Santa Barbara in 1984, and over the years Yardi has become a respected industry leader and pioneer, providing technology solutions for almost every conceivable real estate vertical. After more than 30 years in the business, you might expect us to be setting the metaphorical cruise control while we enjoy the ride. Time to think again. As we focus on 2017 and beyond, Yardi is proud to unveil a new theme and direction. We are Energized for Tomorrow. Capturing our spirit Energy powers our bodies, our homes and our businesses. It is part of natural processes, people, machinery and technology. Energy is also an invaluable description of spirit. When we say “energized,” you might hear “focused, excited, driven, motivated, ready, enthusiastic, prepared.” But that’s just the beginning. Energy is contagious. It spreads quickly and can power exciting results and success. For us, it all starts in the workplace. We hope to continue perpetuating the positive, supportive, family-focused energy that is part of our longstanding corporate culture beyond our offices. Serving our clients Our clients tell us that they enjoy coming to our Yardi Advanced Solutions Conferences (YASC), as well as the vertical-focused Yardi Forums, because of the spirit of community at Yardi. As we continue to grow globally, we will find new ways to share that energy. Our energy for creative development and progress is frequently powered by our valued clients. We thrive when we listen to their challenges, strategies, struggles and successes. We are energized by creating products that help our clients run their businesses better. Energy is also a very practical consideration for every business owner. No matter what your segment of the real estate industry, providing efficient and affordable utility services and billing is a consideration. Energized for good Finally, we want to use our energy to give back. As part of our philanthropic efforts, we are working to promote the cause of energy efficiency on a national level. We have provided education grants to BOMA, IREM, NAA and BOMI International to move this important work forward. The goal is to help reduce energy use in commercial, residential and mixed-use properties through education and technology. We look forward to sharing more about how we are energized for good in the months to come. This year and into the future, we want to stay Energized for Tomorrow. Thank you for joining us on the...

Shining Cities May16

Shining Cities

Solar power installations marked a new high in 2016. The U.S. now has 42 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic energy capacity, sufficient to power 8.3 million homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 52.3 million metric tons annually. The solar capacity grew by 55 percent year-over-year, according to an analysis released by Environment America Research and Policy Center. The report, “Shining Cities: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America,” shows that the top five positions are occupied by San Diego, Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Jose and Phoenix. An impressive number of American citizens have invested in their own solar projects in their communities, while many more are ready to enroll. In 2016, just the top 20 cities accounted for as much solar power capacity as the entire country had installed in 2010, nearly 2 gigawatts. There is also a new number one solar-powered city, San Diego, which is replacing Los Angeles. But even though the industry marked such great progress last year, there are still vast amounts of untapped solar potential. San Diego, for instance, has developed less than 14 percent of its technical potential for solar energy on small buildings. “San Diego is setting the standard for other cities across the country when it comes to protecting our environment and creating a cleaner future,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “This new ranking is a testament to the many San Diego residents and businesses harnessing our natural resources as we march toward our goal of using 100 percent renewable energy throughout the city.” In order to shift the U.S. toward an economy powered by 100 percent renewable energy, officials must continue to adopt a series of pro-solar policies. “Cities are recognizing that clean, local and affordable energy just makes sense,” said...

Ransomware Rundown

Though some experts predicted the final payoff would hit one billion dollars, Friday’s ransomware attack – believed to be one of the largest ever perpetrated – ended with a fizzle over the weekend with the hackers barely pulling in $26,000 before being  temporarily stopped in their tracks by an anonymous cyber security expert. Summarizing the situation Monday morning, Jan Op Gen Oorth, senior spokesman for Europol, told the AFP, “The number of victims appears not to have gone up and so far the situation seems stable in Europe, which is a success.” “It seems that a lot of internet security guys over the weekend did their homework and ran the security software updates.” A Simple Fix According to Gizmodo the damage was mitigated, in part, due to the quick action of an “anonymous 26-year-old security researcher” named MalwareTech, who managed to temporarily slow the spread of the ransomware attack late Friday. After discovering the domain name associated with the ransomware, iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwe- a.com was available for purchase for just $10.69, MalwareTech bought the domain and halted the attack. “Initially someone had reported the wrong way round that we had caused the infection by registering the domain, so I had a mini freak out until I realized it was actually the other way around and we had stopped it,” MalwareTech told The Guardian. According to Matthieu Suiche, founder of cybersecurity firm Comae Technologies, MaltechWare’s registration of the domain stopped the malware from spreading throughout the US. “The kill switch is why the U.S. hasn’t been touched so far,” he told the New York Times on Saturday. “But it’s only temporary. All the attackers would have to do is create a variant of the hack with a different domain name. I would expect them to do that.” A Global Attack The flurry of ransomware attacks shut down several...

Corporate Housing May15

Corporate Housing

Corporate travel has its perks. Thrilling locales, new experiences, and passport stamps are just a few takeaways from life on the road. Yet for traveling professionals with longer assignments, housing can be the least exciting part of the job. One company aims to improve corporate housing one unit at a time. Seattle-based Synergy Global Housing specializes in a “left of center” approach to employee accommodations. The company garners feedback from real traveling professionals in order to create temporary housing that feels like home—maybe even a bit better. A new Synergy property in Paulo Alto combines several of the latest concepts from the company’s idea incubator: Transport Made Easy Synergy paired with PUBLIC boutique bike manufacturer in San Francisco to create the Gear Wall. Amongst custom storage compartments and living plants hangs a shiny red bike. It entices residents to take it out for a spin. “It is our hope that these bikes also encourage guests to go outside of their apartment communities and see more of the world beyond their window view,” states the Synergy blog. The bicycle fills multiple voids, allowing users to gain quick access to the workplace and local businesses while fitting in a quick workout. The slower mode of travel can help residents learn more about the neighborhood and improve integration. Unique to You Rather than a one-size-fits-all design scheme, Synergy Palo Alto units come with a variety of aesthetics from which to choose. Themes include, but are not limited to, vintage, contemporary, sporty, and elegant. Residents can choose the unit style that most closely appeals to their lifestyle. The curated designs elevate housing standards beyond cookie-cutter hotels, helping travelers feel comfortable in their new space. Family First Time away from loved ones is often cited as one of the...

Smarter Buildings

Energy management software not only reduces waste and electricity costs, it can also provide responsive, optimized energy solutions for smarter, more efficient buildings. For owners and operators of smart buildings, energy management data can be an embarrassment of riches. The latest technologies allow for tracking of even the smallest detail, from occupancy averages to temperature adjustments of less than one degree. It’s what Matt Eggers describes as “savings by shavings,” and while the level of control can result in significantly smaller utility bills, information overload and lack of consistency can undermine even the most committed energy efficiency strategy. “You can’t expect humans to be sitting at a computer constantly responding to 10th of a degree temperature adjustments and other minutia,” Eggers declared during a recent Realcomm Webinar on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, “but energy management software can handle the task.” “Buildings are complicated, but in the future intelligent software systems will allow for really dramatic savings by optimizing building information for best performance.” Data Captured Equals Dollars Saved Many building owners and operators fail to take full advantage of the phenomenal amount of performance data available in relation to energy use and overall operations. The latest energy management software aims to make all those facts and figures easily digestible to enable the creation of individualized and effective energy efficiency benchmarks and strategies. The panelists agree we are headed into a new era of comprehensive energy data collection and management. All that information has already resulted in real, quantifiable savings, with some buildings reducing energy costs by tens of thousands of dollars. “This [energy information] results in real dollars saved,” said Rob Hamon Director, Energy and Sustainability, Boxer Property during the Realcomm webinar. “Efficiency gains accumulate as we see connections amongst the data.” “This isn’t...

Self-Driving Taxis

Once found only in science fiction, self-driving cars are about to show up on a street near you. Goldman Sachs estimates that the market for advanced driver assistance and autonomous vehicles is expected to grow from roughly $3 billion in 2015 to $96 billion in 2025 and balloon to $290 billion in 2035. When two giants meet and start planning together, the world expects great things. One such collaboration, between Daimler — the world’s largest maker of premium cars, and Bosch — the world’s largest automotive supplier, is poised to bring a major change to the auto industry. The two companies are teaming up to develop self-driving cars and speed up the normalization of “robo-taxis.” The fully automated vehicle is planned to be ready for use in urban markets in the early 2020s, the companies say. The autonomous driving system will be designed for city driving. The expectation is that self-driving taxis will improve traffic flows in cities and road safety. The development alliance is on a mission to create a system for fully automated Level 4 and driverless Level 5 vehicles. The Society of Automotive Engineers has defined five levels of driving automation: Level 4 means the car assumes all of the driving in many conditions — it could drive fully autonomously in specific geographic locations, such as a certain route in a city center, or in certain weather conditions. Level 5 is reached when the vehicle can operate in all conditions, without requiring any human intervention at any time. Daimler, through its passenger car brand Mercedes-Benz, has been working on autonomous vehicles for years. At the same time, the company keeps a close eye on the growing group of people who would rather use public transportation and car-sharing than own a car....

Benchmarking Bonus May12

Benchmarking Bonus

Currently, over 45% of the US commercial building market uses the ENERGY STAR®, the US EPA’s voluntary certification program designed to measure energy efficiency and improve resource management. At the heart of ENERGY STAR® lies the ability to track energy usage data to reduce energy consumption and improve building performance. “It all starts with taking a look at what you have and seeing what [information] you’re tracking and what data is available,” Craig Haglund, Program Manager, for the US EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, said in the National Apartment Association’s recent webinar, Financial Success with Energy Benchmarking. With comprehensive data collection and analytics capabilities, US EPA’s Portfolio Manager works in concert with ENERGY STAR for complete resource management oversight. “They say ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure,’ which is 100% true,” Haglund continued, “but that misses what you can do with all that data.” Whole Building Consumption For building owners and managers interested in tracking their energy, water and waste metrics, ENERGY STAR provides an easy, comprehensive management tool: Portfolio Manager. With Portfolio Manager, building data can be tracked and analyzed. Users can create customized reports and monitor changes in energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions and more. “Portfolio Manager literally includes hundreds of measurement metrics,” explained Haglund. “Standardized reports can help users assess portfolio performance and share that information or integrate it into other presentations.” Those measurement metrics can be applied to any sized property portfolio, from one building to, in the case of East Coast real estate services firm Bozzuto Management, 63,000 units spread out over 220 communities and representing 2.1 million square feet of mixed-use development. “We have been using Portfolio Manager since 2012,” said Bozzuto’s Director of Sustainability, Peter Zadoretzky. “Over the last couple of years, we’ve gone from a messy,...

Bright Ideas

Energy efficiency remains a largely untapped resource for commercial buildings.  The challenges involved in finding, interpreting and benefiting from data about energy consumption, which represents one of a building manager’s biggest budget items, were the focus of a recent webinar hosted by Realcomm. The instructors for “Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Technology Helping to Set New Benchmarks,” including Yardi Energy’s Matt Eggers, addressed the complexities of determining how much heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) a building needs at any given moment, taking into account occupancy levels, tenant comfort, weather and other factors.  Manually attempting to monitor and react to thousands of constantly changing HVAC data points isn’t feasible for even the best building engineers, according to Eggers, vice president of energy management for Yardi. Additional hurdles to devising a viable building (or portfolio) energy consumption strategy, the instructors noted, include high expectations from tenants and stakeholders; extreme, often unmanageable volumes of data; specialized skills needed for energy management; and diminishing returns after the easy fixes have been made. That’s where dedicated HVAC software platforms come in.  Intelligent optimization systems continuously monitor HVAC performance in real time to allow temperature adjustments—sometimes by a tenth of a degree—that optimize energy performance without compromising building occupants’ comfort, Eggers noted.  This strategy employs “more power tools, not hand tools,” he said, which means automating monitoring and adjustments, a vastly more efficient approach than manually tracking rooms and office space occupancy, water leaks and other malfunctions—not to mention determining the proper fraction of a degree adjustment. Platforms from expert software providers also eliminate the need for specialized maintenance and programming skills.  The ultimate outcome of intelligent HVAC control, he said, is to “continuously optimize energy to keep comfort where you want it.” Building owners and operators who traditionally value...