Energy Updates Dec30

Energy Updates

Here’s a roundup of recent reports from the Energy Information Administration, the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy: Wind power flies high in 2020 Project developers expect more than 23 gigawatts of wind turbine generating capacity to come online in the U.S. in 2020, far more than the previous record of 13.2 GW added in 2012. The impending phase-out of the full value of the U.S. production tax credit at year’s end is leading to more capacity additions than average this year, just as previous tax credit reductions led to significant wind capacity additions in 2012 and 2019. Texas has the most wind turbine capacity among states, with 29.1 GW installed as of August 2020 and another 4 GW expected by the end of the year. Wind’s share of U.S. electricity generation increasing from 7.4% in 2019 to 8.8% in 2020 — more than any other renewable electricity generation source. That share is expected to reach 10.3% in 2021. CO2 emissions reach lows In 2020, carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. energy sector could be 11% lower than in 2019, according to data collected through August and estimates through December. CO2 emissions are expected to fall by 19% for coal, by 13% for petroleum and by 2% for natural gas. Many of this year’s changes in energy-related CO2 emissions are attributable to COVID-19, including working from home, stay-at-home mandates, closed or limited operating hours for several types of businesses and travel restrictions. In April, monthly U.S. energy consumption fell to a 30-year low and emissions reached a record low. Winter bills holding steady U.S. households that primarily use natural gas or electricity will have slightly higher energy expenditures this winter, with households using propane spending 14% more and those relying...

Smart Sustainability Dec11

Smart Sustainability

Full-service real estate company LBA Realty is continuing its portfolio-wide partnership with Yardi Pulse® as the company implements a Smart Building Program to enhance their sustainability strategy. LBA and Yardi® conducted an initial proof of concept pilot at a single property. In January 2019, LBA Realty adopted a phased approach to roll out Meter Insights and Fault Detection to eleven office properties in four different states. Leveraging pulse modular capability, these initial solutions provide real-time electrical meter monitoring and analytics, as well as HVAC fault detection and diagnostics. This allows the LBA engineering team and Yardi’s consulting services to identify hidden performance issues including extended run time, overlap in HVAC mode conditions and an inefficient sequence of operations. LBA now receives timely and accurate energy use data for 5.9M square feet of their office properties. Year-to-date, the program has resulted in energy use reduction of 16.2M kWh, which equates to savings at $0.32 per square foot. After gathering quantifiable results, LBA is now entering the second phase of implementation, Pulse Building Optimization. “With Pulse Building Optimization representing our artificial intelligence software, we look forward to realizing our vision of bringing intelligent buildings to life,” said Perry Schonfeld, principal and chief operating officer of LBA. “It is exciting to see the progress LBA Realty has made with a phased approach to implementation and the value of their incremental steps. We foresee continued success of LBA’s energy platform and growth of the Yardi-LBA partnership,” said Akshai Rao, vice president at Yardi. Download a brochure to learn more about the Yardi Pulse...

ENERGY STAR Talks Tech Dec04

ENERGY STAR Talks Tech

Utilities are the second highest controllable expense for property owners, so measuring and managing consumption is critical to control costs and minimize waste. The EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award Winner Webinar Series session on October 8 focused on innovative technologies (Innovative Technologies Part 2) for achieving energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR’s Stacy Glatting was joined by Dan Egan, senior vice president of energy and sustainability for Vornado Realty Trust and Randy Moss, ENERGY STAR benchmarking team lead at Yardi. Egan and Moss shared compelling data about energy costs and talked about tech that makes significant savings possible for real estate operators. The big picture Forward-thinking commercial building operators are implementing a variety of innovative technologies for energy management. Egan shared how Vornado has piloted induction unit valves at its buildings. Moss discussed how Yardi clients have achieved cost savings and maximized performance using a smart software platform that includes artificial intelligence to manage sophisticated building controls. Data analysis from Yardi — incorporating wasted consumption estimates from ENERGY STAR — shows that after MRO, utilities are the second highest expense for real estate firms, and they are controllable with the right solutions. Consider these statistics: Estimated annual spend across controllable expense buckets for 1M sq ft in a portfolio is around $1,980,000 The average commercial building is estimated to waste 30% of its consumption Potential savings equal $600k annually for every 1M sq ft in a portfolio “It’s a data-driven proposition for energy efficiency. We must not only evaluate energy consumption for our buildings, but also more granularly understand tenant consumption and landlord/base building consumption to identify drivers of efficiency,” explained Egan. He noted that the regulatory environment in New York City and the entire state compels companies to consider utility data sources such as the carbon intensity of the grid, hourly pricing (and carbon) signals and future transmission planning when evaluating different energy efficiency projects. “ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® and ENERGY STAR® Tenant Space™ provide frameworks to obtain and monitor these types of data,” added Egan. ENERGY STAR Tenant Space is a new EPA recognition for sustainability in leased office spaces. Vornado Realty Trust’s energy goals Vornado is the largest owner of LEED-certified property in the U.S. and is a member of the Climate Group EP 100. According to Egan, Vornado’s “Vision 2030 Roadmap” includes a total energy reduction goal of 50% with same-store portfolio. In 2019, the company reported progress toward that goal with a 24% reduction in energy use. “Energy efficiency goals must be a tenant partnership,” said Egan. Considering the company reported about 60% of electricity costs are recovered via tenant submeter, that’s no understatement. Egan offered these takeaways after discussing the company’s approach to energy management: Innovative technologies are sometimes tried-and-true solutions that are repackaged with automation and informed by good data to support their value One must understand energy data at different points of the supply chain (from source to end use) to understand the value streams to add to the solution stack Energy efficiency and GHG emissions reductions are often correlated but not always, and rarely linearly Regulation and market signals will drive efficiency further and shift the focus towards electrification Yardi Pulse for energy management Yardi’s Moss talked about managing energy and achieving sustainability using connected and responsive technology. For a complete energy management strategy across your portfolio, you must automate utility invoicing with the ability to mine and validate invoice data, benchmark sustainability, get real-time meter insights and detect system faults as they occur through constant monitoring. With regard to best practices, an energy management system built into your property management platform to combine all your operational data will deliver the best results. Yardi Pulse enables commercial real estate operators to manage energy intelligence and automate energy equipment to lower costs, reduce consumption, keep tenants comfortable and improve efficiency from one connected platform. Plus, Yardi Pulse loads data into...

Flexibility Holds Key Nov25

Flexibility Holds Key...

COVID-19 has had a jarring impact on commercial real estate in the form of health risks, stunted growth prospects, permit and construction delays, reduced income for property owners and the acceleration of e-commerce at the expense of physical stores, among other disruptions. The pandemic precipitated what global management consultant firm McKinsey & Company calls “an unprecedented crisis for the real estate industry.” What will the CRE landscape look like when the pandemic fades? For one thing, new building codes designed to limit the risk of future pandemics could affect standards for HVAC, square footage per person and amount of enclosed space. Office building tenants will almost certainly be driven “to look beyond their traditional building preferences. In this new environment, tenants will gravitate towards the properties that best solve for flexibility, adaptability, and well-being,” according to Erin Saven and Evan Danchenka of Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm. Maria Sicola, a founding partner of real estate planning services provider CityStream Solutions and sales and training consultant Integrity Data Solutions, believes tenants will likely make their space “more personalized and less communal – we will likely not return to all-private offices and fancy conference rooms. But all space – personal and meeting — will need to be viewed with more breathing room.” And, of course, cleanliness will command more attention than ever. Commercial Property Executive predicts that “some products and techniques that have been used in medical office buildings and in hospitals are going to be brought to the office sector,” such as microbe-resistant door handles and elevator buttons and sanitation with ultraviolet light. Amenities as differentiators Building owners and developers, for their part, would be well advised to explore “new real estate design strategies that can differentiate them from the competition and...

Did COVID-19 Spark Nov19

Did COVID-19 Spark

Some industries, such as technology and online media, are doing well amid COVID-19, even as the pandemic cuts a swath through virtually every public health, political, social and economic structure. Other segments of the economy, such as travel and hospitality, face a perilous future. And what about the vital energy sector? Before the pandemic hit, energy demand was projected to grow 12% between 2019 and 2030, as developing nations broadened their power generation capacities. But COVID-19 “has brought the generation of energy from fossil fuels to breaking point,” says the World Economic Forum, with global energy demand declining by 5% in 2020. Despite a larger population and world economy, demand in 2050 will be about the same as it is today, according to risk management and quality assurance experts DNV GL, due partly to the effects of COVID-19. “The scale of the fall in demand, the speed of change, and how widespread it has been have generated a radical shift that seems to be more than a temporary short-term drop in demand for fossil fuels, at least in the power sector,” Nelson Mojarro, a World Economic Forum advisor, said in June. That development has opened the door for renewable energy generation to play an even more prominent role on the world energy scene. Renewables, including solar, whose cost has fallen by 82% over a decade, are the lowest-cost source of new power generation, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. That trend is expected to hold over the foreseeable future. And COVID-19, Mojarro says, “has had a game-changing effect in accelerating the clean energy transition in the power sector.” Within 10 weeks of the start of widespread lockdowns, according to data compiled by the International Energy Agency, the U.S. increased its renewable energy consumption...

New ENERGY STAR report Oct22

New ENERGY STAR report

An ongoing series of research reports from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) details information from the hundreds of thousands of buildings who use ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager to track energy usage. The latest report focuses on renewable energy and trends in energy metering and efficiency tracking. Onsite renewable energy systems The report studies data from over 260,000 properties, determining that less than 1% (2,447 properties) are currently generating onsite renewable energy. However, even with this low total, the use of onsite renewables has increased ten-fold in the last decade. Among the most common property types who do generate renewable energy are retail stores, K-12 schools and offices. Schools and worship facilities account for the largest number as a percentage of their total properties, still only representing 2.4% each. By comparison, only half a percent of multifamily housing properties have implemented renewable systems. Where are these systems most commonly found? According to the study, California leads the way by a wide margin with nearly 1,000 properties. That number represents more than the next 10 highest states combined. Because the source energy conversion factor is lower for onsite renewable energy, these properties have higher ENERGY STAR scores by a significant margin compared to all properties (74 to 59). Data also shows that 55% of these buildings meet less than a quarter of their electrical consumption from onsite renewables. Metering challenges and considerations There are three primary types of meters that customers use, determined by local utility company standards and building electrical systems. The report dives into the types of meters, what information they do or do not provide and how this impacts energy benchmarking and efficiency goals. Net meters spin forward or backward showing net consumption of power, but do not tell you what was imported or exported. Bi-directional meters tell you how much energy was imported and how much renewable energy was exported. The least common, dual meters have two devices, one to measure import and another for export. The main billing issue, as described in the study, is that only reporting net consumption makes it challenging to benchmark energy performance. To assess this accurately, you need all energy use, regardless of source. Portfolio Manager accurately incorporates onsite renewables into efficiency calculations. Developers may be willing to retrofit older meters with newer versions in order to capture renewable energy generated onsite exported back to the grid and the amount of grid energy sent to the building. The report goes into further detail about renewable energy certificates, inaccurate billing and metering practices, and thoroughly explains the flow chart connecting energy, meter and property. While the total number of buildings reporting onsite renewable energy continues to grow, it still represents a fraction of total properties. Data will become more available to customers as more meters support accurate measurement of onsite renewable energy. Until then, it’s hard to paint a detailed picture of efficiency and even harder to invest in a mix of strategies to achieve great energy use...

Water Wins Oct13

Water Wins

The cost of water can be deceptively low — it doesn’t include the energy expenses of pumping and heating the water. When you evaluate water and energy efficiency together, you’re in a better position to maximize resource and cost savings. Multifamily companies can get some quick wins with minimal effort and no (or low) capital expenditure. All you need to do is make some changes to operations and maintenance practices along with minor retrofits or replacements as needed. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program recently shared strategies to save energy and water in the webinar “Reducing Costs with Quick Water Wins.” WaterSense is a voluntary program launched by the EPA in 2006 that provides a simple way to identify water-efficient products, programs and practices. In the webinar, the EPA’s Tara O’Hare highlighted the connection between water and energy, often referred to as the energy-water nexus, since every gallon of water has an energy footprint for pumping, moving, heating and treating water. To keep costs low, WaterSense offers the following tips: Review all bills for accuracy Check facility rate class and water meter size on bills Work with your local utility to correct any problems Identify leaks and waste O’Hare said that energy and water leaks linked to continuously running water comprise approximately six percent of water use and that potential financial losses from water such as a drip irrigation malfunction or an unattended water hose at night can amount to $4,300 or $16,000 per year, respectively. How can you make sure this doesn’t happen at your property? Conduct a walk-through to identify leaks (look for puddles and drips) and ask for the vigilance of employees and tenants to help identify leak and waste indicators as soon as they occur. Follow best practices You’ve...

ENERGY STAR Awards Oct09

ENERGY STAR Awards

In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded Yardi one of 191 ENERGY STAR® Awards for 2020 for national leadership in creating cost-saving energy efficient solutions. The company earned its second consecutive ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award, EPA’s highest level of recognition, for helping clients benchmark energy and water usage, widely promoting ENERGY STAR resources and earning ENERGY STAR certification for its corporate headquarters. And what did the other 190 award winners achieve? Their initiatives show that organizations in every sector of the economy – whether a real estate services leader, industry trade association, toothpaste manufacturer, baked goods pacesetter, top-tier university, venerable automobile manufacturer or aerospace behemoth – can find ways to protect the environment and save energy. Here’s a sampling of the most recent ENERGY STAR Award winners: Global commercial real estate services provider Cushman & Wakefield gave its tenants more than 20 presentations on implementing energy efficient practices and using ENERGY STAR-certified equipment. The company also trained vendors, brokers and building contractors in energy management goals and in using ENERGY STAR as a market differentiator. Cushman & Wakefield achieved ENERGY STAR certification for 130 buildings in 2019. BOMA International, a trade association for commercial real estate professionals, completed Year 2 of its W2 Challenge, an initiative to benchmark water use and waste output that was built with the support of a grant from Yardi. The organization also continued its ENERGY STAR-related education and recognition programs in 2019 and prominently featured ENERGY STAR in its videos, industry conferences, magazine, e-newsletters, webinars and social media. Bimbo Bakeries USA, whose brands include Thomas’, Sara Lee, Arnold and Entenmann’s, reduced energy use by 2.3% from the previous year and became the first major baking company to purchase renewable energy for 100% of its electricity...

Power Plays Oct07

Power Plays

While energy efficiency is important every day of the year in any economy, 2020 is presenting unique challenges along with big opportunities for companies and individuals alike and now is a great time for everyone to take control of energy use and utility costs. Using energy efficiently is the simplest way to lower utility bills, improve air quality and reduce environmental impact as part of a larger concerted effort. Driven by the mission to save money, cut pollution and create jobs, Energy Efficiency Day on October 7, 2020, is a collaboration of dozens of energy efficiency advocacy groups around the U.S., including the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Advanced Energy Economy, Alliance to Save Energy, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations and many others. As we come together for the fifth annual Energy Efficiency Day, the event website offers some great tips to deal with pandemic-related utility costs now and through the summer. A costly lockdown While working remotely and spending more time at home is helping to stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s not helping most people’s wallets. For areas in a home that need improvement to increase energy efficiency, workers usually need inside access. During a pandemic, that kind of exposure carries serious safety concerns. If you’re not ready to let utility pros into your home, what can you do? Consider a virtual energy audit. Check with your local utility companies to find out if they offer this convenience in your area. There are also some things you can do yourself to increase energy efficiency and stop the waste. Following are a few highlights and takeaways from the article Pandemic Hurts Efficiency Jobs But You Can Still Make Energy-Saving Upgrades. Seal the gaps Check around windows and doors as well as mail slots, electrical outlets and window-mounted AC units. Wherever you find a crack or gap, seal it with caulk or weather stripping. Replace filters Keeping your furnace and air conditioner filter clean will ensure they aren’t working harder than they need to — which saves you money, lowers emissions and extends the life of your equipment. Lighten up your bills Switch your bulbs to LEDs, which use up to 90% less energy to deliver the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs — and they last up to 25 times longer. Save water With a high efficiency showerhead, you can save more the 2,000 gallons of water per year, most of which is hot water, so you also get the savings on heating. While you’re at it, install an aerator in your kitchen sink — a pressure compensating model ensures plenty of flow power while it reduces water use. Want to learn more? Get the scoop on ways to save on your next energy bill for tips including ENERGY STAR® appliances and how you can take part in Energy Efficiency Day. For property managers and owners looking for ways to gain control over energy consumption and reduce costs, join a free webinar on energy solutions brought to you by Yardi, named an ENERGY STAR Partner of the...

Pandemic-Inspired Sep29

Pandemic-Inspired

“To effect change, there must be a stimulation of a magnitude that means companies cannot do anything but make bold decisions to survive. COVID-19 is that magnitude.” — Stuart Carlaw, chief research officer for technology analysis firm ABI Research Amsterdam-based consumer trend firms TrendWatching and Business of Purpose created COVID Innovations to track technology innovations arising from the pandemic. Here’s a summary of some of the projects listed on the site. Japanese start-up Donut Robotics has devised a smart mask called C-Mask. It can be worn over fabric-based masks and connects to an app via Bluetooth, enabling it to transcribe speech to text messages that are sent via the user’s smartphone. It can also translate from Japanese into eight other languages. After debuting C-Mask in Japan in September, Donut Robotics is eyeing the U.S., Europe and China as potential markets. Meanwhile, Detroit-based Redcliffe Medical is marketing its own mask design. LEAF is a transparent device composed of medical-grade silicone that promotes safety while keeping the wearer’s identity, lip movements and facial expressions visible. It’s the first FDA-registered mask with N99-standard air filtering abilities and includes an antifogging feature. Can ultraviolet light provide a line of defense against the coronavirus in warehouses, schools, restaurants, supermarkets, offices and other venues? MIT thinks so and created a robot designed to disinfect spaces by emitting UV light. It’s already been used successfully at the Greater Boston Food Bank. A 3D camera helps the device navigate around obstacles while a 2D device measures distances by illuminating targets with light. Another robot, StrikeForce, comes from XENEX Disinfection Systems in San Antonio, which claims its invention can destroy the novel coronavirus in 2 minutes. The company’s LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots (a trademarked name) uses a xenon lamp to generate bursts of high intensity ultraviolet light. Restaurants, car dealerships, hotels, office buildings and gyms are among the potential candidates for StrikeForce, which is available on a limited basis in Texas, according to COVID Innovations in June. India’s TechMax hopes to ease workers’ transition back to multi-story office environments with its Sparshless solution, which allows touchless elevator unit operations. Summoning the elevator is as simple as placing your hand near a reader. Once inside, just point your finger at a button from about a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch away. Many people have stayed true to their favorite eateries with pick-up and take-out orders. Is it possible to create a similarly contactless dine-in experience? Pasadena, Calif.-based FreshBytes is one tech firm that thinks so. In June, the online ordering system provider, which claims to be the only company that allows restaurants to update their dine-in menus directly from a mobile phone, announced a system that lets customers scan a QR device to view the menu, order and pay directly from a mobile device, with the guest order automatically printed in the kitchen. There’s no exchange of pens, paper or payment cards, and guest turnover is faster. Another California enterprise technology platform provider, Presto, says its free Contactless Dining Kit received orders from more than 5,000 restaurants in five continents within two weeks of its launch in late May. And in Europe, British engineering firm Arup designed modular “parklets,” outdoor seating areas made from hardwood and screened from each other by plants and acrylic glass that let restaurant patrons enjoy onsite dining while maintaining social distances. They’re part of a “Liverpool Without Walls” project designed to help that city’s restaurants reopen. The first parklet was opened in July. Microsoft responded to spiraling global unemployment with a skills initiative designed to bring digital skill learning opportunities to 25 million people by the end of the year. The software giant will leverage its LinkedIn and GitHub resources to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed for them, provide free access to learning content, and deliver low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools. Yardi responded to the pandemic with its own set of dedicated...

ARPA-E Update Sep10

ARPA-E Update

Earlier this year, The Balance Sheet summarized some energy technology projects sponsored by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which carries out R&D for the U.S. Department of Energy. Here are a few more active projects. Warm and cool on demand Syracuse University seeks to improve comfort for office building occupants with a near-range micro-environmental control system. The system would store the cooling produced by the compression system at night and release it as a cool breeze of air to make occupants more comfortable during the day. And when heating is needed, the system would draw heat from its phase-change material and deliver warm air. Syracuse claims that the control system, combined with an expanded set-point range, could save more than 15% of the energy used for heating and cooling while maintaining occupant comfort. “If successful, [the control system] could increase energy efficiency, reduce emissions produced by powering traditional HVAC systems, and enable more sustainable heating and cooling architectures for energy-efficient building design.” Building breath test Specialized sensors tip off a building’s HVAC system that carbon dioxide-exhaling people are around and need ventilation. A Purdue University team is working on small-scale sensing systems that would use mass and electrochemical sensors to detect the presence of CO2. The Purdue team believes that combining two unique sensing technologies into a single package for monitoring CO2 levels could reduce building energy use by nearly 30% without sacrificing occupant comfort. Chopping home energy costs Meanwhile, researchers at Texas A&M University are looking at new detection solutions for residences, specifically enhanced pyroelectric infrared sensors that track occupancy and activity. Whereas such detection sensors traditionally can only notice people in motion, Texas A&M’s proposed system would identify non-moving heat sources. Quantitative information on movement would come from an “optical chopper”...

Improving Energy Efficiency Aug26

Improving Energy Efficiency

Class A commercial buildings get all the fanfare. They have the nicest amenities, the best views and, of course, the highest rent. But let’s not overlook the value that class B and C spaces bring to communities and business owners. Often located in suburban areas or lacking glamour that high rises provide, these buildings still possess many advantages and simply don’t get the same type of recognition. A recent ENERGY STAR® report stated that 94% of all U.S. commercial buildings were properties under 50,000 square feet. Because class B and C buildings significantly outnumber class A, they can lead the way in contributing to a cleaner environment, improved leasing practices and cost savings techniques. At the recent 2020 Virtual BOMA Conference, Marta Schantz, senior vice president of Urban Land Institute (ULI), explained three major challenges for class B and C owners in regard to energy efficiency: Information constraints – Stakeholders are so consumed with day to day operations that energy efficiency gets put on the backburner. Lean on your property manager for data and best practices and educate yourself about building benchmarks to understand what’s working or not. Resource constraints – These buildings don’t have the budget or staff size of class As, so they often lack someone specifically assigned to energy projects, or a third party hired to oversee this aspect of the portfolio. Funding constraints – B and C class buildings typically don’t have capital planning funds to invest in larger retrofits with up-front costs. Owners also may not be able to take on long-term debt. How can a building owner overcome some of these challenges? Primarily, there are financing options available so that B and C owners can reach long term savings goals: cost recovery in terms of lease forms, utility on-bill financing, commercial property assessed clean energy financing (C-PACE), among others. As Schantz explained, an HVAC retrofit alone may not provide the necessary ROI, but bundled with LED installation or sensor installation, it can provide long-term savings with a relatively short-term payback process. As explained in a 2020 BOMA report, class B and C properties could save 15% on energy costs with basic low- to no-cost initiatives, or even up to 35% with the larger investments detailed above. BOMA’s research has found that sustainability initiatives can reduce operating expenses for class B and C buildings between $0.26 and $0.61 per square foot and increase the net operating income for these properties between 2.4% and 5.6% per year. What are some of the simplest energy solutions to implement? According to Joey Cathcart, associate at the Rocky Mountain Institute, here are some of the best low-cost, quick payback measures for energy savings across property type: LED lighting: LEDs use significantly less energy and last much longer than incandescent lighting. Controls/Sensors: Install LED’s in high-use areas and controls or sensors in low-use areas like closets and restrooms. Programmable thermostats: Simply program your temperature setting in times of low or no occupancy. Energy audits: Establish a baseline and identify where improvements can be made. Local authorities often provide grants for these projects. Window filming or shading: Reduce demands on HVAC and reduce solar radiation with tinting or shading. Lease provisions and green leases help increase investor, owner and tenant interest. “They help to overcome split incentives, improve transparency and indicate a commitment to sustainability,” Cathcart said. He detailed three low cost components to drive the highest lease impact: Integrate new building expectations by implementing low or no cost strategies into standard operating procedures. Integrate language into leasing that includes periodic energy audits. Tenants see this as a commitment to sustainability. Document operating best practices to optimize performance in common areas and tenant spaces. “The best time to integrate provisions is either during tenant renewal or at the beginning of a new tenant lease,” Cathcart explained. Eugenia Gregorio, founder and principal at Gregorio Sustainability, presented a case study of The Tower Companies...

Experts Assess Jul15

Experts Assess

Along with tracking the momentous public health and economic implications of COVID-19, renewable energy advocates are keeping a close eye on how the pandemic is affecting the Earth’s environmental well-being. The International Energy Agency, which advocates for sustainable energy policies, reported that average global road transport activity fell by 50% of the 2019 level in the first quarter of 2020, while aviation activity declined 60%, spurring an unprecedented decline in world oil demand. The U.S. saw a 50% reduction in the use of jet fuel and 30% less gasoline consumed; meanwhile, natural gas use in commercial and residential buildings dropped by almost 20% from late March to early June of this year, according to a study of COVID-19’s effects on energy and the environment by researchers from the MIT Sloan School of Management, Yale University and Northwestern University. Reductions spark optimism “Overall, these reductions reflect a 15% total reduction in daily CO2 emissions, which is the largest annual percentage decline for the U.S. in recorded history,” says MIT Sloan professor Christopher Knittel, one of the researchers. The recent drop in consumption and emissions offers a glimpse of a cleaner future – if the effort is sustained after the crisis abates. In the wake of COVID-19, “it is essential that we build back better. We need to create a more resilient and sustainable clean energy system in order to reduce the risk of facing the catastrophic crises that climate change could bring,” says Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute, writing for the World Economic Forum. That means prioritizing structural changes that “make a real difference for the energy transition in the longer term” rather than jumping on “the bandwagon to push the green agenda in short-term relief packages,” say researchers from ETH Zurich’s...

Energy Benchmarking Jul04

Energy Benchmarking

When you invest in your energy strategy, the rewards are proportionate. Simply put, the upgrades can pay for themselves. You just have to get the ball rolling first. That was just one of the key takeaways from our recent webinar on energy efficiency with McKnight’s Senior Living. Randy Moss of Yardi led the discussion on ENERGY STAR benchmarking and best practices for providers, and he was joined by Christopher Wright from Merrill Gardens, who shared his company’s own experience with tracking energy usage and reducing spend. Merrill Gardens’ road to energy success Starting in 2016, Merrill Gardens was required to record and report their energy usage by the city of Seattle. And at first, everything was done manually. Staff were pulling data from paper bills and accounting systems to upload into ENERGY STAR for benchmarking. Eventually, the city’s utility provider enabled automated data sharing, which simplified the entire process. The state of California soon followed with regulatory requirements, and seeing the writing on the wall, Merrill Gardens began rolling out benchmarking at all of their communities nationwide. Like in Seattle, many utilities needed manual data entry at first, but nowadays, the majority allow automated data transfer. By late 2019, Merrill Gardens had a year’s worth of data, which gave them great visibility into their buildings’ usage compared to one another. “Based on those sorts of trends, we already had the ability to identify buildings to focus special attention on for CapEx and operation improvements,” said Wright. Unfortunately, the pandemic brought new hurdles, but that only sharpened their focus. “In early 2020, like everyone else, we discovered our resources were suddenly and unexpectedly limited, while at the same time, savings and operational efficiencies were even more important,” said Wright. “Partnering with Yardi over the last...

Energy Matters May27

Energy Matters

As the COVID-19 crisis drives up labor and equipment costs in senior living, providers are looking for sure-fire ways to save without sacrificing on care or quality. One avenue that few providers have pursued is energy management. Not considered a significant challenge by many, utility spend actually ranks as the third highest expense, after payroll and food. It’s also much easier to tackle from a cost-control perspective than you might think. Yes, swapping in LED light bulbs is one way to shrink the energy bill, but the real advantages (and savings) start with just knowing how much energy is used. By benchmarking your communities’ energy consumption, and you open up many possibilities to conserve. There’s more value in a cohesive energy strategy than just saving money, too. Many residents appreciate and look for a building that follows sustainable practices. In fact, the baby boomers are more eco-conscious than their Gen X and millennial counterparts are. Those over 65 are three times more likely to say they live in environmentally friendly ways “all the time.” If that weren’t reason enough to revisit your energy approach, consider that state, county and local jurisdictions are increasingly asking real estate operators — senior housing included — to record and report on their usage. Take Seattle for example. Back in 2013, the city passed a resolution in pursuit of carbon neutrality that requires non-public buildings larger than 10,000 square feet to disclose their utility benchmarking data. For Merrill Gardens, based out of Seattle, that meant they had to quickly roll out centralized utility tracking. So how’d they pull it off? And what benefits have they seen since? Join us on Tuesday, June 16, at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT) for a live webinar with McKnight’s Senior Living to...

What’s Ahead for Energy May06

What’s Ahead for Energy

  The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy’s statistical and analytical agency, provides annual projections for U.S. and world energy markets over the next 30 years. Highlights from the latest release: Overall U.S. energy consumption will grow more slowly than gross domestic product as energy efficiency continues to increase. Purchased electricity consumption will increase by 0.6% and 0.8% annually in the residential and commercial sectors, respectively, due to increased demand for electricity-using appliances, devices and equipment. In 2019, 44% of residential light bulbs were LEDs, the most efficient light bulb technology available, and 17% of commercial lighting service demand was met by LED bulbs and fixtures. By 2050, these shares will reach 90% and 88%, respectively. Energy-related CO2 emissions decrease initially then rise closer to 2050 as economic growth and increasing energy demand outweigh improvements in efficiency. After initially falling, total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions will grow modestly in the 2030s, driven largely by increases in energy demand in the transportation and industrial sectors. Emissions in 2050 will still be 4% lower than 2019 levels. Increases in fuel economy standards will drive a 19% decrease in U.S. motor gasoline consumption through 2050. The U.S. will continue to export more petroleum and other liquids than it imports as domestic crude oil production continues to increase and domestic consumption of petroleum products decreases. Renewables/biofuels Renewables will be the fastest-growing source of electricity generation due to continuing declines in solar and wind capital costs coupled with federal tax credits and higher state-level targets. Total renewable generation will exceed natural gas-fired generation after 2045. Without distributed generation sources, particularly rooftop solar, electricity consumption in residential and commercial buildings would be 5% and 3% higher, respectively, by 2050. Generation from renewable sources will rise from 18% of total generation in 2018 to 38%. Solar photovoltaic (PV) will contribute the most to the growth in total renewable generation, increasing from 13% in 2018 to 46%. Although onshore wind generation will more than double, its share of renewable generation will go from 37% to 29%. The U.S. will add 117 gigawatts of new wind and solar capacity between 2020 and 2023. Electricity is the fastest-growing energy source in the transportation sector, increasing by an average of 7.4% per year as a result of increased demand for electric light-duty vehicles. While gasoline vehicles will remain the dominant vehicle type through 2050, the combined share of sales from gasoline and flex-fuel vehicles (which use gasoline blended with up to 85% ethanol) declines from 94% in 2019 to 81% because of growth in sales of battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. The percentage of biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, and biobutanol) blended into U.S. gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel will increase from 7.3% in 2019 to 9% in 2040. Commercial and industrial space Total delivered energy consumption in the U.S. buildings sector will grow by 0.2% annually as energy efficiency improvements, increased distributed electricity generation and regional shifts in the population partially offset the impacts of higher growth rates in population, number of households and commercial floor space. Lower costs and energy efficiency incentives will result in efficient LEDs displacing linear fluorescent lighting as the dominant commercial lighting technology by 2030. Commercial PV capacity will increase by an annual average of 3.4%. Residential space S. total delivered residential energy intensity, defined as annual delivered energy use per household, will fall by 17% between 2019 and 2050 as the number of households grows faster than energy use. Factors contributing to this decline include gains in appliance efficiency, onsite electricity generation (e.g., solar photovoltaic), utility energy efficiency rebates, rising residential natural gas prices, lower space heating demand and population shifts to warmer regions. Residential PV capacity will increase by an average of 6.1% per year, accelerated by rising incomes, declining system costs and social influences. Learn how Yardi software can increase energy efficiency...

Gold Diggers Apr24

Gold Diggers

In 2019, hundreds of organizations including real estate firms used Energy Treasure Hunts to reduce energy use by up to 15 percent and they’re hoping for even more participation in 2020. As explained on the ENERGY STAR® website, Energy Treasure Hunt teams walk around facilities looking for quick ways to save energy. Those fast fixes can add up to big savings, which is like finding buried treasure. Companies from various industries participated in the inaugural year’s Energy Treasure Hunt including AMLI Residential, Bozzuto Management, Colgate, Allergan, Kilroy Realty Corporation, Columbia Association, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Nissan. For multifamily and commercial real estate operators, the Energy Treasure Hunt checklist, called a Treasure Map, includes a detailed audit of lighting, building envelopes (inspecting all doors and windows for gaps and damage), equipment and plug loads and HVAC systems. Using energy efficient lighting, improving insulation and managing power usage proved to be a few easy ways to save money, and thousands of dollars in potential annual savings were uncovered. Here are some highlights: Kilroy Realty Corporation found a potential annual savings of $20,300. Top savings opportunities identified: Retrofit the exterior lighting in all parking areas Retrofit lighting in all indoor common areas Conduct retro-commissioning For AMLI Residential, the audit revealed a potential annual savings of $7,800. Top savings opportunities identified: Implement checks to ensure correct set points in vacant and common areas Insulate hot water heater supply piping within the HVAC closets Use power management setting on business center and leasing office computers Bozzuto Management Company discovered a potential savings of $10,190. Top savings opportunities identified: Implement LED retrofits Install lighting controls and sensors Establish thermostat setting standardization While identifying precise dollar amounts in potential savings is exciting, even before an Energy Treasure Hunt most companies realize...

New Solar Mandate Apr09

New Solar Mandate

Sacramento is one of the first cities to renegotiate its path towards sustainable power. Since the inception of California’s rooftop solar mandate, several municipalities have scrambled to accommodate the push towards clean energy. Sacramento may be the first of many cities to take advantage of a loophole in the mandate. Community solar The California Energy Commission approved a proposal from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) that would allow developers to use offsite solar panel installations in some new construction. The community solar option would allow developers to explore more cost-effective options for powering homes off-site. The existing community solar provision applies to shaded apartment buildings and single-family homes. The approved proposal opens the door for developers to choose rooftop solar or SMUD’s community solar for any project in the municipality. Ethan Elkind, director of the climate program at UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment explains the implications of the new provision. “There is a really strong precedential value here,” he said. “This is a new regulation that just went into effect, and this community solar piece of it hasn’t really been tested, and so it’s going to set a precedent for years to come for how utilities and real estate developers will respond to this regulation.” New yet weakening regulation? In essence, the new mandate is already accepting exceptions. Rooftop solar advocates fear the broader implications.  Laurie Litman, member of the climate group 350 Sacramento, expressed her apprehensions: “The concern is that if it’s cheaper for developers to not put solar on people’s homes, then they’re going to opt for that choice,” says Litman. “That’s going to undermine the solar homes mandate throughout the state because then other areas and other utilities will ask for that waiver as well.” Secondly,...

Star Power Mar31

Star Power

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, using energy efficiently is one of the fastest and most effective ways to save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and meet growing energy demand. Yardi has once again been named ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year. The award celebrates companies demonstrating superior leadership, innovation and commitment to environmental protection through energy efficiency and ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR provides information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed energy efficiency decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state and local organizations — including more than 40% of the Fortune 500® — rely on their partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. The award acknowledges Yardi’s effort to educate and support clients with benchmarking services and technology solutions across a variety of real estate sectors. In 2019, Yardi helped more than 100 clients benchmark energy in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® for over 2,300 buildings, leading to a nearly 110 percent increase from the previous year. Yardi helped clients benchmark water in over 2,000 buildings, a 300 percent increase from 2018. In addition, Yardi actively promotes ENERGY STAR benefits, publishing more than 20 articles and providing resources for benchmarking energy performance and energy management such as  webinars, client conferences courses, executive briefings sessions and other activities. “We are very proud of our clients’ continued success in using ENERGY STAR resources to achieve their corporate and community sustainability goals and we look forward to helping them and the industry reap even more ENERGY STAR benefits going forward,” said Anant Yardi, president and founder of Yardi. The company has earned ENERGY STAR certification for its corporate headquarters in Santa Barbara, Calif., and helps its real estate clients measure success and provide visibility into their ENERGY STAR...

Get Current Mar13

Get Current

The U.S. Energy Information Administration distributes information on energy-related trends and milestones. Here’s a sampling of recent postings from the EIA’s Today in Energy news and information resource. Renewables on the rise The EIA projects that electricity generation from renewable sources such as wind and solar will surpass nuclear and coal by 2021 and natural gas in 2045. Most of the growth in renewable electricity generation comes from wind and solar, which account for about half of renewable generation today. These technologies will account for nearly 80% of the renewable total in 2050. New wind capacity is expected to continue at much lower levels after production tax credits expire in the early 2020s. Growth in solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity will continue for both utility-scale and small-scale applications through 2050 because of declining PV costs. In April 2019, U.S. monthly electricity generation from renewable sources exceeded coal-fired generation for the first time. Wind blows by hydro In 2019, annual wind generation exceeded hydroelectric generation as the top renewable source of energy generation in the U.S. for the first time. Wind generation totaled 300 million megawatthours (MWh) in 2019, exceeding hydroelectric generation by 26 million MWh. Energy consumption heats up World energy consumption will grow nearly 50% by 2050, with the growth focused in regions where strong economic growth is driving demand, particularly Asia. The industrial sector, including refining, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and construction, will account for more than half of end-use energy consumption through 2050, by which time global industrial energy consumption will reach about 315 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu). Transportation energy consumption is slated to increase nearly 40% by 2050 and is largely driven by developing countries with non-market economies. Energy consumed in the buildings sector, which includes residential and commercial structures, is...