Energy Distinction Apr09

Energy Distinction

Yardi has long been proud to provide energy-related technical services to clients with the aim of improving efficiency, lowering costs and meeting sustainability benchmarks. The company gained a measure of its impact this month in the form of an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award in the service and product provider category. The award signifies that Yardi demonstrates exemplary leadership, innovation and commitment to environmental protection by instituting ENERGY STAR values, tools and resources within the industry, and its own operations. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped American families and businesses save more than $450 billion and over 3.5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity while also achieving broad emissions reductions. The EPA co-manages ENERGY STAR, a voluntary program that helps consumers and businesses save money and protect the environment through the adoption of energy-efficient products and practices. Past ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award recipients include familiar companies such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Northwestern University and HP Inc. “This award reflects our clients’ success in using ENERGY STAR resources to achieve their corporate and community sustainability goals. We are proud of those achievements and look forward to helping our clients and the industry gain even more benefits from ENERGY STAR,” said Anant Yardi, founder and president of Yardi. “Energy efficiency is a core component of our mission as a real estate technology provider. We thank the EPA for this high honor and will continue applying technical innovation to current and emerging industry challenges,” said Akshai Rao, vice president of energy and procurement at Yardi. Yardi’s ENERGY STAR-related initiatives in 2018 that the EPA evaluated included: Benchmarking more than a thousand buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® in 27 compliance jurisdictions every month. Yardi also benchmarked other properties in non-compliance areas for other programs Documenting its real estate clients’ success in using energy optimization software to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. One example is SL Green, New York City’s largest office landlord, which used intelligent energy optimization software from Yardi to increase the ENERGY STAR score for one of its properties from 48 to 76. SL Green also won the 2018 Earth Building of the Year Award from BOMA NY Sponsoring the BOMA Water and Waste Challenge Program, which helps property managers track, gather and analyze data. Yardi solutions supported W2 participants by automating data capture and generating insightful reports. One client, Kilroy Realty Corporation, reduced water use at a Class A building by 30% Promoting ENERGY STAR value propositions like higher occupancy and rent, increased asset values, actionable benchmarking information and favorable impressions among investors. The company did this through webinars, industry trade shows and publications, client user conferences, executive briefings, corporate blog posts and other activities Earning ENERGY STAR certification for its corporate headquarters in Santa Barbara, Calif. Working with EPA to improve ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software functionality in such areas as building energy performance measurement and reporting Yardi will receive the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April...

What’s Your Energy Strategy? Apr02

What’s Your Energy Strategy?

Did you know that the average commercial building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes? Or that energy costs will rise as much as 60% in areas of the U.S. by 2028? It’s true, according to an analysis and calculation of Yardi consolidated property data. These facts should be red flags for property management companies without an energy strategy in place. Luckily, adopting an energy strategy is not as daunting as it may seem. In fact, taking incremental steps towards a comprehensive strategy can generate measurable savings in a matter of weeks with a relatively modest investment. Here are five reasons why an energy strategy is good business: Reduced costs Operating expenses such as utilities and maintenance are easy first targets for reduction through an energy strategy. By taking advantage of usage data and trends, property managers can quickly identify excessive usage, lower maintenance costs and identify benchmarks for energy consumption across a portfolio of properties. Increased value Assets that cost less to operate and generate higher rents quickly become more valuable. An energy strategy promotes both savings and revenue by reducing operating costs, reducing the need for rental concessions, making properties more marketable and, as a result, increasing potential net operating income. Efficient accounting The benefits of automating property management processes such as payment processing, procurement, vendor management, etc., are now viable for energy management. Gone are the days of a stack of paper utility bills waiting to be opened and paid. Automated utility expense management sends digital invoices to accounting staff and mines data from smart metering equipment to validate usage. With a relatively low upfront investment, property managers can reduce duplicate payments, avoid late fees and be confident that their utility spend is accurate. Happy tenants Doing business in a building that is LEED certified or meets ENERGY STAR® benchmarks can make a tenant feel proud, comfortable and socially responsible. They’re also less likely to call for maintenance with modern, energy efficient equipment servicing their building. That satisfaction reduces tenant turnover and increases competition for your space. Happy investors A successful energy strategy demonstrates to investors that your organization is proactively maximizing occupancy and revenue, and minimizing operating expenses. It’s also a great way to reassure investors that your properties are working to achieve local, state and federal government energy conservation goals, as well as boosting Environmental, Social and Governance scores for socially conscious investors. Need help getting started? Start with a focus on utility expense management as an approachable first step with low upfront investment required. From there, you may take bigger steps, such as energy intelligence at the property level with real time metering, ENERGY STAR benchmarking and prescriptive alerts for any property in your portfolio. The next level of investment is characterized by advanced energy automation in HVAC equipment, fault detection, diagnostics and demand management. No matter which level of strategy you take, the potential return on investment is tangible and may be evident as soon as your next utility invoice. Yardi Pulse clients have seen as much as 5% annual savings in energy costs with the first two incremental steps alone (utility expense management and energy intelligence). Annual energy savings of up to 15% or more are expected for properties that implement further energy automation measures. If you are a current Yardi Voyager user, contact our team for a complementary consultation. We’ll do an analysis to compare your costs with benchmarks. It’s a simple way to get an idea of the potential savings that an energy strategy can deliver to your...

Green Brings Green Mar28

Green Brings Green

Did you know that adding sustainable features to your property can improve tenant retention? It’s true! If you’ve been brainstorming ways to increase lease renewals and decrease overhead costs, green upgrades may be the answer.  The Benefits of Sustainability Tenants look favorably upon earth conscious workspaces. DTZ, an international leader in commercial real estate services, analyzed responses to the 2015 Kingsley Associates’ tenant survey. Researchers discovered a strong correlation between sustainability and client satisfaction. Respondents expressed greater satisfaction with sites that offered environmentally conscious upgrades and services. Fortunately, there are several sustainable features that you can offer that also benefit you! Check out the suggestions below: Promote paperless services. Online services such as online rent payment, online maintenance requests, and online communication are easy ways to decrease deforestation and keep paper out of landfills. Clients will love that online services are quick, simple, and easy to track. You’re improving efficiency for staff while cutting costs on supplies, printing, and fewer late payments. Implement intelligent utility billing. Catching leaks, billing errors, and monitoring consumption through submetering are just a few benefits of energy management systems. Systems’ automated cost recovery programs can save thousands. Make ride share easier. The share economy is estimated to become a $335 billion industry by 2025. Show that you’re savvy to what clients want by promoting ride share at your property. Designate a few easily accessible spaces for ride share drivers. Shared rides decrease traffic congestion. Conduct an energy and resource audit. No one likes to be audited. Fortunately, this audit is a great way to shave overhead costs and gain points with occupants. Have a third-party conduct a water and energy audit of your property. Professionals can catch leaks and wasted resources to help you save money, and then pass...

Under the Sun Mar21

Under the Sun

Solar energy technology is becoming more powerful and versatile than ever. That’s a good sign for property owners seeking cost and sustainability benefits. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, enough solar photovoltaic capacity—created when semiconducting materials convert sunlight into electricity—was installed in the U.S. in 2018 to power 12.3 million homes, and total installed capacity is expected to more than double over the next five years. A recent milestone in solar energy development was San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower’s development of the world’s most powerful solar cells for the residential market. They’re capable of delivering 60% more energy than conventional solar panels over 25 years using the same amount of roof space. That might be of particular interest to residents of the manufacturer’s home state, which in 2018 became the first to require that all new homes have solar power. In another significant breakthrough on the residential front, engineers at Belgian university KU Leuven have created a solar panel prototype capable of converting sunlight directly into hydrogen using moisture in the air. This would give households their own greenhouse gas-free source of fuel for cooking, heating and other activities. They wouldn’t have to rely on industrial-scale production of hydrogen gas, which generates greenhouse emissions. The technology remains under development and it’s unclear when it will be brought to market. Other developers are working on harnessing solar energy to melt snow on roads during the day and light them at night, power home window curtains and warm car seats. Additional projects encompass everything from battery storage enhancements to aesthetic matters like customizing cells to blend into a roof’s design. Energy Sage, a service that connects homeowners with solar equipment installers, says, “For those considering solar panels systems, this long list of solar panel technology innovations from...

Enlightened Mar21

Enlightened

Enjoy some nuggets of energy intelligence courtesy of FactRetriever.com, Danish critical global challenges tracker The World Counts, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and energy and home services provider British Gas. Humans began using energy sources other than fire about 5,000 years ago. In 1807 English scientist Thomas Young became the first person to use the word “energy” in the modern sense. The U.S.’s first natural gas well was dug in Fredonia, N.Y., in 1821. The first oil well followed in Pennsylvania in 1859. Thomas Edison built the first commercial central power plant. The Pearl Street Power Station in New York City sent electricity to more than 80 buildings in 1882. It served more than 500 customers within two years. Seventeen percent of U.S. electricity generated in 2017 came from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal power. Biomass and waste fuels accounted for about 1.6% of U.S. electricity in 2017. The U.S. produces the most nuclear-generated electricity, nearly one-third of the world’s total. The second-largest producer is France, which generates more than three-fourths of its electricity in nuclear reactors. Lighting accounts for about 20% of U.S. electricity consumption. Only about 10% of the energy in a fluorescent light bulb creates light. The rest creates heat. Mexico’s Programa Luz Sustentable delivered four energy-efficient light bulbs to almost 6 million households in 2012. American inventor Charles Fritts built a prototype of the first solar cell in 1880. Enough sunlight reaches the Earth’s surface every minute to satisfy the world’s energy demands for a year. The global solar market grew by about 29% in 2017. The cost of solar power has dropped by approximately 60% since 2009. Buildings account for 36% of overall annual energy consumption in the U.S. and 65% of the electricity demand....

Energy Updates Mar14

Energy Updates

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) collects, analyzes and disseminates energy information. The following items are drawn from recent postings on EIA’s Today in Energy news site.               Consumption Rates Slow The EIA’s energy outlook report for 2019 projects that residential and commercial purchased electricity consumption will grow more slowly than the number of households or total commercial floor space. As a result, electricity intensity—the amount of electricity consumed per household or square foot of commercial floor space—will decrease by an average of 0.3% per year and 0.4% per year through 2050 in the residential and commercial sectors, respectively. The number of households will grow an annual average of 0.7% and total commercial floor space by 1% per year during that period. The projected rates are much lower than what occurred from 1990 through 2018, when electricity sales grew at average annual rates of 1.7% in the residential sector and 1.8% in the commercial sector. The growth slowdown stems in part from improvements in technology and federal energy efficiency standards for space heating, cooling and water heating equipment, appliances and items such as light bulbs. Electricity’s New Generation An EIA short-term energy outlook released in January forecasted that wind, solar and other non-hydroelectric renewable energy resources will be the fastest-growing sources of U.S. electricity generation for at least the next two years, Wind generation will grow by 12% and 14% in 2019 and 2020 and utility-scale solar generating units by 10% and 17% over that period. About 23.7 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity will enter the U.S. electric power sector in 2019 alone. Wind accounts for 46% of those utility-scale additions, followed by natural gas (34%) and solar photovoltaics (18%), with the remaining 2% consisting primarily of other renewables and battery storage capacity. New...

Green Growth Mar12

Green Growth

A green groundswell grips the multifamily industry, influencing everything from building materials to construction standards and certification systems. Green financing is no small part of this trend. As sustainability becomes further embedded in the multifamily sector’s fabric, so are the capital sources available for environmentally responsible upgrades. Both investment and commercial banks are increasingly entering the space, for a variety of reasons. “We’re definitely seeing that banks have shareholders who are driving investment into this space,” observes Jason Haber, a broker with New York City-based Warburg Realty. “And it’s not just for concessionary gains. What’s proven out is by being green, your returns can now be commensurate with the market—or even outperform the market.” Studies indicate that improving energy and water efficiency can generate economic savings of 28-38%, clip energy costs as much as 31% and spur 40% in utility cost reductions for residents, according to Peter Giles, president of production and sales at Freddie Mac, which, along with its fellow government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) Fannie Mae, offer the multifamily sector’s most comprehensive green financing opportunities Cutting utility costs can also help increase the availability of affordable housing. According to a 2015 Freddie Mac analysis, a 10% cut in utility costs can increase affordable rentals by at least 10%, Giles notes. Fannie, Freddie Go Green Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sponsor loan programs for construction and renovation projects that include lower interest rates, higher leverage and energy audits. Those features are designed to promote energy consumption reductions of 20% or more, noted Ray Sturm, CEO of AlphaFlow, an online real estate investment management firm. Lower interest rates and larger proceeds can help offset the cost of green building materials and labor and cut utility bills, resulting in improved overall cash flow. The GSEs have no...

Energy Boom Mar01

Energy Boom

Christy Cannon, a Yardi Energy account executive and holder of the Certified Energy Manager designation from the Association of Energy Engineers, discusses how integrated systems are streamlining building operations. The exchange below includes excerpts from an interview published in Commercial Property Executive. Q: How do building managers perceive the network of physical objects that can sense, communicate and interact with the external environment, otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT)? A: The principal appeal is the opportunity to reduce operating costs, increase NOI and ultimately increase property value for the building owner. Our retail clients also face pressure to provide space that helps their tenants cultivate an image of environmental stewardship. I see people who do the heavy lifting every day being excited about IoT. It’s like giving them a superhero cape. IoT devices help facility managers perform predictive maintenance and optimize heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), which not only reduces the number of comfort calls they have to deal with but also lowers repair and maintenance costs and extends the life of expensive equipment. Energy managers can view utility consumption in real time. They can manage peak electric demand and save 20% or more off their unregulated utility bills, or immediately identify a water leak. Q: What’s the relationship between the IoT and artificial intelligence (AI)?  A: The IoT architecture looks something like a wheel with hundreds or thousands of spokes, with each spoke representing an IoT device. Multiple network structures enable IoT devices to get their data to software that can use it. AI takes all the big data buildings collect from IoT devices, building automation systems and submeters, and learns how to predict future outcomes or make decisions based on the best available options. Consider all the factors that contribute to a building’s...

Energy Upgrades Jan29

Energy Upgrades

The biggest annual industry event of its kind in Canada provided visibility for one of the key issues in property management. A session at the Property Management Exposition & Conference (PM Expo 2018) in Toronto featured case studies of building energy system upgrades from commercial real estate services provider Colliers International and Triovest Realty Advisors Inc. Martin Levkus, regional director for Yardi Energy, moderated the session. Phillip Raffi, national energy and sustainability manager for Colliers, a Yardi Energy client, discussed a recent update of a 665,000-square-foot mixed-use building in Toronto. The company leveraged utility incentive programs and rebates to offset the costs of retrofitting lighting, installing variable fan drives, redoing the exterior sealant to reduce heat loss through the building envelope, and replacing the building’s boiler with two smaller units. The project produced annual natural gas savings of $33,000, the company’s first BOMA Best Platinum certification in Canada and a 72% reduction in energy use intensity, the energy used per square foot per year. Colliers, which offers energy management planning for all of its properties, has targeted a 5% annual energy reduction for the building. Kit Milnes, national sustainability manager for Triovest Realty Advisors Inc., described enhancements to two properties in Mississauga and Edmonton, Canada, as “the right tools that spark the right actions.” Upgrades included real-time metering and submetering, lighting retrofits, integrated building automation system operations and an optimized HVAC system. The lighting retrofit produced 500,000KwH savings per year at the Mississauga building, which also earned an ENERGY STAR® score of 91 and a BOMA TOBY (Outstanding Building of the Year) award. Meanwhile, the Edmonton property earned LEED EBOM (Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance) Gold certification, a 97 ENERGY STAR score and multiple local and national awards for energy performance. The key to...

Senior Living Utilities Jan24

Senior Living Utilities...

Keeping up with utilities and energy costs is a hurdle for most senior living communities. Argentum senior living association recently reported on industry forecasts and trends: about 49 percent of decision makers said energy and utility costs are a moderate challenge for their business. About 5 percent of their peers reported energy and utility costs as a significant challenge. Electricity on the Rise The challenge arises from an increase in energy and utility costs. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that commercial electricity prices increased 3 percent from 2016 to 2017. From 2017 to 2018, businesses witnessed an additional 1 percent increase. In 2019, EIA projects prices to increase an additional .6 percent to 10.86 cents per kilowatt hour. Not all regions are affected equally. The Pacific region may experience a 3.5 percent increase above the national average in 2019. On the lower end of the spectrum, the South Atlantic may experience an increase of only 1.5 percent. Some regions will enjoy a decline in costs. The West South Central may be relieved with a drop of -3.4 percent and New England with a drop of -2.4 percent. Natural Gas Projections The national average for gas prices is expected to average $8.02 per thousand cubic feet in 2019, up 1.5 percent from 2018. Regional variations above the national average include West North Central at 6.4 percent, East North Central at 5.9 percent, and Mountain at 4.2 percent. New England may receive an average price drop of -5.5 percent as well as the Middle Atlantic at -2.7 percent. “The declines won’t be enough to offset the sharp increases registered in 2018,” warned the report. Making Changes Overall, utility costs by square foot varied drastically. Some senior living communities reported costs as low as 69 center...

Energy Snapshot Jan17

Energy Snapshot

The Balance Sheet compiled prognostications on some key energy issues: Coal stays stable. After a two-year decline, global demand picked up in 2017 and 2018. China accounts for about half of the world’s consumption, and growing demand in India and Asian countries is offsetting declines in the U.S. and Western Europe. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that the country’s electricity generation share from coal will average 26% in 2019, down from 30% in 2017. Oil retreats. The International Energy Agency and OPEC cut their forecasts for global oil demand growth in 2019, reflecting lower economic growth assumptions. The last time world oil consumption fell was in 2008-09, driven by surging prices and the recession. U.S.’s natural gas role grows.  New liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in Louisiana, Texas and Georgia are scheduled to come online, doubling U.S. LNG exporting capability. China is a key driver of demand as the world’s largest gas importer. EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants to be 35% in 2019, up from 32% in 2017. Politics play out. Climate politics will ramp up in the U.S. as the 2020 presidential election campaign gears up. In December 2018, leaders in the House of Representatives announced plans to establish a new panel, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. ‘Smart’ gets bigger. Investors and building managers will continue making green practices a core part of their business. “’Smart’ buildings are becoming more common because of new technology, which impacts building operations, and provides both efficiencies and connectivity which is increasingly being sought by tenants,” says the Counselors of Real Estate, an international property professionals organization. The Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research and education group, adds, “Real estate has been proactive...

Not just hot air Jan01

Not just hot air

Look up and there’s the sun, whose rays can be captured and converted into electricity. Peer down and see fossil fuels, the engine for much of the world’s economy. You need to burrow even further to find another key source of energy, one that’s driven by the molten essence of the Earth. Geothermal energy originates from the heat at the planet’s center. It can be captured as a source of electricity to heat and cool buildings with geothermal heat pumps, which transfer heat to buildings by pumping water or a special fluid through pipes just below the Earth’s surface. Geothermal energy can also generate electricity through geothermal power plants using wells drilled 1 to 2 miles deep into the Earth to pump steam or hot water to the surface. Tapping the Earth’s internal heat dates back thousands of years, with Roman, Chinese and Native American cultures using hot mineral springs for bathing, cooking and eating. The first geothermal plant, built in Italy in 1904, used steam to turn a turbine that powered five light bulbs. Today, more than 20 countries generate geothermal energy, according to National Geographic. Iceland and the Philippines meet nearly one-third of their electricity demand with geothermal energy, while18 power plants at the Geysers Geothermal Complex north of San Francisco comprise the world’s largest geothermal installation. The U.S., the global leader for installed geothermal capacity, provides more than 3.7 gigawatts to the national grid, according to the U.S Department of Energy. Although geothermal offers an environmentally friendly, renewable, reliable and stable energy source with the smallest land footprint of any major power source, it does have its drawbacks. These include the risk of releasing greenhouse gases that tend to congregate near geothermal power plants, power plants’ effect on fragile land stability, high...

Cleaner Trucks Initiative Dec19

Cleaner Trucks Initiative...

A recent proposal to tighten nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions aims to improve air quality. As a side effect, the changes will undoubtedly impact businesses. Can businesses expect to see shipping prices increase as fleet overhead rises? NOx is a type of air pollution formed during the combustion process in motor vehicles. The particulates have an adverse reaction on the environment and human health. By 2025, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates that more than 33 percent of NOx emissions will spew from heavy-duty trucks. To decrease those projected emissions, the EPA is drafting a new set of NOx emission regulations. The EPA recently initiated the Cleaner Trucks Initiative. The legislation updates federal NOx regulations, which have not been revised since 2001. Additionally, the proposal creates a single federal rule for an incongruent batch of federal and state guidelines. Several air agencies have petitioned the EPA for clearer guidelines and tighter standards for the trucking industry. The new plan will help to streamline compliance standards while promoting transport efficiency. The resulting changes will result in less particular matter and cleaner air. “The Cleaner Trucks Initiative will help modernize heavy-duty truck engines, improving their efficiency, and providing cleaner air for all Americans,” said Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said during a press conference. The initiative builds upon the success of previous legislation. Between 2007 and 2017, NOx emissions declined by 40 percent. The new challenge is to continue NOx emission decline without hindering economic growth.  John Mies, manager of corporate communications for Volvo Group North, has been a vocal supporter of the proposal. Past legislation has been “challenging but practical” he said. He added, “This is a great opportunity to update and streamline the certification and compliance processes, ensuring a focus on real-world emissions control with minimal impediment...

Sustainable Slopes Dec18

Sustainable Slopes

While offering mountains of fun in a winter wonderland, ski resorts also take sustainability seriously. Almost 200 resorts, more than 75% of the U.S. total, have endorsed “Sustainable Slopes,” the National Ski Areas Assn.’s (NSAA’s) Environmental Charter that incorporates principles for ski area planning, operations and outreach. As climate change concerns and consumers’ environmental awareness grow, NSAA and other ski resort stakeholders are devising strategies to “help ski resorts transfer the concept of sustainability from one involving a few disparate energy and efficiency projects to a comprehensive a holistic way of doing business, and one that will seriously enhance the long-term prospects of the areas that adopt them,” as described by the ski magazine Powder. The latest annual report from NSAA, a trade association for alpine resorts, summarizes progress in water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste reduction and recycling made by more than 300 ski areas that responded to a survey. One destination highlighted in the NSAA annual report, Boreal Mountain Resort & Soda Springs in California, has pledged to reduce its 2011 emissions levels by 25% by 2020. Resort managers retired less efficient vehicles, retrofitted night lighting infrastructure and installed solar panels that will generate 325,000 KwH annually. Another resort, Montana’s Bridger Bowl, offers free electric bus service on weekends as an alternative to single-occupant vehicles. And Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Frisco, Colo., installed electric vehicle charging stations, commingled recycling, composting and scrap steel recycling, and completed a building lighting retrofit. Opportunities for sustainability extend to a ski resort’s sine qua non: snow. An NSAA fact sheet notes that while snowmaking isn’t considered a consumptive act—most of the water diverted from streams for snowmaking returns to the watershed—opportunities abound to execute the process more efficiently: employing efficient snow-guns to increase the...

Charged Up Dec10

Charged Up

ENERGY STAR® certifications have gone mobile. Originally geared toward properties and consumer products, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) efficiency program now includes a scoring system for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. In December 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its inaugural ENERGY STAR specification for electric vehicle chargers. An ENERGY STAR-certified charging station is defined as using 40% less energy than an uncertified one. As EV technology increases its foothold in the marketplace, its capabilities and ENERGY STAR endorsement offer substantial cost, convenience and sustainability benefits. Moving toward EV-compatibility EV sales are expected to top 1 million by 2020, up from about 200,000 in 2017. Some observers predict EVs will be the dominant mode of propulsion for cars by 2030, making charging an increasingly significant value consideration for multifamily and commercial property owners. Driving EVs and using ENERGY STAR-certified chargers can produce: Savings—EVs cost about half as much to drive per mile than standard gasoline-powered vehicles, according to this calculator. Property owners hosting charging stations for tenants and customers can control costs by anticipating the need for new EV equipment, upgrading electrical service to accommodate it, taking operations and maintenance costs into account, and researching incentives that make installations easier and less expensive Efficiency—EVs convert about 59–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels, whereas conventional gasoline vehicles convert about 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels Convenience—Most EV charging happens at home or work, giving property managers who offer this capability a competitive advantage. But what if those places aren’t available? Locate the nearest public charger location in the U.S. here Smart technology—Some ENERGY STAR-certified EV charger models use Wi-Fi technology for remote power monitoring and control of the charging state...

CA Benchmarking Dec08

CA Benchmarking

A California energy benchmarking law going into effect next June requires multifamily property owners to complete a potentially daunting array of information gathering and reporting requirements. Yardi’s energy management software and experts stand ready to make the process easy and painless. Under the mandate, known as AB 802, owners of multifamily buildings with more than 17 units, or gross floor area of 50,000 square feet, must report information on energy use from all energy meters using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®. Reports to the California Energy Commission for 2018 are due to the California Energy Commission on June 1, 2019, and annually thereafter. Similar requirements for commercial buildings went to effect in June 2018.  Actions the commission recommends to meet the June 1 deadline begin by Feb. 1, 2019. Each building’s energy efficiency will be disclosed on a yet-to-be-established state website. “Publicly disclosing the performance of buildings will allow building owners and tenants to make better informed purchasing and leasing decisions, and the general public to better understand the buildings in which they live and work,” according to the California Energy Commission. Yardi is an ENERGY STAR Partner and is helping California users of the Yardi Smart Energy Suite get ready for AB 802. All owners of more than 330 California properties that rely on Yardi for ENERGY STAR benchmarking have retained the company in preparing for AB 802. Yardi Utility Expense Management, an element of the Yardi Pulse Suite, centralizes utility cost and consumption data and sends it directly into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Portfolio Manager is an online tool for tracking energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It also allows comparisons of a building’s energy performance against similar-type buildings. Elements of AB 802 compliance include setting up multiple measurement criteria for...

Building AI Dec07

Building AI

How can artificial intelligence (AI) benefit building operators? Matt Eggers, a Yardi consultant (and former vice president of Yardi Energy) and Yardi vice president Akshai Rao offered insights during a recent webinar hosted by Paul Rosta, executive editor of Commercial Property Executive. “Software is eating the world” and reshaping how people work and live; the various aspects of operating a building are no exception, Eggers noted. Many webinar participants and CPE readers say they plan to increase technology expenditures next year, but by 25% or less, which means building owners have to be smart about their investments. That’s where AI—the ability of machines and computers to perform cognitive functions normally associated with humans—comes in. Eggers Rao Rosta Optimizing building performance AI “learns as it goes,” detecting patterns in conditions affecting energy consumption without being requested, then prescribing recommendations. Outside of buildings, AI’s well-documented feats include beating chess grandmasters, winning at “Jeopardy!” and creating an image of a human face from scratch by learning from thousands of other photos. The expansion of digital data availability (“AI’s food and oxygen,” as Eggers described it), computing power and software enhancements, and cheap storage have made AI viable for the corporate world. And businesses have reacted in force: About 80% of webinar participants said they’re using AI or plan to within three years. Examples of how AI systems make a building more efficient include optimizing the setpoint (the target temperature) every 30 seconds to ensure comfort without using more energy than necessary; and learning from their past performance to react to changes in occupancy, weather and other factors. AI systems’ ability to perform continuous and small adjustments into HVAC settings translates into better performance through lower utility and equipment maintenance costs; increased tenant comfort that reduces service calls...

Let’s Save the World Nov26

Let’s Save the World...

The recently released UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report shocked everyone who was paying attention. In short, attempting to mitigate temperature rises to 1.5 percent by 2050 (which already seemed impossible to most) is too little too late. The globe is on a trajectory to see temperatures rise more than 3 percent by that time. The resulting flooding, droughts and superstorms will be catastrophic. A drastic shift in energy sourcing and usage is necessary to limit economic and humanitarian costs. Fortunately, drastic doesn’t mean impossible. Microgrids and carbon dioxide recycling are two available solutions that can make substantial impact. Microgrids Microgrids enable centralized power generation, storage and delivery. They offer more efficient power transmission, reduce costs for consumers, and decrease the duration of blackouts which can save lives and protect economies. A microgrid can “cut air pollution from the electric utility sector as much as 30 percent by 2030, saving 34,000 deaths a year,” states Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative. The systems offer more immediate benefits as well. Hurricanes Florence and Michael, for example, resulted in nearly $100 billion in property damages. After factoring in electricity outages and stalled commerce, Accenture estimates that such storms can cost economies $150 billion per year. The implementation of microgrids would reduce the economic impact of natural disasters by quickly restoring power. Microgrids also facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources with flexible scalability. Local organizations do not need to wait on utility companies or governments to implement more sustainable practices. Solar panels, roof-mounted wind turbines, and other sustainable energy devices can be used as the primary energy source on individual projects. Several power companies are exploring the power, efficiency and reliability of microgrids. Edison International, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Duke Energy, San Diego Gas & Electric are just...

Doing More Nov15

Doing More

“Do more with less”—a philosophy that some fear is a recipe for exhausting people and systems. But a recent webinar sponsored by the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Assn. (PRSM) showed how the right technology, when properly executed, can benefit workers and businesses—and cut operational costs by tens of millions of dollars. The webinar shared best practices for choosing and implementing technology, as well as improving internal processes to make global management work. Commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE, which manages communications services provider Sprint Nextel’s real estate operations, including its building automation systems, highlighted its energy journey and the implementation of Yardi Pulse Central Control, former Proliphix, in more than 1,200 U.S. retail outlets operated by Sprint. Chris Gardner Cole Schooland Ken Cooper After taking over Sprint’s real estate operations in 2009, CBRE used technology and improved processes to lower Sprint’s operating systems costs by $35 million, generate more than $750,000 in energy savings, reduce energy costs by 14%, and cut the company’s small box retail division’s maintenance costs by 15-20%, Chris Gardner, real estate manager for Sprint Nextel, told the webinar participants. A CBRE audit revealed more than 2 million hours of unnecessary run-time. Dedicated to investing in long-term solutions, CBRE greatly expanded its use of Yardi Pulse Central Control to optimize building lighting and control heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with cloud-based remote management software. The solution enables easy scheduling adjustments and safeguards for continuously monitoring temperatures, thermostat settings and potential equipment malfunctions, ensuring each building only uses the energy it needs. But investing in the right solution meant taking the conversation far beyond mere energy savings to address maintenance costs, asset health, employee efficiency and even revenue. According to webinar participant Cole Schoolland, this requires a multifaceted...

Zeroing In Nov05

Zeroing In

It was a different era in 1997, when Portland, Ore.-based New Buildings Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes energy performance improvements in commercial buildings, was founded. LEED and ENERGY STAR® buildings, Living Buildings, market adoption of renewable energy to any measurable degree—all were yet to come. “Reducing energy use was almost exclusively driven by utility efficiency programs focusing largely on fluorescent lighting upgrades,” NBI reflected recently. Today, At least 50% of customers have the option to purchase renewable electricity directly from their power supplier according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Energy conservation has become considerably more sophisticated in a report NBI recently released to coincide with the organization’s 20th anniversary. While still small in relation to total buildings and floor space, zero building development in the U.S. is accelerating, according to the report. Zero energy buildings—defined by the U.S. Department of Energy as a property or community where “on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy”—are gaining favor across virtually all property types. The recent NBI report, “Getting to Zero Status Update and List of Zero Energy Projects,” highlights nearly 500 zero energy commercial building projects across the U.S. Projects owned by for-profit companies account for 26% of the list.  Privately held buildings account for 46% of zero energy buildings, with K-12 schools representing 18%. By contrast, NBI’s first Getting to Zero Status Update in 2012 reported just 60 commercial and multifamily buildings or projects that were either verified as zero energy or approaching that level. Zero energy buildings had the potential to grow in popularity, Greg Zimmerman, executive editor of FacilitiesNet, said in 2010, because they are “the embodiment of sustainability because net-zero is a model that is self-contained—no...