Energy Upgrades

By on Jan 29, 2019 in Energy, News

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.

6880 Financial Drive in Mississauga was featured in the Triovest case study.

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 this success, Milnes said, is broad engagement across the organization. Triovest’s property managers and operations staff are deeply involved in all aspects of energy management, including data analysis, operations reviews, capital planning and daily preventative maintenance rounds.

Also, he added, “Piloting is a key to success. Test a few sections or a few buildings first; you don’t need to go from 0 to 100.”

Raffi also endorsed collaboration as the key to a successful energy management upgrade. “New systems, especially those that incorporate machine learning, can be daunting,” he said. “A best practice for managing the implementation is to make sure everybody understands the issues, contributes to the plan and understands the benefits such as improved preventative maintenance. It’s also good to provide training and tie the plan’s success to performance reviews.”

Learn how Yardi Pulse optimizes energy savings and occupant comfort for commercial buildings