Senior Living Utilities

By on Jan 24, 2019 in Energy, News

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 per square foot to as much as $7.72, according to 2018 State of Seniors Housing report.

The cost per resident, per day also scaled a broad range. On the low end, communities reported 76 cents per resident. Respondents topped-out at $16.27 per resident. The average cost per resident, per day came in at $5.80 in 2018.

To promote greater efficiencies in utilities and costs per resident, senior living executives will increase their investments in efficient equipment and fixtures.

About 37 percent of respondents are channeling resources towards energy-saving light fixtures. Efficient refrigeration, heating and air conditioning are priorities for 18 percent of respondents. Only 15 percent of those surveyed plan to invest in water-saving devices.

The kitchen will be a hot spot for cost savings. One in 20 senior living leaders plan to introduce energy-saving kitchen appliances to their communities in 2019.

Measure, Manage, Save

Before quantifiable savings can take place, decision makers must be able to organize utility and energy data. Track and manage utility and energy costs to begin benchmarking and implementing effective strategies.

Use Yardi Senior Living Suite to manage finances, operations and marketing with a single connected solution.