Eric Michaels

By on Aug 10, 2018 in Energy, People

Eric Michaels joined Yardi as an account executive for the Yardi Energy team in the spring of 2018. He recently discussed his position and background from his office in New York City.

TBS: Eric, what types of businesses do you serve with the Yardi Smart Energy Suite, and what makes up your territory?

Michaels: My focus is on commercial property ownership groups, management companies and investment firms. My clients are primarily in larger metropolitan areas such as New York City but my territory also encompasses New York state, New Jersey, Connecticut and other New England locales. Any commercial real estate business, from industrial to retail and high-rises to strip malls can benefit from the Yardi Smart Energy Suite. We have solutions that also work for new construction projects or owners that have been using Yardi Voyager and other products for a long time.

Q: Where were you before joining Yardi?

A: I spent 11 years in energy-related positions with utility providers and commercial building operators in New York. I worked in project management, sales and implementation, so I got experience in everything from boiler rooms in a building’s basement to chillers on the roof from multiple perspectives as a vendor and client.

Q: And before that?

A: I was a school psychologist in the New York public school system.

Q: Why did you leave that position?

A: I was ready for a new and fulfilling challenge. Energy efficiency was just beginning to take off, and utility companies were offering incentive and rebate programs for properties that upgraded to energy-efficient lighting solutions. I received an offer to manage the Long Island Power Authority’s residential energy conservation program for an energy service company.

Q: How did you learn about Yardi?

A: When I joined the world of energy efficiency my learning curve was insanely steep. I needed to learn a lot to compete with industry veterans. Yardi was one of the companies that my colleagues knew about and suggested I study. I initially knew it as a financial and accounting firm back then, and subsequently learned about its dynamic energy offerings.

Q: What are major trends in energy management, and how does the Smart Energy Suite fit into them?

A: A big trend is the increasing use of data analytics in managing buildings for an entire portfolio. In the past, facility managers focused on keeping their buildings’ energy systems operating and that was it. Now, building owners and operators can use energy management solutions from the Yardi Smart Energy Suite as part of a long-term investment strategy for  their entire portfolio, not just one or a few buildings. Clients aren’t just saving $10,000 annually in energy costs; instead, their energy system actually represents a source of revenue, because asset managers can use insights gained from the Yardi Smart Energy Suite to increase the property’s value, to elevate net operating income and to enhance resale value.

Q: What’s the main point about Yardi that you try to get across to clients and prospects?

A: There are two things I think everybody should know about Yardi: the company values its clients and knows that without them there would be no Yardi; and it does care about promoting the benefits of energy efficiency in the real estate community. These are energy related issues the CFO, the COO and the accounting team should know about rather than just the building engineers. All of these people in these various roles are involved in managing property operations efficiently, ensuring tenant comfort and satisfying regulatory requirements. Of course, there are always some people who are leery of spending money on new systems. But I try to show how the suite, used to its full potential, is a true investment with very real returns for an entire portfolio rather than a cost burden. I also point out that the products that make up the Yardi Smart Energy Suite can be deployed independently, but our clients are finding a greater return using the solutions together in one single connected platform.

Q: Isn’t sustainability support another selling point?

A: Very much so. I meet clients every day that make sustainability, energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction a big part of their corporate mission—and our solutions can help them achieve their goals. With Yardi Pulse®, our integrated platform featuring real-time metering with alerts, HVAC optimization, scheduling, fault detection and more, our clients can actively see their building’s energy performance and make decisions in real-time that change their impact on the world.

Even beyond supporting a client’s individual sustainability goals, the Yardi Smart Energy Suite can also help support the legal requirements. For example, by using Yardi for automated invoice processing, we can collect and record a client’s consumption and cost for use in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®, an online tool that measures and tracks energy and water consumption, and provides valuable ENERGY STAR scores. Benchmarking the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings is a time-consuming and tedious process requiring familiarity with building systems and mechanics. By having Yardi do this, the client creates a seamless conduit between the collection and analysis of building data, the delivery of data into Portfolio Manager and compliance with benchmarking requirements. Yardi Utility Expense Management, in conjunction with E2 Insight, also provides data required to satisfy New York City benchmarking requirements.

Q: So part of your job is education. That’s where the school work experience comes into play.

A: Right! And knowing a bit of psychology doesn’t hurt either.