Return on Energy Aug10

Return on Energy

Want to cut costs on energy? The National Apartment Association (NAA) Education Conference session entitled Return On Energy: Sustainable Case Studies for Catching Up offered several helpful tips for keeping costs low and residents happy. The session featured Martin Levkus, Regional Director, Yardi Energy; Tom Turnbull, Senior Engineer, JDM Associates; and moderator, Erin Hatcher, LEED Sustainability Manager & Development Associate with AMLI. Hatcher kicked off the session with a question to the audience: “in-house or out-of-house?” Some multifamily owners and operators, like AMLI, have the infrastructure in-house to do their own sustainability and energy efficiency projects. Others, need to outsource to experts if they don’t have the personnel or expertise to do it all themselves. Although both methods have pros and cons, there are some key tips that either method can use to help your properties operate optimally. Data + Analysis = Cost Savings You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Yardi has helped numerous businesses decrease utility expenses with the help of software and Levkus’ advice: “It all starts with a utility bill.” Before you can take down the low hanging fruit, you need to use data to identify it. Levkus referred to a case study including 14,600 units across 260 properties. The organization spent $50,000 – $100,00 in late fees each year. With better bill processing integrated into one software solution, they reduced late fees for roughly $75,000 in annual savings. Beyond paying the utility bills on time, you also want to make sure the bills have accurate charges. A separate Yardi study revealed that for a residential property management business spending $32 million per year on utilities across 63,000 invoices, there were significant billing errors by the utility company equallying $388,000 across two years – 0.55 percent of spend. Yardi’s goal...

SuntoWater

The world is getting thirstier. For many people around the globe, access to clean drinking water is still a challenge. Higher average temperatures, increased pollution, rising utility costs and population growth make clean water inaccessible to many. Fortunately, organizations are working hard to change that with innovative solutions. In response, a small, passionate group got together to make water from air. Texas-based SunToWater utilizes solar power to generate power and diminish water scarcity. SunToWater is launching a revolutionary machine referred to as the Atmospheric Water Generator. Through a one-of-a-kind patented design, the device is capable of pulling water from the air and storing it for consumption. How does it work? The process starts with an exterior unit that is about the size of an air conditioner. The first step is absorption: small, energy efficient fans pull humid air into the unit. The air passes over a salt-based element that absorbs water molecules like a sponge. By using salt, the machine is able to absorb only H2O from the air, leaving aside contaminates. The air is then circulated through a patented desiccant technology. During the second phase, the extraction, water is baked from the desiccant with the use of warm air and then condensed into pure water. The last step, remineralization, adds minerals back into the water. Water can then be piped directly into a home, garden, or external water tanks. The quality of the water produced—even when created from smog-polluted air—meets World Health Organization’s standards for drinking water. Desert climates are not an obstacle since the system uses salt instead of Freon to capture and condense humidity into water. Also, if the unit is in a desert climate, the fans work faster to move more air over the salty material. Is it worth the...