For commercial building managers, energy is one of the biggest operating expenses. When you’re managing a building in the real estate industry, you’re likely looking for cost-saving measures, but your tenants rely on energy to keep their businesses humming along. Knowing more about commercial real estate energy management and understanding your energy consumption and demand will help you lower costs without impacting your tenants.
Commercial Real Estate Energy Management Explained
A commercial real estate energy management strategy helps you understand your building’s energy consumption and develop a data-centered process that lets you manage that consumption. When deploying your strategy, use a combination of technology, data, and processes to create a more energy-efficient real estate property.
When you’re developing a commercial real estate energy management plan, follow these guidelines and get the most out of your properties.
Understanding Energy Base and Peak Load
Before you can make your commercial buildings more energy efficient, you have to know where you currently stand. The first step in creating a real estate energy management plan is to understand your building’s energy base and peak load.
A building’s energy base is the minimum amount of energy needed to power the building. You can calculate your base load by looking at how much energy your building uses at night when most businesses within the building aren’t operating.
Peak load refers to how much energy you’re using during peak hours. You can calculate this number by adding your total energy consumption and dividing it by a certain time interval. Most power companies charge for peak load as well as base load, so you can probably find your peak load listed on your energy bills.
Interpreting Energy Costs on a Utility Bill
Your utility bills are a great place to start gathering data that helps you understand your energy consumption. Commercial energy bills are more complicated than your typical home utility bill. Here are some common items listed on your utility bill and what they mean.
KWh: KWh stands for kilowatt-hours which are used to measure power usage. Anything in your building that runs on electricity uses kilowatts to function. KWh shows you how much power your building is using in an hour divided by 1,000. Your utility company probably charges you in cents per KWh. For example, if you’re being charged 4 cents per KWh and your HVAC system uses 10,000 KWh per month, you will pay $400 a month just to run the HVAC system.
Demand: Your utility company might charge you extra based on overall energy demand. This charge is common in larger cities where there is high demand on the grid. It may go up at times of the year in which demand could cause grid failure.
Consumption: Your building manager will likely be interested in energy consumption. This is usually listed as a measurement of average KWh.
Delivery charge: A delivery charge is set by your utility company to cover energy transportation, energy equipment maintenance, and other infrastructure used to deliver energy to your building.
Identifying Opportunities To Reduce Energy Usage
Older buildings may not have been constructed with commercial real estate energy efficiency in mind. When you’re managing an older building, evaluate new technologies and other modifications you can use to reduce your energy consumption. If you’re managing a newer building, you can take a few steps to manage your energy consumption.
Replace Old Equipment
Do an audit of your building to assess old equipment. Your water heaters, HVAC system, and even windows could be costing you money by wasting energy. Take an inventory of your old equipment and consider what you can replace to save energy.
For example, if you’re using a central HVAC system, you could be wasting energy heating and cooling units that aren’t occupied. Switching to a decentralized system lets tenants in each unit control their own heating and cooling, saving energy.
Invest in Smart Systems
Smart systems are a great way to monitor and control your energy usage. These energy systems monitor your energy usage and make adjustments to improve efficiency. Smart sensors can detect factors that trigger the system to manage itself. For example, the smart system can be programmed to adjust the building’s internal temperature based on how many people are in the room, lowering the heat in offices and conference rooms when they’re not in use.
Consider adding smart windows to your building. Smart windows are made with switchable glass that can block light depending on conditions. These windows can help keep a building cooler in the summer when the sun is otherwise streaming into the windows. It can also help insulate a building in the winter.
Insulation helps improve the heating flow throughout your building, helping reduce heating and cooling needs. Your commercial building probably has insulation near the windows and in the walls. You can also add it to HVAC ducts, outlets, and other places where energy seeps out of the building. Adding insulation to a building could cut energy costs by as much as 15%.
Improve Your Energy Efficiency With Our Energy Management System
If you’re ready to save money on energy and reduce your carbon emissions, try the best smart energy solutions from Attune. Our IoT platform gives you instant access to your building’s data, letting you monitor your energy consumption in real-time and make adjustments to improve efficiency.
With our systems, you can identify areas of your building that use more energy than others and get to the root of the problem. Track consumption by floor, by tenants, or by other areas to help determine where you can replace or optimize equipment that’s draining energy in your building.
With Attune, you can manage and control your data from anywhere with a mobile app. As a building manager, you may not be onsite all the time. With this app, you can be notified of unusual energy spikes when they happen and manage problems immediately.