Technology solutions to aid process documentation

At its core, property management is all about communication, and there is plenty of room for improvement.

CREJ

July 5, 2019

Achieve net zero energy use in existing buildings

Energy-efficient building, particularly in the commercial space, is a trend that isn’t going away. According to 2018 data from the U.S. Green Building Council, new commercial construction continues to lead in green building projects, with 51 percent of global respondents planning such projects. Respondents overwhelmingly praised rating systems such as LEED as helpful with the development of high-performing buildings, not surprising given their many environmental and operational benefits. But with so much focus on new construction, it’s easy to see that a significant opportunity is being missed. What about the sustainability opportunities for those commercial buildings already in existence? What’s the best path to improved energy efficiency, and ultimately net zero energy use, for those buildings? Achieving an ambitious goal requires setting an ambitious plan into motion. These recommendations are tailored specifically to commercial building owners and managers who want to make a serious dent in their energy use, thereby reaping the myriad benefits of energy efficiency – for their tenants, themselves and the planet. 1. Track and monitor energy use. In order to reduce energy consumption in an existing commercial building, the first action must be an evaluation of current energy usage. To finish a race, one must know the starting point. At our firm, we look at every current and future project for energy use management and optimization. Specifically, we track energy and utility electrical demand minute by minute. We use metrics like Energy Star to keep track of our energy usage over time and spot operational problems in advance. We also take the time to understand the utility rate structure so we can analyze our bills effectively. This monitoring process begins with an initial evaluation and continues in perpetuity because new questions and concerns can always arise. If we don’t know where a building’s usage stands, we don’t know how to improve it. 2. Upgrade to new technologies. Once building owners have a gauge on their day-to-day energy usage, it’s time for an audit of current technologies and systems. Are you already using variable frequency drives for supply air fans? Do you use digital or analog systems for operating your heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and natural gas systems? What software do you use to track your building’s energy and operations over time? Have you considered water-cooled air-conditioning systems? What about LED lighting with digital controls? These technologies may sound more like “nice to have” upgrades than vitally necessary investments, but studies have shown that these upgrades more than pay for themselves over time thanks to the energy and operational cost savings. In buildings we manage, these technologies are always under serious consideration, if not active implementation, simply because of the financial and sustainability benefits they offer in the long term. 3. Utilize retro-commissioning. It also may be worth exploring retro-commissioning as an option for your building. Utility companies are supporting retro-commissioning services for existing structures, as the process can create substantial savings (varying between 5% and 35%) for a relatively low cost. To get started, it’s necessary to begin a conversation with your utility provider. We recently implemented this process at 10 of our properties and subsequently predicted a future savings over 10 years of $3.6 million. In order for these programs to work best, the building in question must have a direct digital control system. At the highest level, reduced energy consumption represents an opportunity to lessen the harmful impact we have on our natural environment while making the world a little more pleasant and secure for our communities. Beyond the environmental impact, building owners and managers specifically benefit from the increased building value, utility cost savings and the community impact recognition. Meanwhile, building tenants also benefit from the reduced costs of energy, operations and maintenance. Some companies see an added bonus in enhanced recruitment opportunities, given the fact that so many members of today’s talented workforce are actively seeking positions with environmentally conscious companies. These benefits are ripe for the plucking, yet are only available to those commercial building owners and developers who invest in smart energy practices. For existing commercial buildings, there is a proven path to optimized energy consumption – and even net zero usage – but it requires careful evaluation, monitoring, investment and investigation.

CREJ

July 5, 2019

Consider solar to meet Green Building Ordinance

The Denver Green Building Ordinance was passed by Denver City Council and is now in effect (formerly known as the Denver Green Roof Initiative).

CREJ

July 5, 2019

Make the most of your building’s automated systems

In the commercial space, building engineers and operators are facing an ever-evolving challenge: How to keep up with and leverage technology to drive better asset performance and value for their owners.

CREJ

June 28, 2019

Why effective tenant relations matter at industrial properties

Much has been written about the importance of office owners and managers developing strong relationships with their tenants.

CREJ

June 28, 2019
Williams was an active member of the Building Owners and Managers Association throughout her career. Here she’s being sworn in as a board member. She also received BOMA’s The Office Building of the Year award twice, in 1990 and 1994, while managing One Tabor Center.

Williams reflects on 30 years in property management

I went to college to be an art teacher. So how did I go from that to managing downtown office buildings? As the saying goes, “Life does not always turn out as planned.”

CREJ

June 28, 2019

Refrigerant reporting rules shift onus to owners

Just when owners and operators thought they had figured out all they needed to know about refrigerants, the Environmental Protection Agency upped the ante. The new year has ushered in

CREJ

April 8, 2019

Opinion: Why I’m voting no on Initiative 300

Denver voters will be faced with an important question in May when they are asked to vote on Initiative 300. The ballot language reads: Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver

CREJ

April 8, 2019

Building analytics increase asset functionality

Property management can be a grind. It is challenging to get ahead of the needs of tenants. It’s hard to avoid that distressing feeling that your energy costs are too high each month. There’s also

CREJ

April 5, 2019

Key considerations when generating new space for tenants

Building owners and property managers have dozens of things to consider when generating space for new tenants. From an operational standpoint, things such as building rules for contractors, product

CREJ

April 1, 2019