Implementing energy efficiency strategies doesn’t just benefit the Earth: it also benefits your pockets. Buildings utilize 70% of the electricity generated in the U.S. and emit over one-third of carbon emissions, which is more than any sector of the economy. Many Fortune 500 companies are taking steps to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, acquire more renewable energy and reduce their energy bills through energy efficiency. If your building can save $15,000 in electricity usage monthly, those savings can pay the salaries of multiple employees, or it may help fund other capital intense projects.
A building’s energy efficiency is rooted in a strategic plan to achieve those goals. An important starting point for tracking a building’s energy efficiency is to implement an achievable goal. Here are effective strategies to implementing energy efficiency in a building:
- Keep Score – It’s important to set realistic energy efficiency goals while monitoring real time performance. There are several third party benchmarking tools to view your building’s progress, such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. This program allows you to set goals for your building using similar buildings as your baseline. Center your focus on the buildings that are not achieving their goal.
- Strong backing from senior leadership – If you are in property management and would like to implement energy efficiency goals, it’s important to have your team on board. Have a clear purpose for these changes, whether it’s to reduce costs or for environmental impact. A position within a property management company solely for sustainability has also proven to be very effective.
- Implement goals – Property managers and/or building owners must communicate these efficiency goals to their tenants as they play a large role in the consumption of the building’s energy. The goals may be demonstrated through events, signage, or tenant resources.
- Communicate results – If tenants are asked to reduce their energy usage, they’ll likely want to see proof this is working or they might not want to continue these approaches to energy reduction. Property managers or owners should make it clear to their tenants that their actions are helping the overall goal by using posters. Buildings can also gain recognition through third party certification programs such as LEED, ENERGY STAR, WELL, and many more. Additionally, Assembly Bill 802, mandated by the state of California, requires owners of commercial and multifamily buildings with more than 50,000 sq. ft. to benchmark the building’s energy data though ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Complying with this regulation from the California Energy Commission (CEC) can also double as a useful way of informing your tenants about their spending habits, as well as tracking down excessive costs in nonresidential spaces.
If you notice your building is not achieving its energy goals, VCA Green provides energy audits for multifamily and commercial buildings. Contact VCA Green below for more information on energy audits and how to implement an effective energy performance strategy.
Contributing Writer: Devin Green, Operations Coordinator
Moe Fakih, Principal
Report: Fortune 500 Companies Accelerating Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Efforts