As our population continues to grow, so does our demand for energy — which of course causes energy costs to continually rise, while also putting additional stress on our already fragile environment. These soaring energy costs can have a significant impact on both condominium management and rental management if not proactively addressed.
In the case of condominiums, higher energy costs are reflected in higher maintenance fees for owners, which hurts resale value. While in multi-residential properties, higher energy costs force landlords and property managers to raise rents, thereby bringing increased challenge to tenant satisfaction and retention.
Following are 4 steps you can take to reduce energy consumption and the associated operating costs.
1. Professional Energy Audit
Hire a professional to examine the age and condition of HVAC equipment, lighting, windows, etc. and provide corresponding efficiency recommendations with estimated retrofit costs and an estimate of the resulting energy savings. You can then analyze your current energy consumption costs vs. the estimated savings and make informed decisions about the benefits of upgrading equipment and/or fixtures.
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2. Building Retrofits
Backed by qualitative data from a professional energy audit, you can present a solid case for moving forward with cost-saving retrofit initiatives. Many states and provinces offer incentives for retrofits that decrease a building’s energy consumption.
DID YOU KNOW? HVAC efficiency improvements can provide the greatest opportunity to reduce operating costs.
3. Utility Expense Audit
Here’s another instance where you can benefit from the help of a professional. Expert bill auditors can analyze your entire utility spend both portfolio-wide and per building. Such professionals will often find rate savings that can significantly reduce unnecessary expenses. Another way to reduce unnecessary operating expenses is to set up all of your utilities on automatic PAP. Property Management and Accounting Software allows you to do a one-time set up, thus saving the time (and money) otherwise required to manually receive and approve bills and cut checks.
4. Sub-metering Units
The obvious benefit to sub-metering units in both condominiums and multi-tenant properties is that individuals are responsible to pay their own utility expenses and none of those expenses get passed on to the property management company. The other positive side-effect is that when residents know they are paying their own utilities they tend to reduce their energy consumption — which is a huge bonus for both their wallets and the health of our planet.
Due to advances in technology, sub-metering units in older buildings is not as challenging as it once was. And in most cases sub meters can be installed at no capital costs to condo corporations.
Taking the steps above to reduce energy consumption and lower your operating costs is a big win for everyone — even our future generations.
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