Building Beach Season


It’s time to start getting your buildings ready to look and feel good…for the rest of their lives.

I don’t know about you but every January I tell myself things are going to be different this year.  The new year inspires us to set goals for healthy living, financial success and lasting relationships. In fact, there is an entire industry of resources and technologies focused on making our goals easily attainable.  Running your building is no different.

We look at thousands of buildings across the country each year and hear the same problems.  Even worse, we see the same short-term solutions implemented year after year.  If tenants are complaining about their apartment being too cold, crank up the boiler.  If the hallway lights are dim and they keep burning out, replace them with the same light bulb. Every year we end up paying more and more for electricity, gas and water because the approach to energy management just isn’t evolving anywhere near as quickly as consumption is growing. However our dependency on energy, and the price we pay for it continues to climb.

Just because your building was built in the 1900’s doesn’t mean you have to operate it that way. Energy was less expensive when these buildings were built and conservation was not a goal or a necessity. Times have changed! This year, it’s time to bring your building into the 21st Century. There are simple ways to start managing energy that will help you provide your tenants with a healthier space to live and work, reduce your operating expenses and keep happy tenants in your building for years to come.

The first step is to measure your usage. Whether you are trying to lose weight or earn more money, knowing where you stand is crucial to success. This will also help you understand how your building uses energy and where you should focus your time, money and effort. This is a fundamental metric that is imperative to evaluating and recognizing your success.

Now it’s time to make some changes!  But like any resolution, start small and build up throughout the year. Here’s a simple change that can produce big results: upgrade your lights. Most of the buildings we see still have incandescent lighting, which is the same technology that Thomas Edison invented…in the 1800s. Even fluorescent lamps are outdated; you can typically achieve a 40%-50% energy reduction by switching to LEDs. By leapfrogging straight to LEDs, you can quickly reduce operating costs, maintenance costs and will usually increase light levels, making your building safer.

Lastly, and here is the most important part, you have to watch the results – good or bad! Proper energy management can’t be done by installing new devices alone because set it and forget it doesn’t work. You think losing ten pounds is tough until you realize what you have to do to keep it off. Your building’s energy health is as much a journey that needs monitoring as your own.

To bring your building into the 21st Century, the most important advice to follow is to be strategic. Working with a personal trainer is effective because it means having a long-term plan and someone who can hold you accountable. Set goals for your building or your portfolio and work with a strategic partner that will help you achieve what you set out to do.  You don’t need to stick to old tactics just because your building is old. New, strategic approaches to operating will help create healthier, more profitable and longer-lasting buildings. So let your building’s six pack fly free this summer. Start now to make 2015 the year you finally see results, because with buildings, it’s beach season all year long!

Will Scherle