Essential Energy Management Steps for Multifamily Properties

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

green building

Research and development over the past several decades have consistently reduced energy consumption in the US. But, did you know that the National Academy of Engineering predicts we will use almost 70% more energy in 2040 unless we continue to reduce energy intensity sufficiently enough to offset growth and economic conditions?

Understanding the Vital Role of Multifamily Property Managers

The good news for property owners and managers is that those energy predictions don’t have to come true. In fact, the same NAE study found that, accounting for population growth,  if U.S. continues to reduce energy consumption at the levels that it has for the past 30 years, energy use will rise by less than 10% over the next 15 years. With 25 million multifamily residences in the U.S., property managers have the potential to reap tremendous savings and benefit our country at the same time.

Some property managers delay implementing energy conservation measures because they doubt reports that their efforts will produce significant benefits. Others hear anecdotal accounts of green industry failures and hesitate to invest money in unproven upgrades and lifestyle changes.

There are steps every owner or property manager can take to reduce energy consumption and lower costs; increasing ROI and profit potential.

Before you get down to planning for energy conservation, you must know how much energy you typically consume over a specific period – and how much that energy costs. Working with your utility provider, or by reviewing a year’s worth of utility bills, create a spreadsheet that details average monthly use. This simple method does not take into account extreme weather patterns and economic fluctuations.

Consulting an energy conservation specialist to analyze your current and past usage provides more accurate starting numbers. This also gives you a realistic starting point for setting goals and creating strategies to meet your goals.

Strategic Considerations

Energy conservation measures encompass a broad array of strategies that tighten control of energy use and expenses. It is valuable to understand the diverse types of conservation strategies. Here are three examples.

Some strategies seek to control cost per unit. For example, negotiating utility rate contracts can reduce costs, even if the energy consumption remains flat.

Consumption lowering strategies seek to control energy use: Switching from electric to solar lighting might reduce energy use and carbon footprints immediately, but could require more financial investment up front.

Dual-strategies seek to control both financial investments and energy use: Upgrading appliances or installing energy-efficient window treatments can reduce energy loss and lower consumption.

Partnering with Experts

Working with industry experts and energy conservation specialists help property owners conduct a property-wide analysis, drill down into the details to set an accurate baseline for measurement and to design strategies for reducing energy use and costs.

The partnerships you form will have the greatest impact on the success of your energy conservation program. Leave no stone unturned as you look for energy drainers on your property.

  1. Inspect appliances for age and performance deficiencies.
  2. Consult your accountant about applicable tax incentives and credits.
  3. Review lighting, landscaping, irrigation systems, interior design, window and door integrity and exterior siding to see if upgrades could save money or lower energy use.
  4. Compare energy types. Should you switch to LED light bulb? Would gas appliances be more beneficial than electricity? Can solar lights replace electric security lights?

Multifamily homes use an extraordinary amount of energy in the US. Implementing energy conservation measures for your property has the potential to reward you with significant return on investment.

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AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.