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Three ideas property managers can use to drive sustainability in their buildings – Without spending a fortune!

Discover new ideas to drive sustainability in your building without spending a fortune.

Property managers have more knowledge than they might be aware of to greatly reduce building operating costs without tapping into capital reserves.

Try these steps to reduce energy consumption in your building and better control operating costs

By: Zach Denning

 

Large commercial real estate companies typically have sustainability and engineering divisions tasked with finding building inefficiencies throughout their commercial portfolios. When we think building sustainability, our minds drift to sophisticated solutions involving key stakeholders and large capital budgets. Yet, when it comes to HVAC, it may be easier than you think to drive down energy and maintenance costs with little capital.

There’s one person that knows the building and it’s issues better than anyone – The property manager. 6/10 tenant issues reported to property managers are HVAC related – 60% of all energy in a commercial building goes to the HVAC… Spotting a trend?

Property managers have more power than they think to solve key tenant issues and reduce operating costs like maintenance and energy. All it takes is applying some new ideas on how to manage HVAC:

 

1. Track maintenance costs down to the equipment level to maximize equipment life and decrease operating costs

Maintenance is usually tracked as an annual lump sum with the Preventative Maintenance (PM) contract broken out. Like most analytics, lump sum only tells us that you’re spending more or           less – Not where, how or why you’re spending your money.

If you track maintenance costs at the equipment level (valve replacements, filter replacements, etc.), the resulting annualized figure can be used to reveal operating degradation. Dividing annual maintenance costs by total replacement value gives you an indication of equipment Return on Investment (ROI) from a maintenance perspective. A resulting ROI of 0.15 or lower indicates your equipment is working efficiently while 0.3-0.4 tells you it’s time to replace.

Driving equipment replacements from maintenance degradation extends life 10-15%, reduces emergency replacement costs 20-30% and often leads to lower energy costs from increased efficiency.

 

2. Utilize emerging building technologies to forecast and repair failures before they impact tenants and bills

There are a few new building technology services capable of tapping into your buildings HVAC and finding potential failures before they occur – Some even go as far to quantify the issue real-time for easy repair prioritization.

Forecasted maintenance services are typically subscription based, granting managers the flexibility to evaluate cost savings without large capital expenditures. Systems should evaluate issues from a financial perspective allowing managers to acclimate new, actionable data into their workflows without needing a strong technical background.

Finding and repairing issues before the equipment fails not only alleviates the potential risk of failure and tenant impact, it reduces maintenance costs 25-35% and increases equipment efficiency 15-20%.

 

3. Take control of HVAC operation with periodic building automation tune-ups to increase efficiency

50-60% of HVAC related tenant calls in commercial buildings are building automation related. Preventative Maintenance (PM) contracts often fail to identify and remedy automation inefficiencies before they impact your tenants and your energy bills.

Typical issues like hot/cold calls and “doors blowing open” often refer to the controllability of the Building Management System (BMS). Having a controls contractor or consultant audit your system and tune up programming periodically throughout the year can often solve the major issues your tenants have discovered.

Fixing simplistic automation issues often result in 10-15% savings, payback in less than 8-months and extended equipment life.

 

The above recommendations have a proven track record of great payback (<8-months average) and can be easily implemented by property managers – Without needing to brush up on technical skills.

Try them out today and feel free to leave comments on how well they’ve worked for your organization!

 

 

My name is Zach Denning and I’m the CEO and owner of EnerDapt, Inc. We’re an HVAC engineering firm that utilizes cloud-based technology to bridge the technical and financial gaps commonly found in HVAC management. Our OCMS EnerVise platform keeps customers knowledgeable about their building including HVAC life-cycle costs, forecasted maintenance & upgrades, and equipment replacements.   You can reach me at [email protected] or visit our website at www.enerdapt.com

OCMS; Building Operating Cost Management

Hot & cold calls ruining your tenant relationships? Learn a new management style to reverse calls and costs without becoming an expert!

You don’t need to be an HVAC expert to make impactful, financially-driven decisions!

By: Zach Denning

Do your tenants complain about temperature issues? Find yourself explaining how bad your HVAC is? Tenant complaints are the result of reactive HVAC management. Proactive management techniques have proven to reduce tenant calls 50% while curbing operating costs 15-20%.

Do your tenants complain about temperature issues? Find yourself explaining how bad your HVAC is? Tenant complaints are the result of reactive HVAC management. Proactive management techniques have proven to reduce tenant calls 50% while curbing operating costs 15-20%.

 

It’s no secret that the majority of tenant complaints in commercial buildings revolve around HVAC. Hot and cold calls make up 8/10 objections lodged by tenants and are the catalyst for declining relationships between tenants and managers. Most tenants may not leave over a few degrees of comfort, but mounting HVAC issues may cause a tenant to look elsewhere before resigning a lease. Let’s face it, when the majority of workers are strapped to an office half of their lives they have every right to be comfortable.

Most managers have come to live with under-performing HVAC – In fact some even forewarn tenants to help manage expectations! So why do we accept status quo when it comes to comfort? Do you know how badly temperature control issues actually affect your tenant? Numerous case studies have cited that even 2-3 degree temperature swings from comfortable conditions ( > 68 or < 72) show 5-7% reduction per degree in productivity. Your losing almost 20% of your bottom line when your office is 76 degrees in the summer!

One of the biggest problems surrounding tenant complaints is reactive management styles.  Yet, it’s not the fault of the owner or property manager. The typical manager has two analytics to derive actionable, financial intelligence – Lump sum, annual energy and maintenance bills. Other than that, they’re service provider is feeding them technically based, End-of-Life (EOL) reports detailing which component or equipment is going to fail next. Building owners typically react to risk aversion or investments – Which neither lump-sum bill analyzation or technical reports deliver!

So how do we command meaningful change? How do we reverse traditional mentalities and avoid having to deliver sub-par comfort? Proactive management. We’ve all heard the term deferred maintenance. Some like to be politically correct and call it an annual budget. What we don’t consider when we put off maintenance, irregardless the reasoning, is the associated risk and cost of efficiency. Equipment costs more money to run when there are lingering component problems. Would you have replaced that air filter in your car if your mechanic told you it would cost you $0.10/mile? How about those bald tires? If he told you there was a 50% chance of wrecking your car and you’d spend $150.00 in the next 1,000 miles, you’d probably be more inclined to shell out!

The reality is that uncalculated risk and returns are never enough to get us to spend our money. We hold it tight to our chests. We spend it either to make more or to prevent losing less. That’s it. HVAC expenditures fall under the same principles. If we’re able to weigh every potential repair, upgrade, and replacement against how much we’re losing daily, or the calculated risk impact to tenants, we now have a reason to invest in temperature control. By understanding how every HVAC expenditure impacts our bottom line, we forego replacements because they either don’t cost us enough or they won’t have an impact on our tenant. We spend money because we’ll either lose more running the equipment versus replacing or the equipment failing will cause a complaint.

Proactive management is about understanding how each investment we make from a preventative maintenance contract to an energy retrofit will impact our bottom line. Versus traditional preventative maintenance, proactive strategies:

  • Save about 30-40% in maintenance costs by reducing emergency repairs
  • Drive down tenant complaints almost 50%
  • Increase energy savings 20-25%

HVAC sustainability is not always in how much energy you save. It’s about understanding equipment costs and driving maintenance and energy efficiency based on impact to the bottom line. If we can forecast life-cycle costs, we understand how much it’s costing us to not replace equipment, or not repair a component, irregardless of technical understanding. Proactive management techniques will drastically improve your relationship with key financial stakeholders, as you turn the cost-impact of HVAC into an investment while reducing tenant calls and operating costs.

 

My name is Zach Denning and I’m the CEO and owner of EnerDapt, Inc. We’re an HVAC engineering firm that utilizes cloud-based technology to bridge the technical and financial gaps commonly found in HVAC management strategies. Our OCMS EnerVise platform keeps customers knowledgeable about their building from life-cycle costs to forecasted maintenance, upgrades, and equipment replacements.   You can reach me at [email protected] or visit our website at www.enerdapt.com

OCMS; Building Operating Cost Management

Your HVAC sustainability plan might not be sustainable

Evaluating risk in HVAC sustainability initiatives isn’t as simple as you think!

Ever wondered how to measure your sustainability initiative? What if your utilities don't show savings?

Ever wondered how to measure your sustainability initiative? What if your utilities don’t show savings? Could it be problems with your HVAC?

By: Zach Denning

 

Hiring an Energy Services Contractor or ESCO is typically the first step towards achieving your sustainability goals. In a commercial building they evaluate energy consumption and recommend potential upgrades with quantifiable payback – Often times leading to low-risk investments that drive the value of the property and guarantee savings – Well, at least for the first year.

In commercial buildings HVAC has historically consumed 50% of your utilities, or around $1-3.00 per square foot annually in energy costs, making it a prime target for savings. Owners and tenants typically invest $2-3.00 per square to drive down HVAC related costs under the impression of a 2-4 year payback – That’s $100-150k in a 50k sq. ft. building and almost $6k in estimated monthly savings! But do you know how those savings are broken down? Or were the lump sum savings and payback enough for you to make the investment?

A recent interview with asset managers regarding their sustainability initiatives revealed several inconsistencies with how they evaluated and approved their investments in utility savings. Reviewing initial contracts and line itemizing HVAC returns exposed that the majority of their savings centered around controllability of the equipment – Not high-cost replacements or upgrades. Although modifications to the existing building technology or “temperature cruise-control” yielded more than half of their estimated returns, it also came with the highest amount of neglected risk!

If I buy a brand new Toyota Camry that’s expected to get 35 mpg on the freeway and take away the cruise control I may be lucky to get 25 mpg on my way to work. Building automation, or your building’s “cruise-control,” is the leading cause of return impact and risk in sustainability projects. In our $150k investment above, nearly $40k of the annual savings are driven from the building automation. Breaking down the different building automation measures reveals that on average each measure makes up 7-10% of your total returns! So why would the technology be considered a risk?

Servicing HVAC and its related technology can be a challenge after implementing sustainability-based projects. Control of the HVAC equipment becomes complex. Incorporating more advanced algorithms to properly measure and control to the load in your building – No longer does the HVAC just turn on and off. The same way cruise-control in your car adjusts the throttle up and down to account for hills, HVAC ramps up and down to account for loads like weather and occupancy.

When servicing these newer, ASHRAE Title-24 and LEED based systems, technicians can find themselves overwhelmed and unable to decipher the new algorithms when challenged with solving an HVAC related issue. If a door consistently blows open the fix is not as simple as flipping a switch. Reverse engineering code to predict and repair a problem is often replaced with local, physical overrides or even worse software-lockout of routines – All leading to substantial, untraceable losses in your return.

Maintaining HVAC-related investments is much different than maintaining the actual equipment. Owners and tenants are beginning to realize that more advanced monitoring is necessary to ensure savings and forecast problems before they impact the bottom-line. Traditional preventative maintenance contracts in building technology and HVAC equipment are necessary, although their primary function is not to evaluate, forecast and repair problems as they relate to your investment. The shift to financial-based HVAC management is leading building owners to find more technological ways to measure equipment performance real-time, in order to forecast repairs and curb losses.

My name is Zach Denning and I’m the CEO and owner of EnerDapt, Inc. We’re an HVAC engineering firm that utilizes cloud-based technology to bridge the technical and financial gaps commonly found in HVAC management strategies. Our OCMS EnerVise platform keeps customers knowledgeable about their building from life-cycle costs to forecasted maintenance, upgrades, and equipment replacements.   You can reach me at [email protected] or visit our website at www.enerdapt.com

OCMS; Building Operating Cost Management

No-Cost Proactive Building Maintenance

How do you quantify the value of your HVAC maintenance?

By: Zach Denning

How do you substantiate your HVAC preventative maintenance? What tangible results does your preventative maintenance deliver? Building technology has evolved to help you understand your equipment life-cycle costs to forecast maintenance. Performance-based, proactive maintenance can cover the cost of traditional HVAC preventative maintenance contracts and generate revenue to invest in high-priority maintenance.

How do you substantiate your HVAC preventative maintenance? What tangible results does your preventative maintenance deliver? Building technology has evolved to help you understand your equipment life-cycle costs to forecast maintenance. Performance-based, proactive maintenance can cover the cost of traditional HVAC preventative maintenance contracts and generate revenue to invest in high-priority maintenance.

How many times have you signed away thousands of dollars on preventative maintenance contracts out of necessity? Sometimes it’s due to a manufacturer warranty, while other times it’s simply due to the age of the equipment. Yet, without preventative maintenance equipment operation falls into a great unknown void.

You’re not alone – 98% of all building owners and operators happily fall in line with scheduled preventative maintenance in their buildings. Compared to reactive or “last-minute” repairs, preventative maintenance has been shown to save 10-15% on equipment life-cycle costs by ensuring proper running condition – Not optimal, just proper. But has your PM contract provider ever quantified those savings? Would you have reduced the contract amount knowing your HVAC equipment wouldn’t have failed? What if there was a quantifiable way to regularly maintain equipment?

Although preventative maintenance is good for observing and ensuring proper equipment condition, it doesn’t account for real-time operation or forecasting. Even with preventative maintenance, HVAC systems often run with 25-30% efficiency losses; compounded with mechanical degradation from the increased “wear-and-tear” and your system may incur almost 50% excess operating expense. In a recent survey, only 40% of all preventative maintenance contracts included efficiency testing, of which only 15% generated actionable intelligence!

Proactive, performance-based maintenance introduces quantifiable savings and real-time forecasting to routine HVAC maintenance. Utilizing cloud-based platforms, proactive maintenance discovers and quantifies issues while tracking life-cycle costs – Amounting to increased HVAC awareness and better, financially driven decisions. Proactive maintenance can generate operational savings 15-30% over traditional preventative maintenance while decreasing tenant complaints 40-50% through intuitive problem detection.

Armed with these new platforms, contractors can now offer performance based routine maintenance (PM) contracts where everyone benefits from increased building savings – Rather than defaulting to a fixed upfront cost. Performance-based routine maintenance  allows building owners to free up annual budgets and invest savings in sustainability efforts and high priority maintenance.  Before you sign your next preventative maintenance contract ensure that you can substantiate the costs!

 

My name is Zach Denning and I’m the CEO and owner of EnerDapt, Inc. We’re an HVAC engineering firm that utilizes cloud-based technology to bridge the technical and financial gaps commonly found in HVAC management strategies. Our OCMS EnerVise platform keeps customers knowledgeable about their building from life-cycle costs to forecasted maintenance, upgrades, andequipment replacements.   You can reach me at [email protected] or visit our website at www.enerdapt.com

OCMS; Building Operating Cost Management

Building Analytics Debunked

Everything you should know about the next evolution of building technology!

By definition building analytics simply means data analysis. So how are companies using this to their advantage and what do you gain from the investment?

By: Zach Denning

Analytics – The next evolution of building technology. Analytics gives your building a voice. Analytics will save you a fortune on maintenance and operating costs. Analytics can find problems you never knew were there!

Most building owners and managers have heard these punchlines and understand that technology is sweeping though through the building management industry. After years of being over-shadowed by HVAC building technology is taking it’s turn in the spotlight. Much like the cell phone industry, building technology has matured with the emergence of open platforms and interchangeable hardware – Mimicking the rise of Google’s Android platform.

Much the same as Android and iOS, software now embodies new advancements in building technology with the likes of web-based applications and dashboards – Information at your fingertips! So what about analytics? What is analytics? By definition analytics just means data analysis, so how can it be advantageous for managing HVAC?

Let’s look at some common issues surrounding building analytics –

  • Building analytics will save me money on maintenance costs….
    • Analytics are designed to analyze building data and find patterns in equipment usage. Once HVAC equipment deviates from that pattern the system assumes that it’s an abnormality which leads to a proactive alarm – An alarm normally overlooked. Yet, it’s still up to the operator to understand the alarm and make an educated financial decision as to whether it should be repaired or ignored. Although predictive technology can help cut maintenance costs, in most cases it requires an astute level of knowledge to not become an overpriced nuisance!
  • There are many companies that provide analytics, how do I choose one?…
    • When pursuing a higher form of technology for your building think about the gaps in your current HVAC management strategy. Perhaps a software that can accomplish a new proactive maintenance strategy, help track equipment operating costs, or forecast maintenance and upgrades. Evaluate the holes in your business and ensure that the technology you invest in will help to reduce costs, decrease overhead, and help you focus on what matters in managing your building!
  • I want analytics in my building, but it has a long return on investment…
    • Most companies that provide analytics struggle with two things – How to price it and providing estimated returns. Historically, analytic platforms have been a high-priced addition to building technology due to heavy computing requirements and complicated setup. Newer companies are emerging with unique sales models that drive down the initial investment and are based more on subscription type services; Allowing for a quicker return on investment with the ability to opt out if users don’t perceive value. Investing in analytics should be a calculated, financial-based decision not one born from a hunch.
  • Analytics are advanced and use “machine learning” to alert me when equipment isn’t working efficiently..

    • Be careful of your assumptions when it comes to analytic platforms. Most companies tout the advanced capabilities of their platforms, but deliver a much more primitive solution. Deploying advanced statistical analysis or “machine learning” in a building can be extremely challenging for a company who’s core business is building automation or HVAC design – They’re drastically different! Improperly vetting analytic solutions typically leaves managers with a simplistic product that mirrors the capabilities of your existing building technology.
  • Finding and solving HVAC problems will be much easier with analytics…
    • 90% of all analytics deployments are designed to be interpreted by a technical resource. Evaluate how you were using existing building alarms to your advantage when considering an analytics upgrade. Did you dig deeper into the alarm to try and solve the issue, or did you simply ignore it? How many alarms do you currently have backlogged in your current building technology? How much deferred maintenance is in your next budget? If your looking to derive financial explanations for HVAC issues and life-cycle costs you may be more interested in investing in an Operating Cost Management Platform (OCMS). One that utilizes analytics to drive life-cycle cost awareness and delivers actionable, financial intelligence around HVAC issues.

Analytics can be a wonderful tool for the well-versed manager looking to make a technological leap in their HVAC management style. Yet, in most instances, the information these systems derive is highly technical in nature unless utilized in a broader, more financial-based platform like OCMS. If you want to make a leap in understanding how your building operates, start with building a list of issues you want to address – Reducing operating costs, tenant satisfaction, reduced overhead, etc. Ensure your next investment fulfills these voids in your current strategies to facilitate a successful venture.

My name is Zach Denning and I’m the CEO and owner of EnerDapt, Inc. We’re an HVAC engineering firm that utilizes cloud-baesd technology to bridge the technical and financial gaps commonly found in HVAC management strategies. Our OCMS EnerVise platform keeps customers knowledgeable about their building from life-cycle costs to forecasted maintenance, upgrades, andequipment replacements.   You can reach me at [email protected] or visit our website at www.enerdapt.com

OCMS; Building Operating Cost Management

Tapping Into Your Building’s Potential

When Cost Management Systems drive your financial decisions!

An OCMS platform sits on top of your existing building automation and HVAC equipment. By absorbing and analyzing existing data OCMS is capable of delivering actionable financial data to close the gap between technical HVAC knowledge and investments

By: Zach Denning

 

How many times have you been told that you need to upgrade your HVAC equipment? Or been informed your old building automation system is no longer supported. Many building owners and tenants find themselves in a peculiar place when it comes to antiquated HVAC components – Mainly how much they cost!

Should you invest in the new state of the art building automation? Can your old boiler hang on for a few more years? Financial validation of HVAC equipment replacements and upgrades continues to be a difficult process for building owners and tenants – Even consultants. What if your building automation had the answers? 

We’re told that building automation can save energy and help operational processes, yet it remains the most untapped financial resource in a building. Currently automation controls on average 35-40% of all energy consuming equipment in a building  – Everything from daily runtime to sophisticated temperature control. With all of this data your existing building automation can be made into a powerful financial tool – Without needing to be upgraded!

Operating Cost Management Systems (OCMS) overlay existing building automation systems and absorb the equipment data to analyze, predict, and quantify:

  • Maintenance Costs
  • Energy Costs
  • Total Cost of Runtime
  • Equipment Failures & Warnings
  • Equipment Replacement & Upgrades
  • Much more…..

Most IP-capable building automation systems absorb and archive thousands of points, only to be used in a state of emergency. OCMS constantly monitors and analyzes these same points in order to curb emergencies through proactive, action-driven information. Proactive energy and maintenance strategies have proven to reduce overall operating costs of buildings 8-16% – That’s nearly $1-2.00/sq. ft. in annual reduction for the average commercial building!

Before committing to your next HVAC overhaul analyze your current system to see what analysis it is capable of delivering. When you choose to do your equipment upgrades OCMS gives you the intelligence necessary to insure your investment.

 

My name is Zach Denning and I’m the CEO and owner of EnerDapt, Inc. We’re an HVAC engineering firm that utilizes cloud-baesd technology to bridge the technical and financial gaps commonly found in HVAC management strategies. Our OCMS EnerVise platform keeps customers knowledgeable about their building from life-cycle costs to forecasted maintenance, upgrades, andequipment replacements.   You can reach me at [email protected] or visit our website at www.enerdapt.com

OCMS; Building Operating Cost Management