When it comes to managing a commercial or retail property today, the energy management of the property can be a very big issue. Energy can take up a very large percentage of the operational costs of the building.
There are two types of outgoings in a commercial or retail property. There are the ‘controllable outgoings’ and then there are the ‘uncontrollable outgoings’.
The ‘controllable outgoings’ are the ones that you can exercise some discretion and control over. You can make the choice about how you do something in the managed property and when it is done (if at all). Most repairs and maintenance activities are ‘controllable’, with only the breakdowns being something that you do not know much about and therefore you cannot plan for them. Even with breakdowns you have some cost control factors on the repair and the way it is done.
It is the ‘uncontrollable outgoings’ that can be a frustration for many a property manager or landlord. These outgoings are usually rates and taxes applicable to the property ownership.
So where does ‘energy’ sit with these categories. In the practical sense it is somewhere in the middle. You must have energy to operate the property, but you do have choices on how you use the energy.
Every year when you plan your property budget, you really should take a serious look at how you are running the building from an energy perspective. Can you save money? Can you recover more energy costs? Can you cut energy costs?
To help you handle these questions, it is good policy to get in your maintenance contractors that know the plant and equipment in the building. Ask them questions about the property today and how it can be changed to create savings. Some of that plant and equipment will be using huge amounts of energy. That will usually be in:
- Air conditioning
- Common area power
- Common area lighting
- Security systems
- Essential services
So what can you do here? Here are some ideas to help you.
- The operational cycles of plant and equipment can be changed to start and stop at different times. Normally the building will be operational between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday. In the case of a retail property you will have extended hours and weekends.
- Seasonal changes between summer and winter will allow the air conditioning to operate differently. Autumn and spring are usually the times to adjust the energy consumption and operational times of the air conditioning.
- The numbers of tenants in a property will impact energy requirements in common areas.
- Better plant and equipment will allow lower costs to operate the building.
- Lights and sensors will save money in lighting the common areas.
- Property use will vary the demands of tenants and customers.
- Energy can be purchased from suppliers at better rates. These should be investigated.
- Recovery of tenant power and common power should always be checked. Make sure that you are recovering all of your tenant power.
You can add to this list based on your property type and local climate. Look for energy savings; you will find some.