We became involved in Energy Star® when one of our tenants was going through an energy certification process and wanted to begin benchmarking. They invited me to a meeting on benchmarking and I found it interesting and wanted to learn more about the process and how I might be able to operate our properties more efficiently.
Our largest client owns the building in which the tenant has its business. I was very interested in looking at capital improvement projects. In order to make those changes, I needed to understand what type of opportunities were available that could help me gain knowledge about energy, sustainability and benchmarking. I met with a few different folks from the City and, after meeting with Kirk Longstein, he invited me to be part of the Building Energy Scoring (BES) group.
There were several reasons I felt this was important. As a property manager, it’s important that we keep the property competitive in a leasing market. This means we must control all expenses, not only base rents, but also operating costs of the facilities. In our market, we typically use a triple net (NNN) formatted lease rate whereby the base rental rate and then all operating costs of the building are passed through to the tenants. Some of those costs are controllable and some are not. Although we can’t set our utility rates, we can influence and make decisions for efficiencies in the building systems.
While owning a building seems like something every successful business should do, that’s not always the case. For many companies, it makes more sense to continue leasing space, freeing up time and capital that can be better utilized in other ways.
Because the owner isn’t paying those expenses, it’s kind of out of sight, out of mind. We have a responsibility to educate owners about the need to invest in their building efficiency so they remain competitive, and attract and retain quality tenants.
I started with the BES group last fall and shortly began benchmarking for our properties at that time, so we’ve just begun to look at possible changes. As we move in to 2019, I’ll have a better idea of where I will recommend owners spend their money on efficiency upgrades, including lighting changes going to LED or integrating new HVAC equipment. There are also rebates that we can take advantage of with efficiency upgrades and I’ve learned a lot about what’s available for financial incentives and technical assistance.
The BES offers so much potential in terms of staying competitive as well as being a good steward of our energy.
For more information on Fort Collins Utilities’ Building Energy Scoring Program, visit fcgov.com/BES-feedback or contact Kirk Longstein by phone at 970-416-4325 or send an email to email@example.com.