How can I save on energy costs for an apartment building?

In Property Management - Asked by John F. - Oct 1, 2008
Report Abuse
Answer this Question

Answer(s)

Gregory T.
Broker/Agent
San Francisco, CA

Depending on the size of the property, there are different steps you can take.
The most effective in my experience is replacing incandescent lighting in common areas with long life compact florescent lights. I originally made the change because I wanted a longer life bulb, so that our maintenance guys only had to go up and down the ladder once a year rather than once every few months.
Surprisingly, the energy savings was major. The bulbs paid for themselves in labor and energy savings right away.
The next best thing I've had good luck with is low flow shower heads and low flow toilets. Check with your local water utility, sometimes they offer rebates or free toilets if you make this change.
Swapping out the old toilets saved tons of water. Even if you don't change your toilets, you should inspect your apartments every now and then to look for things like drippy faucets and running toilets. These are things that tenants may never bother to report, but will cost you tons of money.
Personally, when it comes to income property, I tend to shy away from what I call "bleeding edge" or unproven green appliances. For example, tankless hot water heaters. When the technology is new, there are only a handful of people that can service them... and they will charge accordingly.
Stick to simple, proven, no nonsense energy savings items: Low flow water faucets, low flow toilets, eliminate incandescent lighting in common areas, and switch your laundry rooms to front loading high efficiency machines.

Oct 20, 2008
Report Abuse
Gregory T.
Broker/Agent
San Francisco, CA

Another huge savings can be in boilers. If you use a boiler to heat a building, you should look at how old your boiler is. When I took over managing a 130,000 sq foot building it had a 40 year old steam boiler providing heat with a monthly gas bill of $11,000/mo in the winter time. I bought a completely new boiler system, spent about $30,000 total and the gas bill is now $3,000/mo in the winter time.
New boilers are MAJORLY more efficient than very old units.

Oct 20, 2008
Report Abuse
Juan G.
Broker/Agent
Ontario, CA

As far as water costs go look into replacing grass with mulch and native plants (xeriscaping). It will be pricey upfront but over time will save you on water and weekly maintenance. They did this at a local elementary school where I live and they are saving alot of money.
I forget the name of the technology but if you have it coated white with a certain aditive it will reflect heat from the sun better instead of absorbing the heat. Do a google search for white roofs, to get a better start on that.

Oct 20, 2008
Report Abuse
Kunal B.
Property/Asset Manager
Carrollton, TX

Hey John,
I agree with Gregory and Juan. Also, you can save a lot of money by making sure your common area buildings are properly insulated. Keep a good eye on your sprinkler timings and run-off. Tankless water heaters are a great money saver and wont take up as much space (if your boilers are in the apts, then you gain a small storage area.) Also, if you have a laundry room, then commercial grade front loaders are a must. They use a lot less electricity and MUCH less water.
-Director
www.TheLotusFirm.com

Oct 22, 2008
Report Abuse
Wendell W.
Owner/Investor
Chesterfield, VA

John- as noted in some of the other answers there are many ways to save on energy costs. Give me a call and I will assist you in getting a no cost expense reduction survey by the experts. 804-437-2944.

Oct 25, 2008
Report Abuse
Rick P.
Owner/Investor
Chicago, IL

You may be able to save money by negotiating for a better energy rate from another gas provider in your area.
We just saved a drycleaner in Illinois $300 per month on their gas bill. Check out our website - we might be able to help you save some money on your building's energy costs. We shop around and negotiate for the best energy rates for your property. Our service is free. Call for a No Obligation free quote.
Rick
Commercial Energy Broker
Quazar Advanced Energy Solutions
(312) 924-1882 ext 2

Nov 11, 2008
Report Abuse

Welcome to Answers

LoopNet Answers is where the commercial real estate community shares what they know to help each other out. And it's all for free.

Ask a question to get advice from brokers, investors, professionals and local experts.

Answer questions to raise your visibility as a trusted advisor and build new relationships.

Ask a Question

Post Question