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Down market upside: utility savings
When the real estate market is down, both building owners and property managers look for new ways to save money. A case in point: Aggregating electric loads to get a better electric rate.
While aggregation of loads is not new, this may be the first time a property management firm is offering it as a service for its clients, says David Flynn, senior vice president for management services for Grubb and Ellis, which is offering the service.
In New York City, John Poblocki, a regional senior vice president of Grubb and Ellis, orchestrated a deal for 15 building owners and 10 million square feet. After being dissatisfied with the response he got from four ESCOs, Poblocki turned to a Web auction site. With ESCOs bidding against each other for the contract, Poblocki was able save owners from $3 to $6 million over 18 months, getting kilowatt-hour rates of between 9.17 cents and 9.27 cents.
New York wasn’t the only area in which deals were struck. Flynn has overseen the roll out of the program in three other markets: Pittsburgh, Boston and Connecticut. Owners in all areas have seen savings on electric bills, he says.
But owners should be aware that aggregation may not always offer the best deal. Going with an aggregated load is the “low-risk way to find a better price, if you did nothing else,” says Lindsay Audin, CEO of EnergyWiz. Vendors often look at other characteristics of a load that could mean an individual owner could find a better deal.
Poblocki agrees. After first trying to secure the best deal he can for every individual client, he then takes a look at the load in terms of other loads in a group of clients. If it fits and an aggregated deal makes sense, he moves forward with it.
Library Unshelves Its Gothic Past
Originally constructed in 1948, the Eastern Illinois University library boasted Gothic architecture and cathedral-like details. Interior surfaces included limestone, sandstone, marble and glazed brick with decorative wood detail. A 1968 addition provided space for growth but abandoned the creative style that had characterized the original building.
As the library collections and the student body increased, the library became overcrowded and outdated. A recent 134,200-square-foot renovation by Holabird and Root has restored many of the original details, and a 12,800-square-foot addition provides much-needed space. While the firm’s work reflects the classic design of the library, it also provides modern amenities such as Category Six data ports at nearly every patron seat. A consistent palette of interior finishes maintains continuity between the existing structures and the addition.
REVIVING AN ENERGY BILL Congress will have to start over next session if it is to approve an energy bill that would grant facilities a $2.25-per-square-foot tax deduction to pay for energy efficiency improvements.
Many components of the bill, which died in conference committee last session, are expected to be reintroduced with little debate, says Washington attorney Jeffrey Genzer. Matters affecting facilities, including the deduction, had tentative agreement last session. Genzer expects most debate to center around opening federal lands to oil drilling and expanding federal authority over electricity markets.
ASHRAE UPDATE The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is moving forward on changes to standards on energy and indoor air quality. Changes include:
- Proposed addendum 62y to Standard 62-2001 on IAQ adds a new section that defines four classes of indoor air quality and limits the recirculation of lower-quality air into spaces that contain air of higher quality.
- Proposed addendum g to Standard 90.1-2001 on energy would bring lighting requirements into alignment with IESNA’s Lighting Handbook Ninth Edition and new research on fluorescent fixture light loss factors and space type characteristics.
NATURAL GAS PRICES UP? Natural gas price increases this winter could continue for the next four years.
Forecasts indicate prices could rise 25 percent as a result of increased demand and decreased supply. A shortfall in supplies to the U.S. market and expanded use of the commodity for electricity generation by utilities are to blame.