With all the commercial space available, tenants have the freedom to be picky about their office spaces. In order to stay competitive in the market, building owners and property managers must make a commitment to sustaining and improving their buildings constantly. One of the best ways to ensure tenant satisfaction is to make sure your current tenants are comfortable.
In the summer heat, keeping tenant spaces cool is a necessity. However, you don’t want to run up the electricity bill in your effort. Here are a few ways to keep tenant spaces cool without breaking the bank.
Avoid Natural Light (Unless Your Tenants Want to Get a Tan)
In all seriousness, natural light can actually hurt your attempts to keep office spaces comfortable. The sun’s light can be extremely hot, especially if you have tenants posted up near windows. By providing adequate window treatments to block out natural light, you can keep the building significantly cooler for a fraction of the cost of cooling an entire building.
Window treatments help keep the building cool by blocking out solar radiation, thereby reducing heat gain. Heat gain is the increase in temperature from solar radiation; you felt this the last time you were in the sun and could feel the heat physically making you hotter. By reducing the amount of heat gain your spaces have, the demand on your HVAC system to cool the building will be lower. Thus, you can save energy by allowing the building to be cooler without pumping out too much air.
According to the Department of Energy, window awnings can reduce heat gain by up to 77%. Meanwhile, interior blinds can reduce heat gain by 45%. If blinds are not your aesthetic, drapes can block out solar radiation by up to 33%, and can be even more effective by adhering the edges of the drapes to walls.
Increase Your Fan Count
As basic as this sounds, adding fans to your tenant and common spaces can drastically reduce your dependence on air conditioning units. They will actually use less energy than your HVAC. Fans will circulate the air in the office, providing a fresh, cool breeze while reducing the need to have such a low temperature setting on your thermostat. In order to actually save money, though, you will need to increase the temperature of your thermostat and turn on those fans.
Which gets me to the next point….
Turn Up! (That Thermostat Setting)
Contrary to popular belief, every building does not need to be icy cold throughout the day.
So, turn up that thermostat! Even though the office is not an icebox when you immediately enter, tenants will be comfortable in just a few minutes. From my experience, buildings are often air-conditioned below a point of comfort in the summer in the engineer’s efforts to keep the building cool. Relative to the hot outside air, your building will feel pleasant and comfortable even if the thermostat is set a few degrees higher than normal.
For every degree Fahrenheit you turn up the thermostat this summer, you will save 1-3% on your utility bill. This can result in significant savings on your electricity bill without your tenants noticing a big difference in the actual comfort of the space.
With these easy ways to make tenant spaces more comfortable while reducing your utility bills, you’ll make significant progress on your journey to be more energy efficient. Your electricity bills will thank you for these minor adjustments, and your tenants will be happier in your space.