Myths About Upfront Investments
Myth #1: Energy Efficiency is Expensive
When it comes to energy efficiency, low-hanging fruit is often overlooked. It is true that there are some major retrofits that will be expensive, but many options come with no capital investment whatsoever. And, if you do need a retrofit, your ROI will be able to counterbalance the upfront cost.
Myth #2: Energy Efficiency is Not Profitable
Energy efficiency is profitable, because it makes buildings more marketable due to increased tenant satisfaction. On average, green buildings have 13% higher rents than standard buildings, along with lower vacancy rates. The reason for these higher rents is because LEED Certified buildings are newer and have amenities that tenants are willing to pay for.
Myth #3: Energy Efficiency Takes Forever to Implement
Low-hanging fruit is quick to catch and take action on. The next step is metering your energy consumption, so you can make educated decisions for moving forward. Metering technologies have advanced to include web-enabled and wireless meters, making them quick and easy to implement in any building.
Myth #4: Energy Efficiency Does Not Guarantee Lower Utility Bills
If you reduce your energy consumption, you will have less expensive bills everymonth, and if you don’t, there is likely a problem with your billing system. The easiest way to lower bills is to unplug appliances at night and on the weekends, dim garage and stairway lights, and encourage tenants to engage in efficient practices.
Myths Concerning Your Tenants
Myth #5: Energy Efficiency Only Benefits Tenants
The beneficiaries of energy efficiency are often debated. A few months ago, there was a conversation on LinkedIn about why so few real estate owners are willing to invest in energy efficiency. The most common concern is that when building owners pay for efficiency upgrades, the tenants are the ones who keep the savings. Depending on your leasing structure, you may be able to split the costs with your tenants. Either way, they’ll have lower monthly bills. Even if all of the direct savings go to your tenants, you will have increased tenant satisfaction, tenants who want to stay in the building longer, and a more marketable building.
Myth #6: Energy Efficiency is Uncomfortable for Tenants
Believe it or not, best practices for energy efficiency will actually improve tenant comfort. When you have a well-controlled HVAC system and you’re taking advantage of economizers, tenants will be much happier knowing there is some control over the building’s temperature. Plus, if you have alerts telling you when something goes wrong, you will be able to fix the problem before tenants become uncomfortable.
Myths About Energy Consumption
Myth #7: Energy Efficiency is Only for New Buildings
It’s easy to confuse this myth, since there is such a strong emphasis on new buildings being green and sustainable. The attention on LEED Certified buildings puts extra emphasis on new buildings, but it is actually surprisingly easy for older buildings to become energy efficient. It is a worthwhile investment, and certainly not as expensive as you might expect.
Myth #8: Leaving Equipment Running is More Efficient Than Turning it On/Off
Oftentimes, people think it will waste more energy for them to turn their building off at night, because of the surge of consumption when starting the equipment up again in the morning. This is actually only true in extreme cases where it is especially hot or cold. It is sometimes justifiable to keep equipment running at night, such as for freeze protection, but otherwise keeping your building running is a much more expensive option than dropping to your baseload during unoccupied hours.
Myth #9: Energy Efficiency Can Wait Until Tomorrow
Every day you wait to take the first steps toward lowering your energy consumption is another day of energy wasted. You can use Energy Star’s Cash Flow Opportunity Calculator to identify when you’re going to start losing money by waiting for interest costs to go down. So, this year when you’re making New Years Resolutions, make sure energy efficiency is at the top of your priority list.