Energy efficiency is a growing part of Facility Manager responsibilities

Climate change and pressures to cut costs by shareholders have created a push for energy efficiency in organizations across the world. In North America, as the need to manage utilities are rising, so are Facility Manager responsibilities.

Meeting internal targets or goals around energy efficiency seems daunting at first, especially when balancing day-to-day Facility Manager duties. However, when it comes to energy management, your landlord is a valuable ally. Whether you have a gross, modified gross or a net lease, you can find benefits through a partnership.

Partner with your property management firm to share resources

Don’t work alone – partner with Property Management

These resources include time, experience and financial support

Property management and tenants are moving to more symbiotic relationships, where win-wins can be created. This comes as a result of changing preferences within the workplace. In addition, property management firms are increasingly required to report on sustainability metrics.

Property management will also have more leverage with a vendor or maybe more experience in a specific type of project. Be sure to use this clout or knowledge to your advantage. In some cases, PMs will even put dollars behind Facility Manager led initiatives. Understanding how to their goals align with yours can save you time and money.

Property Managers have targets to meet too

Property Managers (PMs) have energy or sustainability targets that are increasingly similar to yours. Regardless of cost savings, the overall GHG emissions of the building can be reduced through a tenant partnership.

Depending on your building, efforts led in your workspace have the potential to impact the whole building. Your Property Manager knows this. Some HVAC systems are zoned across multiple floors and based on your operating hours, there could be opportunity for building wide savings. For example, reducing HVAC hours on weekends if no one is in the office is an easy energy saving measure. This means cost savings for you and GHG emission savings for the building in a net lease scenario. It could also mean savings for the building and other tenants.

They need your help

A tenant uses up to 40% of a commercial building’s energy, in some cases even more. As such, a building’s emissions are heavily influenced by tenant use. Accordingly, for PMs to meet their energy targets, cooperation is required. Sector specific requirements include the Global Real Estate Benchmarking Survey (GRESB). For property and asset managers, these types of industry benchmarks make them accountable for building performance.

This extra incentive will make your case for support stronger. Learn about a CBRE’s partnership with tenants in efforts to reduce energy consumption here.

Cities like New York. Chicago and San Francisco have implemented mandatory building energy benchmarking. As a result, the burden on buildings to manage energy is rising and this can’t be done effectively without buy in from Facility Management. Use this to your advantage when approaching your landlord and don’t be afraid to ask for support.

Sharing best practices

Meet with other Facility Mangers to share best practices

Collaborate with other Facility Managers in your building. Sharing best practices is one of the best ways to implement new programs.

Others have already gone through the trial and error process and have tested new technology. Similarly, you have your own unique advice to share. It’s important to bring groups of like-minded individuals together. When pursuing a common purpose, this is a recipe for success.

Partnerships can be created in a number of ways. For example, reach out to other Facility Mangers to set up a meeting. Pitch the idea to your Property Manager for their added support and recurring meetings. To PMs worth their salt, opening a discussion with tenants on energy management is a welcome opportunity.

Some Property Managers are even organizing Tenant Sustainability Council’s, made up of Facility Manager and CSR groups. Learn more about landlord-tenant partnerships around energy-efficiency from Energy Star case studies here.

Drive results with data

Good data drives energy efficiency

Work with your property manager to obtain your energy consumption data. As we move to increasingly connected and smart offices this will get easier. In the meantime, it’s important to push for real and granular data. This data allows a Facility Manager to drive decisions, as well as determine the right time to invest in energy efficiency upgrades.

Analysis of data allows you to identify the “low hanging fruit” (ex. HVAC example above). Additionally, energy use data proves the payback of projects such as lighting retrofits, by verifying savings. Not only does this highlight the value of your work, it backs up results with hard data for future projects.

Coordinated changes have a much larger impact

The potential for win-win opportunities are huge. Facility and property manager collaboration will make your life and job less hectic.

Remember, the time that you put into working with your property manager is an investment. It should be viewed as such so don’t expect a full buy in right away. Express your intent and commitment, as well as your time constraints. Large property management firms will have more resources and be more receptive.

Get involved at the build stage

work at the build stage to incorporate energy efficiency

If you’re lucky enough to be moving into new build, ensure that design features for energy efficiency are included. Move from basics like LED lighting to connectivity infrastructure for smart offices. This type of high level partnership is sure to make your job a little bit easier.