Getting Green Benefits Fast: Advice From Experts On Sustainable CRE At NAR Annual 2011


At yesterday’s NAR 2011 Annual session “Underwriting Sustainable Commercial Properties” an important set of facts came to light about how green building operations affects financial performance.  The bottom-line impact of green and sustainable operations are undeniably huge.  Green isn’t something you’d like to get around to, green is something that makes you lots of money.   But how can stakeholders – owners, brokers, investors, end-users – quickly get benefit? If someone is just waking up to the gigantic savings, heightened NOI, and changing regulatory reality, what’s the first and best thing to address?

“Lighting,” said Bill Conley, the panel’s operations expert.  Bill is CFM, CFMJ, LEED AP, IFMA Fellow, owner/CSO of CFM2, a Facility Management & Sustainability Consulting
company based in Orange County, Calif.  “Even if you’re in a brand new building, review your lighting.    Your contractor might have put [one generation old] lights in.”

Are the changes in green tech coming so fast that one generation of lights makes a huge difference?  Could it really be worth it to update fixtures in a brand new building to fixtures that hit the market just months ago?  Bill says absolutely.

By updating the fixture models “you can save 15% of your energy.   You should also review your hallway lighting – you  often  remove lamps in corridor fixtures without harming light coverage.

Bill continued into the automation and occupancy sensor technologies now easily available and installable.  They apply to lighting, but also to wall power. “Are lights turning off when you leave a room?  Offices are occupied 35% of the time on average, make sure that’s reflecting in your operations schedules. Also,  wall plug load is pulling more energy, 27% of energy used in a  building on average.  So HVAC, lighting and plug load are about even.  You can address plug load by installing  smart power strips that have occupancy sensors.  The strip  will turn everything  — except a computer CPU – off after 15 minutes of absence.”

In order of bang for the buck: 1. lighting  2. review the building operations schedule  3. are people leaving things on all night?  These are the easiest fixes delivering the most savings the fastest.

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