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Reducing Operating Costs in a Commercial Property
Reducing Operating Costs
REDUCING OPERATING COSTS
IN A COMMERCIAL PROPERTY
Buildings are the largest energy consumer in the U.S., accounting for more than 40 percent of the nation’s total energy demand and greenhouse emissions. Nearly a third of that energy is wasted on average, which gives facility managers even more opportunities to update their property and decrease operating costs.
Flat roofs can make it especially difficult to manage rainwater. A roofing membrane helps prevent leaks because it can move water off the roof efficiently. Adding an economizer to the rooftop air handler can save on operating costs because it allows the HVAC system to shut off the compressor and bring in outside air to satisfy the cooling needs.
Inefficient windows can account for 25 percent of a building’s heating load in colder climates and 50 percent of the cooling load in warmer climates. New energy-efficient windows are expensive, but tinting the existing window glass with a low-E coating is a cost-effective way to minimize ultraviolet and infrared light that passes through the glass.
The lighting in common spaces must be constant at any time of the day. Replacing existing bulbs with LED lighting can save up to 75 percent on energy usage, plus LED bulbs are more durable, last longer and offer comparable or better light quality than other types of lighting.
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The building lobby sees the most foot traffic during a typical day, so the flooring material becomes even more important. Carpeting requires a high level of maintenance because it stains easily, whereas vinyl or concrete flooring has a harder, smoother surface that can be cleaned quicker. Vinyl and concrete flooring offer higher reflectivity, which lessens the demand for electricity.
Stairwells are critical for transporting people around your property, but these areas often consume more energy than necessary. Integrating occupancy sensors with existing lights ensures the lights turn on when someone is climbing the steps. They also save energy because the lights turn off automatically when the sensors do not detect any motion in the stairwell.
The basement presents unique challenges because of its location beneath the ground. Sealing every crack and crevice keeps the space dry and prevents the growth of mold, which can require costly remediation. When maintained properly, the basement affords property managers as well as tenants a space to store their items safely.
Visibility in the garage area should be a priority. Installing LED lighting helps ensure the safety of tenants and visitors because LED bulbs last longer and often provide better light quality than other types of lighting. Maintaining the garage and performing upkeep there regularly can help ward off deterioration and ensure the rest of the building foundation remains sound.
SOURCES: U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency