While there are a number of issues that make it to the top of the list of building managers’ and board members’ fiscal worries each year, the standout issue in recent years is energy costs. In light of rising fuel prices and increased demand for energy, it’s the fiduciary duty of all co-op and condo administrators to examine what cost-saving options are out there to reduce utility costs.
First and foremost, it’s important for everyone to get a clear picture of their building’s energy usage and learn what policies they might implement to help save them money. The most practical way to do this is by having an energy audit. You can also look into different billing plans that the utility companies offer, but these will all be covered in the audits.
Even before an audit is done, there are ways for buildings to make small changes on their own to help lower costs.
The prime areas for saving money are in the parts of your building where energy is used 24 hours a day. Stairwell lighting, hallway lighting, and generator room lighting are just a few examples of where energy-efficient bulbs can be used to trim energy usage and save money.
“Essentially, we look at the systems that the building has,” says Fred Ornstein, program manager for Con Ed Solutions. “In the incinerator room for example, [the lights] could be door-controlled or occupancy-controlled so that they only come on when someone is in there. This reduces the use of electricity, but still serves the need.”