Eye on Efficiency

May 4, 2015

Do you know how much energy your properties use?

With energy disclosure laws already enacted in cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C., it’s likely that legislators will soon want to know the facts about your commercial buildings as well. In fact, experts predict that up to 10 more markets may pass energy efficiency laws within the next year.

Building owners affected by these laws must benchmark and disclose the energy efficiency of their properties. And, though the list of cities with standing regulations is short, energy policies now impact 84 percent of U.S. REITS.

Though the energy efficiency legislation may create added work in the onset, it does provide valuable information to commercial property owners. Those who monitor their properties’ compliance have more accurate information regarding the cost of occupancy as well as their property’s future valuation.

Dan Dokovic, a partner with Bamboo Equity Partners, is quick to point out that innovative property owners are already on top of efficiency standards. He states, “We welcome the recent changes in the law, as we see the value of energy efficiency in our properties.”

What are the best ways to prepare for future legislation, ensure compliance and gather valuable efficiency data? Start with these steps:

Review current policies

Check resources like the Institute for Market Transformation to see if you hold assets in jurisdictions with energy disclosure policies. Specifically, take note of the details on building size, type and configuration to see what properties may be affected, as well as the events that trigger disclosure.

It’s also a good plan to stay in touch with local politics and policies. By monitoring municipal requirements, you can often get a sense for what local laws may signal future commercial compliance issues for your portfolio.

Get a head start

You don’t have to wait for legislation to determine the efficiency levels of your properties and make improvements to meet standard benchmarks. Find your current efficiency information using the tool that all existing policies use: the Energy Star Portfolio Manager. This online tool uses the past year’s utility information to rank building efficiency on a scale of 1 to 100. In many cases, the process of gathering utility data for Energy Star can be the greatest challenge to compliance, so starting early can be a wise move – especially for those with multi-tenant properties.

Seek help

Though online tools and training are certainly helpful in ensuring efficiency compliance, seeking professional assistance is still recommended. Contracting a third party to obtain a score and manage the process of compliance can reduce uncertainty as well as liability. Professionals can assist in achieving benchmarks, or if you want a complete review of your assets, including efficiency improvements. The cost of such assistance varies depending on your needs.

The commercial property experts at Intelica provide the resources you need to effectively navigate efficiency legislation and manage your portfolio wisely. Contact us today.