Posts Tagged ‘HVAC’

MSCA Musings: Following Up After the Conference

October 27th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Guest post by Jim Crowder, BuildingAdvice CEO, as excerpted from last week’s Building Monitor e-newsletter. If you would like to receive the Building Monitor in the future, you can sign up here.

We just returned from the Annual MSCA Educational Conference in beautiful Colorado Springs. It was a well organized event chock full of useful sessions that will help members improve their performance.

It also marked the passing of the Association leadership torch from Thom Brazel, Hill York, to Woody Woodall, W.L. Gary Company.

Thom helped drive association awareness of the opportunity energy services provides the HVAC industry. Under his leadership, and with the support of Barb Dolim’s MSCA staff, Thom helped create a new vision for the MSCA GreenSTAR program that will help members incorporate energy solutions into their core service offerings. Not only is the association planning to provide tools, but they are developing an impressive training program to educate members.

We at BuildingAdvice applaud Thom and the rest of the association for providing the leadership the industry needs to make commercial building owners and operators aware of how valuable HVACs can be in helping to eliminate energy waste in commercial buildings.

No industry is better positioned to provide these types of services to commercial buildings. Energy expenses represent 30% of the controllable operating cost of a building. HVAC and lighting combined typically constitute about 75% of the total energy spend.

BuildingAdvice CEO Jim Crowder

So, who can deliver real, measurable value to building owners? It’s not the janitors or the elevator guys! We look forward to working with Woody, Barb and the rest of the MSCA team as they move into this lucrative field.

Building Advisor’s Note: Have you seen the MSCA’s new YouTube channel? Check out their first video below.

Energy Efficiency News Roundup – Who Says September Means an HVAC Slowdown?

September 14th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

From Energy Efficiency News‘Green’ Empire State Building strikes gold. New York City’s iconic Empire State Building has gone from ENERGY STAR Certification over the last two years to LEED Gold certification. Its $550 million investment in green refurbishment will be paid back through energy savings alone in around three years.

The retrofit of the building by Johnson Controls and Jones Lang LaSalle promises to reduce its energy consumption by more than 38% and save $4.4 million in energy costs a year. The 2.85 million square foot building is one of very few ‘national historic landmarks’ to earn the certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The 80-year old building is not as old as the Jackson County Courthouse, which earned its ENERGY STAR Certification with the services of McElroy’s, Inc. in Northeastern Kansas. Look for another historical building case study from McElroy’s, another BuildingAdvice partner, coming soon.

Great news! Energy Star now available for new multifamily high-rise buildings, according to Contractor Magazine. Do you know your building types? Multifamily is actually a commercial building type, even though its use is residential.

“Expanding the Energy Star eligibility to such properties will not only help EPA strengthen energy-efficiency initiatives across the nation, which save money and help protect the environment, but also provide property owners the opportunity to increase the asset value and offer tenants comfortable homes,” the article states.

Are you an HVAC who’s glued to your smartphone? From Maple Grove, MN, comes a free app for iPhone, iPad and and Windows-based smartphones. Singh360, a full service facility management consulting firm focused on energy solutions, recently released the app for refrigeration and HVAC engineers. These applications calculate “Pressure-Temperature” for various refrigerants (such as R404A, R22, Propane, Ammonia, Carbon-di-oxide etc.) typically used in commercial and supermarket facilities.

The app is available through the iTunes store and on the company’s website at

Images courtesy

HVAC Technology and the Online Water Cooler

June 16th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Our friends at Software Advice have a great post up, Cut Apartment Energy Costs with Energy Monitoring Systems, which takes a look at how energy monitoring scales to the multifamily (apartment) building type. multifamily building

Though it smells like residential, multifamily is, of course, actually a commercial property type. When a multifamily owner wants to look at energy monitoring products, would s/he go for a whole building assessment through BuildingAdvice, or look into residential monitoring products like Google’s Powermeter or free Microsoft web application Hohm for each user? You tell us; that’s what blogs are for.

While Contracting Business columnist Vicki LaPlant touts the importance of social media, and commercial contractors are taking their rooftop service unit and replacement businesses to Facebook, The Building Advisor asks you to remember one thing: in the beginning, there were online bulletin boards.

hvac talk, a forum for online discussion hosted by Contracting Business that is by its own account, “a vibrant, active online community that connects HVAC professionals with a focus on the contracting marketplace.” If you, like me, dear reader, have your doubts about how many HVAC service contractors engage with social media and blogs, look no further. The new member introduction page has over 3,000 posts, the “Job Discussion” page is hopping of course, and just about all of the discussion pages have been commented on TODAY. Is this where all of our potential blog commenters are? Are online forums more suitable to the type of communication HVAC contractors are looking for? And why?

And while we’re on the topic of technology in the HVAC industry, you’ll notice the web video revolution sweeping our favorite publications. HPAC Engineering has a series on it’s front page, including this segment on Electro Static Technology on Shaft VFDs. Enjoy.

Images courtesy, HVAC-TalkHPAC Engineering.

Webinar on Demand, New York’s Energy Movement

June 9th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

First off, some eye candy! Did you know you can access Part 3 of BuildingAdvice’s How-To Webinar Series – Sales and Marketing Best Practices – at the Energy Services Resource Library?

coned energy efficiency summit new yorkThe New York Times (via Greenwire) reported on a sea change for existing NYC buildings in this week’s story, Skyscraper Owners Learn ABCs of LEDs in Push to Save Energy. Sparked by the Con Edison Energy Efficiency Summit, the event is indicative of what Greenwire called “an energy-efficiency movement that is transforming the city’s real estate market.” Quote:

The City Council is still considering a slew of recommendations offered last year by the Green Codes Task Force, a temporary alliance of building professionals charged by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) to find ways to use building codes to force reductions in electricity use. But experts say the “green retrofitting” industry here is taking on a life of its own, independent of the expectations of the Bloomberg administration. – The New York Times via Greenwire

Additional factors cited for added emphasis on energy efficiency in the Big Apple:

  • Falling commercial rents in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis forced building owners to scramble for ways to reduce costs, and cutting energy use was at the top of many to-do lists.
  • The city’s buildings and their equipment are aging and due for refurbishment or replacement.
  • Commercial real estate transactions are down, so property companies are holding their buildings longer than at other times, encouraging them to make them more efficient.

Moreover, real estate professionals are discovering that energy efficient buildings command demand and better rents. And you don’t have to be LEED anymore to garner attention; insiders say the most influential projects do not carry the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) seal.

Perhaps the article’s nitty gritty was spoken by Michael Waite, a senior staffer at the engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. who emphasized the need to spell out the cost-benefit equation to building owners.

“To make an investment, an owner wants proven technologies and some idea of the return on investment,” Waite said. “The lack of confidence in some measures is understandable — there is an investment required, the energy performance prediction tools are imperfect and every building responds differently.”

Another reason to get behind the scientific data collection, analyzation and reporting provided by BuildingAdvice. This “movement” – however exciting – is really a sign of the times resulting from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)’s energy efficiency incentive program enacted last year, as well as new statewide energy efficiency standards. The article has more on New York’s energy rebates, as well.

davinci middle school first LEED classroom

A skylight in the Evans – Harvard High Performance Classroom at the da Vinici Arts Middle School in Portland, Ore. was recently awarded LEED platinum certification – the first K-12 public school building to achieve this level of certification.

Right here in BuildingAdvice’s back yard, Ameresco announced multiple energy efficiency contracts with regional school districts including Portland Public Schools. The energy efficiency and renewable energy company announced it would conduct Investment Grade Audits under a new phase of a budget-neutral Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) with the district.

Nonsequitur: did you know the NEWS has its own LinkedIn Group? Your fave NEWSer editors Mike Murphy (get to know him better at his video blog Murphy’s Travels), Barb Checket-Hanks, and others are there.

If you don’t already know, has a handy Tip of the Day in text and audio format which is quick and informative. You might want to sign up for the RSS to get these tips delivered straight into your email. “Energy Model Can Improve HVAC System Energy Efficiency” caught our ear/eye recently.'s tip of the day

Non-non-sequitur (is that a sequitur?) if you listen to the soundbite at the above link: submetering: what do you think? Does it affect your business? How are you using it? If you could submeter your chiller plant, would you? Did anyone notice The Building Advisor put Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. and Prince into the same post? That’s how we roll.

Images courtesy Rethink Energy and Design, a blog from Better Bricks, Ameresco,

Energy Papers for HVAC Contractors Cover Rebates, Myths

June 3rd, 2011 by Jim Crowder

exploiting rebates quarterly whitepaperThis week we posted some fresh, informative papers to the BuildingAdvice website. Both papers represent the first installments of a couple of series of papers covering topics we find HVAC contractors want the most information about.

The first series is Exploiting Rebates Quarterly, which explains how utility rebate programs work, what rebates are available in various states, and how to use energy service platforms to take advantage of them. The first paper, “Rebate Basics,” discusses leveraging rebates for a shorter payback with a competitive edge.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, Hosts of The Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters." Ok, we kind of want to be like them.

Another series of papers takes on common misconceptions about energy services. We’re calling it – with all due respect to our peeps at the Discovery Channel – our Mythbuster Bulletin Series, starting with Myth #1: “Energy Costs Can’t Be Controlled.” In it, we break down why costs can be controlled and discuss the most common causes of energy waste within a building.

It’s a prevalent belief that utilities represent either fixed or insignificant costs in building operation budgets, but that doesn’t make it true. In fact, energy costs can be controlled by optimizing building operations and controls. While there are opportunities to improve performance through retrofit projects, in the majority of buildings, the way that building equipment is being operated or programmed is often what wastes the greatest amount of money. The key to dispelling the myth is providing owners with measurement and hard data to quantify the waste and, ultimately, the savings that can be generated.

- Mythbuster Bulletin Series, “Energy Costs Can’t Be Controlled”

At our downloads page you’ll also find recaps of our latest, highly popular webinar series for your viewing (or re-viewing) pleasure: Part 1, Building A Winning Energy Services Team and Part 2, Targeting Your Existing Customer Base. Part 3 was webcast earlier this week and will be posted to the website soon.

dexter horton building in Seattle, mandatory benchmarking

The Dexter Horton Building, Seattle, Wash.

In other news this week, greentech enterprise ran a great article on mandatory energy benchmarking legislation, touched off by Seattle’s Dexter Horton building and the citywide enforcement of mandatory energy benchmarking and reporting for all commercial buildings over 10,000 square feet.

The article also links to a great energy efficiency information resource,, which hosts an online library of resources such as a document library with U.S. and global policy summaries, impact analyses, and rating systems and tools. As well as a neat blog.

And speaking of great energy-focused blogs like ourselves, be sure to check out the panoply of blog offerings through Energy Central. Did you know that you can even customize the Energy Central Professional Daily newsletter you get from Energy Central by logging on to the “personalization” tab at Just check and uncheck preferences to customize your newsletter to get the information most pertinent to you.

Images courtesy and

As Seen In Contractor Magazine…

November 30th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

Below is a  Building Advisor post adapted from the recent article on J.C. Cannistraro in

“Reports do not lie. Energy savings are truly available for most buildings.”

So says Bill Fleming, an HVAC Service Manager at the family-owned mechanical services company J.C. Cannistraro in Watertown, Mass, and so he’s proved it to be true.

The industry expert was quoted on the evolving opportunities for energy services in the HVAC industry by ACHR News last August in the article, “Energy Audits in HVAC.” [update: another energy services success story can be found in, here.]

As part of the 47-year old J.C. Cannistraro’s facilities services division, Cannistraro’s Building Energy Analysis service offering utilizes BuildingAdvice as a fundamental tool for assessing properties 5,000 to 20,000 square feet.

Cannistraro utilizes all three BuildingAdvice reports: Energy Benchmark, Energy Assessment, and Energy Audit.

When Cannistraro went looking for energy services tools to differentiate itself from the competition, BuildingAdvice was identified as the clear market leader by a corporate committee. Not only did it serve the small- to midsize niche well, it “was going where we wanted to go. I have the highest praise for the product,” Fleming says.

[BuildingAdvice] was going where we wanted to go. I have the highest praise for the product,” Fleming says.

Additionally, the sales and marketing training that are an integral part of the BuildingAdvice platform (highlighted here in ACHR News) were a draw. BuildingAdvice armed Fleming and his staff to show owners the energy savings they could access by utilizing BuildingAdvice’s diagnostic suite of services.

But while offering free energy benchmark reports attracted interest in Fleming’s service area, he has encountered resistance. “It isn’t always easy to obtain copies of necessary utility bills,” Fleming comments of building owners, managers and tenants.

Energy services by HVAC and mechanical contractors: it's all about differentiation.

Fleming points to the value of getting through to the right person.

“A savvy owner is looking at the longterm savings, not just someone who wants to wait until something breaks.”

One project in particular brought BuildingAdvice’s value home in September of 2009.

Longtime client Metro Realty Trust was “fairly receptive to the energy conversation,” says Fleming. A medical laboratory tenant occupying 20,000 square feet of a 55,000 square foot building was considering a move, partially due to its unavoidably high power usage and the costs associated. Metro Realty Trust knew that if it could lower the building’s energy costs, it would have a leg up on keeping the tenant.

Metro Realty Trust and Cannistraro saw eye to eye: improving the building’s performance would be good for the building’s profitability. Cannistraro did a free Energy Benchmark and formulated multiple-tenant utility information into a spreadsheet. Fleming showed Metro Realty Trust the damage: an EnergyStar score in the 30s (on a scale of 0 to 100, 100 is the most efficient).

The next step would prove to be a test of BuildingAdvice’s sales training. “Transitioning the client from a benchmark to an audit is the hardest part of the process,” said Fleming. “It all depends on the effectiveness of our presentation. How we present what we do is a key part of the process.”

By transferring the information into a separate template, Fleming presented a customized report in a format that worked for the client.

Based on the BuildingAdvice Energy Audit, Cannistraro proposed nearly $100,000 in retrofit and maintenance work for Metro Realty Trust.

In a few months, Metro Realty Trust had come up with the funds to complete the project.

“BuildingAdvice generated critical information to get the work done,” Fleming said. “It would have been difficult to justify without the information contained in the BuildingAdvice report.”

Right now, Fleming has two more audits pending – one for a hotel, the other for an office complex – and recently completed work that qualified for $8,700 in state rebates. Fleming estimates the client will save $15,000 per year in energy usage.

Images courtesy, J.C. Cannistraro, BuildingAdvice.

New BOMA Report Highlights Operating Cost Cuts

September 24th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

A new report from the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International and Kingsley Associates shows that commercial building owners and their property managers are focused on reducing operating expenses to stay competitive in today’s challenging marketplace.

The full report, which can be found here, shows some interesting trends. First, it shows an overall decrease in operating costs over the last year of 1.1% or $.09/square foot. And among the specific costs that are is the cost of energy – the utility bills. But, is this utility bill decrease due to rate changes, reduction in energy usage due to the recession, OR, have there actually been improvements in energy efficiency?  If you have a thought on this, we’d love to hear it – please comment on this blog.

Some of the other findings the report highlights:

  • Fixed expenses are increasing
  • Occupancy continues to decrease

Where I take one issue with the report is in the 4th recommendation in the sidebar on benchmarking. While it definitely makes sense to rebid service contracts, the wording seems to guide property owners and managers to bid on price alone. If what you’re trying to achieve is overall cost savings, instead what you should be bidding on is who delivers the best value.  Let’s take HVAC. One HVAC contractor is willing to cut their service agreement price by 10%, saving a building, let’s say $2,000.  Another HVAC contractor’s service agreement price is $2,000 more BUT because this contractor focuses their service on making energy-saving improvements and they can cut the electric bill by 20% (VERY doable) they might save that building $10,000.  Wouldn’t you rather save $10k than $2k?  Don’t look at price alone.  That’s a lose-lose for the building and the contractor.

One of the most encouraging aspects of the BOMA-Kingsley report is the sidebar saying that the focus on energy savings is here to stay. Brenna Walraven, managing director of national property management, USAA Real Estate Company, says, “With respect to energy, and to a lesser extent water and trash/recycling, the increased focus on compressing utilities expenses is definitely a continuing trend and is part of a permanent shift in our industry to achieve more sustainable and high-performance operations.”  Now that’s what we’re talking about!

LinkedIn HVAC Professionals Group Abuzz With Discussion, “Are there published survey results on HVAC professionals and social media?”

September 8th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

Does this man look like he wants to read a blog?

BuildingAdvice’s public relations professional asked the above question 13 days ago, and the comments haven’t stopped yet.

So far, responses are disparate but engaged, even passionate. Not about the published survey results part – that’s a pretty resounding ‘No.’

But on the idea of whether social media reaches the HVAC industry, experts are hedging their bets. HVAC pros may be “too busy outdoors,” working too many long hours to feel the need to catch up on industry news online when they get free.

Christine Cavaliero, CT Marketing Consultant / Specialty Internet Marketing wrote,

“…what I’ve observed with HVAC companies – traditional marketing is king. Social Marketing requires too much time for the average HVAC company with a single office.”

Aviv Scheinman, Business Development Manager at ADAR-Airtech in Israel, seconded that emotion: HVAC pros don’t use social media because “their customers aren’t motivated to look for their services there.”

Good point. Are there building owners and managers looking for HVAC chatter on social media, like Yelpers talk restaurants or retail? If so, The Building Advisor hasn’t seen it.

Here’s what some folks are having success with:

  • Newsletters – Like, The Building Monitor per se. Are you signed up?
  • Videos on YouTube – Eric Stromquist of Stromquist & Co in Atlanta, GA has had success with putting industry news out on Twitter and posting troubleshooting videos for their products to YouTube. However, one thing to watch for is companies banning employee access to YouTube. You may need to send your video on a DVD or jumpdrive instead.
  • Faxing – Jon Mendelson, Director Inside Sales at Elgen Manufacturing Company, INC sends 3,000 faxes every Monday
  • John Iwanski, Director of Publishing at RSES stands by the power of reader service cards and business reply cards.

Other interesting thoughts:

Snakes on a Trane, get it? Blame hvac talk...

“We’re trying to find ways to expand the use of our e-Learning programs for service techs, as well as share more about the NATE-examination prep offerings we have.”

- John Iwanski, Director of Publishing at RSES

“…we just released a video of our new facility and WOW it established us as players. I sent it to my customers and hot prospects and the phone rang off the hook for a few days. As a manufacture we have toyed with videos and actually giving away cheap mp3 players to run the videos and the idea was and is well received.”

- Jon Mendelson, Director Inside Sales at Elgen Manufacturing Company, INC

“How many of you thought Yelp or Angie’s list was a fad? IMO these two sites have taken over what the BBB use to do.”

- Christine Loughman, General Manager at Kappl Heating & Air Conditioning

Join the discussion at the LinkedIn HVAC Professionals Group.

Images courtesy Just Venting and

Energy Efficiency Tips Abound On BOMA LinkedIn Group

August 20th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

A month ago,Chris H., Assistant Global Energy Solutions Manager at Solutia Inc., posted “Five Overlooked Building Improvements with Quick ROI that Increase Energy Efficiency” to

In it, he touches on a variety of utility-saving solutions, the most pertinent to The Building Advisor being number 3, Energy Management Systems.

He writes,

Greg Galusha MacDonald Miller Bellevue, WA

Greg Galusha of MacDonald Miller in Bellevue, WA

“An energy management system consists of a combination of building management systems and advanced software solutions that work together to control a building’s HVAC operations…The system ensures optimal energy usage, resulting in greater efficiency and lower utility costs.”

He then posted the post to the Building Owners and Managers (BOMA) International LinkedIn Group under the question header, “How can you increase energy efficiency and reduce utilities?”

To date, there have been 56 comments.

Some of them have been from blog spotlightees before, like Greg Galusha of MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions (“MacDonald-Miller Finds BuildingAdvice Perfect Fit for Energy Efficiency in Small to Midsize Buildings“) and Zack Buquet, one of our own here at BuildingAdvice and a Building Advisor contributor.

The long and the short of it is this: talk of replacing HVAC units, building envelopes, window film, demand response, lighting, and reflective insulators, elevator motor “soft starters.” From the short and sweet to vociferously verbose, there is no shortage of ideas out there on how to save dough on energy. We just need to DO it.

Great comments from Gary Markowitz, President, Kilojolts Consulting Group, Inc. & KCG Energy LLC. Gary touches on culture – shifting the mindset of a company toward energy efficiency as a priority. Julius Walcyznski at Canada’s Pulse Energy has some great things to say as well regarding occupant engagement.

Zack Buquet, Energy Services Business Consultant

Zack Buquet, Energy Services Business Consultant at BuildingAdvice

But here at BuildingAdvice, we’re looking at the causes of energy waste in buildings, and work with HVAC contractors to attack the problem. Those contractors in turn work directly with the building owners and managers BOMA serves, the decisionmakers behind energy efficiency decisions. Until those owners and managers recognize that they are throwing money away unnecessarily, the building’s occupant engagement can’t happen.

BOMA’s LinkedIn discussion also contains quite a bit of chatter around energy benchmarking, assessments and audits; it’s great to hear these words being used with knowledge, even if it is within a fairly specific community.

Mike Zimmerman, CEO of BuildingIQ in Sydney, Australia, wrote:

Mike Zimmerman, CEO of BuildingIQ

“…Energy Reporting systems such as Lucid Designs provides energy-use metrics from meters and the BMS [Building Management System?]. There are also now Energy Optimization technologies that supervise how the BMS runs and and make the building much more intelligent. Our system, called BuildingIQ…is a Predictive Energy Optimization system that incorporates energy prices, weather forecasts and ASHRAE comfort models to optimize energy use, cost and comfort. This type of proactive system that interacts with the BMS can save 10-20% of total building energy and is paid for on a subscription basis…”

Throughout the conversation, claims of savings between 10-30% on utility bills are made.

Where do you think a realistic savings percentage average from the use of energy management systems looks like?

And is this savings driven more by occupants or building systems?

Drop us a comment!

Pursuing a Property Portfolio in San Francisco: Marina Differentiates and Wins

August 19th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

Shell Ridge Property Management Co., Inc. maintains approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial space in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 1980, Shell Ridge has specialized in asset management strategies for small medical offices. Its 15 buildings range from 40,000 to 100,000 square feet.

marina mechanicalShell Ridge’s medical office properties represent a desirable portfolio for mechanical contractors. Marina Mechanical, a 50-year-old company headquartered in San Leandro, Calif., began maintenance for a Pleasanton, Calif. Shell Ridge property five years ago. In the ensuing years of service, energy conservation was rarely discussed.

But when Marina began feeling heat from its competitors in the middle of a down market, it turned to its best customers to expand relationships.

Marina had obtained training on the BuildingAdvice energy services diagnostic platform in November of 2009, and began the process of leveraging its action-oriented reports as a differentiator.

Gamechanging Energy Services Offering

“We offered to show both the property manager and owner at Shell Ridge, some sample energy benchmarking and assessment reports,” says Denny Mann, Vice President of Service with Marina Mechanical, when explaining how he got the energy conversation started. “The property manager was actually very educated on energy benchmarking, and as a result, very interested. Once she saw the type of information the BuildingAdvice reports gave, she was extremely interested.”

“BuildingAdvice differentiated Marina from other mechanical contractors waiting to get their foot in the door,” says Denny.

Denny offered to do complimentary energy assessments on two Shell Ridge buildings. Shell Ridge has several buildings where Peak Day Pricing, a program of local utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), would come into play.

Peak Day Pricing (PDP) is PG&E’s demand response program, which acts as an incentive for business owners to curtail their facility’s energy use during times of peak usage. During the summer, PDP substantially raises energy prices on “event days” (above 98 degrees); businesses have a 24 hour notice when there will be an event to lower their energy usage for that day.  By charging a very high rate on event days, PG&E motivates customers to invest in strategies that will lower their consumption overall, and especially on the peak days.

Peak day pricing is specialized to the PGE territory, but not a unique phenomenon.

“Peak day pricing is definitely acting as a market stimulator for energy services and spurs client interest,” Denny said. “I think soon people will be lined up to get involved with energy reduction conversations.”

Taking Action

In going over the results of the assessment reports, conversations began about what Marina could do to help Shell Ridge avoid demand charges across the company’s property portfolio.

Which led to a second meeting with the owner, and an agreement to generate Energy Benchmarking Reports on all of the Shell Ridge properties to determine Energy Star scores.

“BuildingAdvice reports marked our transition from just being their mechanical contractor to forming a partnership. It completely transformed the relationship,” says Denny.

With portfolio-wide benchmarks on the docket, Marina took recommendations from the first two properties’ energy assessments to Shell Ridge ownership.

“BuildingAdvice helped us identify that the building was running when it didn’t need to be,” said Denny. Supply and reset strategies were created, so that the building was not not pouring 55 degree air into the interior when clients were not there, all of which were identified in the report.

Two low- and no-cost recommendations were approved and completed April of this year. Shell Ridge made the decision to complete the service based on the return on investment outlined in BuildingAdvice’s Energy Assessment Report. In addition to revisions to lighting and HVAC schedules based on peak day pricing, the report showed a seven-year payback on a demand control vent.

“We’re letting those changes take effect,” said Denny. After a 12-month period, savings achieved will be tabulated.

Next Steps and the Advent of Mandatory Energy Disclosure

As of late June, Marina wrapped up the energy benchmarking process on all of the Shell Ridge portfolio. Based on buildings’ Energy Star scores, Marina will make recommendations on which properties need energy assessments.

Looking ahead, the mandates of California’s Assembly Bill 1103 (AB 1103) state that non-residential business owners or their agents are required to input energy consumption and other building data into the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager system, which generates an energy efficiency rating for the building.

As of January 1, 2010, AB 1103 mandated disclosure of a building’s energy data and rating of the previous year to prospective buyers and lessees of the entire building or lenders financing the entire building. That deadline has since been pushed back, and the task of devising a disclosure schedule has fallen to the California Energy Commission (CEC). The CEC is in the process of drafting a new compliance schedule; January 1, 2011 is speculated to be the new required disclosure date.

New York City, Washington DC and other regions have adopted similar required energy data disclosure. Smart owners and managers are on the move to meet deadlines.

Net Impact

The ability to offer energy services differentiates providers. Marina knew a competitor was making an aggressive play for service agreements in Shell Ridge’s multiple locations. Yet, in the same timeframe Marina stayed in discussions with Shell Ridge by centering their meetings around energy services through BuildingAdvice.

“After going through BuildingAdvice training, we quickly realized that being able to offer our customers a systematic, low-cost / no-cost approach to reducing their energy consumption would change the way we were viewed.”

BuildingAdvice has “helped us retain current business and significantly raised the bar on the services we offer.”