Five Signs You Need To Adopt Utility Management
Hello there property manager. Allow me to introduce myself - I'm your monthly utility bill. Have we met before? No? That's strange, because I know everyone over at the finance department. They keep talking about my increasing cost, not to mention the jump in cost three months ago. You didn't hear about that? Oh. I guess they just paid me and filed me away...again.
Your utility bills have a lot to tell you, if you take the time to listen. Does the above situation of simply paying bills and then filing them away happen at your organization? If so, you may be suffering from a data disconnect. Too often, building owners and managers with the greatest control over reducing their cost and improving efficiency lack the tools and information they need to reduce their costs and improve the efficiency of their portfolio.
If any of the following statements are true for you, it might be time to change your workflow:
1. You have no idea what your utility bills look like.
Sure, you may have a report of the total monthly expenditure on utilities for your entire portfolio, but this is truly a broad overview. You do not know if you were billed correctly at each property, or if one building is costing you significantly more than all of the others.
2. You can't name your worst performing building.
Your larger properties probably have higher utility spends, but how does their consumption compare on a normalized, per square foot basis to your smaller properties? You may be surprised by which buildings are actually your least efficient, but until you are proactive about managing your utilities, you're likely leaving money on the table that you could easily be saving by just making a few improvements in these inefficient buildings.
3. There's an upcoming benchmarking ordinance for your city and you haven't the slightest idea of how to begin.
Complying with benchmarking ordinances is easy if your buildings are in an utility management software. Some will even tackle the entire process for you (wink, wink). You can learn all about the various benchmarking ordinances in Nate's recently updated blog post.
4. Ring ring... Who's there? Another tenant with a too hot, too cold complaint?
Don't take these complaints lightly. Tenant complaints can lead to tenants moving out. Tenants moving out leads to new tenants moving in, which can run landlords $2,700 - $4,000 in lost rent, maintenance expenses, and other costs. You can learn more about steps to take to increase tenant comfort in Sean's blog post.
5. It's 30 degrees out and the windows of your building are open.
Is that money flying out the window? It may not literally be, but you are paying to heat that air. That increase in cost during the winter months could be reduced by using the insight you gain from your utility bills and a knowledge of where you get overheating complaints to begin to tackle your problem properties.
Don't wait until it's too late - start paying attention to your utility bills today! A wealth of knowledge is awaiting you in those filing cabinets.
Ready to take action and start saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in utility costs? Download our Water and Energy Management Primer to get started utility tracking and benchmarking at your organization.