Go green without breaking the bank

In today's extremely competitive commercial real estate world, marketable buildings need to live up to the new "green" standards that have been set while also meeting a tenant’s budget. New buildings take a lot of the glory when it comes to showcasing highly sustainable elements. But owners of existing buildings can implement new systems without taking a big bite out of the their pockets. Such systems include energy efficient HVAC, lighting and controls, and water solutions to make the space more sustainable, through an approach called energy savings performance contracting.

Energy saving performance contracting means working with a contractor to do a deep analysis of a building, updating systems for maximum energy efficiency, and maintaining the systems to make sure the energy savings pay back the cost of the efficiency overhaul.

This renovation formula makes sense in today's commercial building market because owners are holding onto their properties for longer periods of time than they have in the past and are now faced with big-ticket maintenance costs, as well as the market pressures for going green.

This approach has proven very successful in the public sector, which holds and operates facilities such as city halls, federal court buildings and public schools, where the model is based on long-term planning. By taking a bigger picture look at the life of a building and its systems, building owners and operators are able to better plan for upgrades that not only help the building perform in a more efficient manner, but also help to absorb the costs over a longer period of time.

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Tom Konicke is an Energy Operations Manager in McKinstry’s Portland office. He can be reached at 503-331-2476 or tomk@mckinstry.com.

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