Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Dialing for Dollars

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Dialing for Dollars

Article excerpt

Controlling thermostats and temperatures produces low-cost energy savings

JUST A SINGLE DEGREE CHANGE CAN SHARPLY AFFECT THE AMOUNT OF ENERGY YOU USE and the dollars you spend. Your buildings can experience energy savings between 2 to 4 percent, per degree by which set temperature points are raised or lowered during the cooling and heating seasons, respectively, (depending on location, equipment efficiencies and other factors).

Throughout the real estate industry, a very narrow range around 72 degrees Fahrenheit is typically the standard set point in both summer and winter. In practice, optimal temperatures vary, based on geographic locations, personal preferences, and even clothing styles. During the summer in Miami, for example, you may be able to raise your set point temperature as high as 76 degrees because tenants will be dressed for the hot weather outside. In colder climates Chicago in the winter - you may be able to set the temperature at 68 degrees since tenants will bundle up against the snow and wind.

Experiment with adjusting set points one degree at a time, but remember, you won't please everyone. Aim for the set point that makes the majority of tenants comfortable and achieves energy management goals.

Be sure to lock or remove thermostats in publicly accessible spaces to prevent unauthorized adjustments. Evidence shows if the chief engineer controls the temperature, overall energy performance and tenant satisfaction will be greater than if tenants make frequent adjustments. Energy costs can be all over the map in the latter case and systems will work harder increasing wear and tear. If you do allow tenants to control thermostats, reset them to the optimal set point each night so tenants' overrides are only temporary.

Another good practice is to calibrate thermostats periodically, ensuring that they are measuring the true temperature. The U.S. …

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