As summer weather approaches, it becomes more important to consider the energy efficiency of the building as a whole. Condo owners are responsible for controlling energy expenditure in their own units, but it’s the property management company’s business to worry about the efficiency of the building as a whole.
Since the largest energy expenditure (an average of 35% of all energy consumed) is attributable to heating, cooling, and ventilation, that’s where property management companies should start. The proper maintenance of the HVAC system is of the utmost importance, and since most buildings cover heating and cooling costs for residents (who in turn pay monthly assessments), property managers can make a big difference in the operational budget of a building just by ensuring the system is running efficiently.
With older HVAC systems, a careful calculation has to be made about how the ongoing maintenance costs and the higher energy expenditures of an older model compare to the upfront cost of purchasing a new system. After a certain number a years, a clear tipping point is reached when replacing the HVAC system makes sense, even if the existing system is still strictly speaking “functional.”
Management of the common areas of the building can also play into the building’s overall energy efficiency. Heating and cooling areas with direct access to the outside can be a challenge because of the constant exchange of outside air. Double doors and rotating doors can help. Any common areas that aren’t used in the course of day-to-day (activity rooms, storage areas) should have motion-activated lights or light switches so they don’t have to be constantly kept on.
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