Building Tenants Have Surprising Amount of Energy Management Control

by | May 20, 2019

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(Photo Credit: Chuttersnap, Unsplash)

Tenants in commercial buildings have a surprising amount of control over energy management. Cedar Blazek, a fellow at the DOE’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), recently highlighted their extensive options.

Many tenant energy management best practices are available in tenant spaces, Blazek said at the Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference in Denver.

“You actually have a lot of control over your energy usage, even if you don’t own all the equipment in your building,” she said during a panel on sustainability innovation in tenant spaces. Best practices include:

  • Making sure that your programmable thermostat is set up
  • Restricting your HVAC hours
  • Prohibiting appliances like space heaters, vending machines, and private mini refrigerators
  • Cleaning air filters
  • Having regular equipment inspections
  • Arranging for an annual energy audit

One of the most interesting ways to restrict HVAC hours, Blazek said, is to implement daytime cleaning. “That way you don’t have to have your lighting and heating equipment on at night.” Commercial building tenants can also think about retro-commissioning, she added.

She was joined on the panel by Marta Schantz, SVP of the ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance and Chris Bowyer, director of building operations for the Alliance Center.

The panelists agreed that submeters are critical for providing data about the energy that people inside a building are consuming. The Alliance Center, a sustainability nonprofit with event and tenant space in a LEED Platinum-certified historic Denver building, is submetered by load type and floor.

To learn more about improving building performance from the tenant side, Blazek recommended the Institute for Market Transformation’s resource library. The Green Lease Library and Green Lease Lenders sites have additional details, including tenant case studies that show what was successful in their spaces.

Stay tuned for more updates from #ELEMCON19.

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