Supercharge Your Sustainability Efforts: Using Technology to Drive the Industry Forward


Solutions for Today

Buildings don’t necessarily need a full technology retrofit to reap benefits for their sustainability program.  There are some simple solutions that can enable significant savings; in fact, straightforward, easy-to-understand technologies may be the safest bet for most properties.  

Common-sense approaches that are enhanced by technology are more likely to be a good fit for most buildings.  Ultimately, technology should serve as an aid in your sustainability efforts.  To determine what is the best fit, property professionals should examine their current practices and consider where automation would benefit them the most.  This may be as simple as improving communications.  The majority of office workers carry smartphones with them, which can make communicating with them both easy and effective.  “We recently worked with a property on a sustainability initiative to encourage tenants to simply keep their blinds closed over the weekends,” recalls Ian O’Neil, president and chief executive officer of technology provider Electronic Tenant Solutions.  “The property messaged tenants on their smartphones using our communications apps on Friday afternoons to remind them of this initiative and make participation as easy as possible to remember.”  This straightforward solution resulted in more than $25,000 – more than 285,000 kilowatt-hours – in savings over just 14 Fridays.


Connecting with tenants directly can afford a variety of benefits. Using an automated system to submit and track work orders, for example, has the added advantage of offering a glimpse into what types of problems tend to arise most frequently and how long it takes until they are resolved.  If multiple tenants are complaining that the temperature is too hot at a certain time of day, it’s a good idea to check how the HVAC is operating.  However, O’Neil echoes the sentiments expressed by Kilroy Realty’s Neff: Too much data can be a dangerous thing.  “Data is a very powerful tool, but people can easily drown in data,” he explains.  “Start small and slowly expand by setting benchmarks you can perform against; use data to evaluate what you think you already know, because you might be surprised.  Figure out what questions you want answered before you start searching.”

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Reprinted with permission © Copyright 2017 Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International.  All rights reserved.