Analytics Important to Energy Efficiency Efforts

Low cost and no cost operational improvements geared toward energy efficiency will typically return 5 to 10 percent per year, if they are sustained, according to Phil Bomrad, president of Clean Urban Energy.

In a video interview with REIT.com at REITWorld 2011: NAREIT's Annual Convention For All Things REIT in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole hotel, Bomrad pointed out the various levels of sustainability along with their anticipated savings.

He said that projects such as retrofits of lighting and electrical systems have a big impact on energy and sustainability. Bomrad added that the operational savings in those types of projects can easily be calculated with some degree of accuracy.

Lighting, for example, will typically have an 18 to 24 month payback, he said.

"Then there's also your ongoing operational savings versus a one time retrofit project, those savings will typically be lower but will also be sustainable," he said.

It's important to remain committed to the sustainability program; according to Bomrad, who said that the savings is closely tied to how committed a company is in the long term to monitoring their operational changes and maintaining them.

There have also been advances that building owners can take advantage of to help them reduce energy in their building. Bomrad pointed out that a lot of emphasis recently has been placed on analytics as well as SAS-based (Software as a Service) models.

"So instead of making capital investments in big retrofit projects, people are looking more and more at how they can leverage what they have already got in place," he said.

This includes looking at the building's automation system, lighting control or meter technology. Then leveraging that data, and bringing it back to a central platform and doing some type of analytics on it, Bomrad said.

While a lot of the emphasis is placed on office buildings when discussing sustainability efforts, Bomrad said that other commercial real estate sectors, including retail, lodging and residential, all benefit.

"Everybody cares about a good payback and everybody needs to make a good investment and manager their bottom line," he said.