What is utility management and how can property managers reduce costs?
Answered August 29 2019
Utility management is understanding hoe various energy, waste, and water usage metrics impact your business. Measuring both your property’s and residents’ use of energy and being able to identify wastage or problems quickly can minimize costs. Finally, using quality, trackable, historic data to make changes that will save property managers time, energy, and money.
Significant Portion of Building’s Operations
Typically, utilities make up between 10 percent and 30 percent of a building’s operating budget, according to the National Apartment Association. Given that fact, utility management is a natural place to start when a property manager considers where they can boost efficiency and save energy and money.
Although reducing energy consumption is one obvious place to begin, it’s not the only opportunity to improve efficiency. Property managers spend a great deal of time tracking utility usage and managing billing and collection from residents. They also must address both emergency and preventive maintenance issues when it comes to utility systems.
Many property managers juggle utility management across multiple buildings. Often, they manually record all this data or use stand-alone spreadsheets. These management systems make it very difficult to aggregate all the data for the property in one place.
Investing in a CMMS or other centralized computer system can help property managers build a historical portfolio. Within a CMMS, managers can track energy usage, billing and collection history, and inspection and repair records. Paired with powerful analytics, this data gives property managers a great tool for quickly identifying problem areas. One of the most common issues is significant energy spikes that can point to leaks or other issues.
By incorporating sensors on utility assets, property managers can have real-time data with 24/7 monitoring at a reasonable cost. Temperature, pressure, vibration, or water levels can be easily monitored by setting acceptable ranges within each sensor. As soon as a utility asset malfunctions and data falls out of range, and an alert is sent to a centralized system.
Immediate work orders can then be issued, hopefully minimizing energy and resources lost and preventing an emergency utility repair situation.