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How One Company's Workshop Is Helping Property Managers Become More Energy Efficient

Alex Harry from the Institute for Market Transformation presents at a workshop in Cleveland with the IREM Northern Ohio chapter and the Council for Smaller Enterprises.

Earlier in April, the Institute of Real Estate Management was recognized as a 2017 Energy Star Partner of the Year by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The win arrives on the heels of demonstrated commitments and contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency.

One key factor to this year’s win is the organization’s creation of a workshop series dedicated to spreading energy-efficiency knowledge to property managers, facility managers and engineers across commercial real estate. The seminars examine resources and tools to help property owners comply with new benchmarking and disclosure ordinances and initiate value-enhancing energy management programs for their portfolios. IREM is a U.S. Green Building Council Education Partner, so each four-hour workshop counts as four hours of Green Business Certification Inc. credit for LEED professionals.

Stephen Todd, The Energy Guy, walks attendees through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool at a workshop in Minneapolis with IREM Minnesota and USGBC Minnesota.

IREM works with its chapters and other partners to host the workshops in major markets around the country. Presenters tailor each class to the municipality and its local utility, allowing the utility company to discuss its data access tools for energy benchmarking and tracking. Utility teams can hear directly from the industry on why these tools are so critical for efficient operations. It is a way for building owners to advocate for their own needs, fostering open communication between owners and the utilities.

Each workshop also features a speaker presenting updates to Energy Star tools and resources, such as the recently added waste tracking capabilities in Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Other Energy Star partners have also presented their approach to energy management using Energy Star programs.

Class participants include property managers (of all experience levels and property types), maintenance staff, energy-efficiency engineers and consultants, building engineers, and public and institutional facility managers and their teams. The diversity of professionls participating in the seminars empowers attendees to participate in cross-disciplinary dialogue on building efficiency. The sharing of best practices promotes greater understanding of the variety of roles real estate professionals have in increasing energy efficiency.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power representatives present their whole-building data access solution at a Los Angeles workshop in collaboration with the Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge.

“Educating our members and the industry at large on these resources and tools — and the broader benefits of energy efficiency — is a key reason for our partnership with Energy Star,” said Mike Lanning, senior vice president of Cushman & Wakefield and 2017 president of IREM.

Topics covered include how to obtain whole-building energy data using utility tools, tips on employing Energy Star Portfolio Manager and accessing interval data from a property’s utility meter. Participants learn about private metering options and energy analysis methods. Instructors discuss the financial impacts of various energy efficiency programs and how they can greatly affect a property’s cash flow.

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