Electricity is in our lives everywhere today. Most people do not think about it unless it quits working or when the monthly bill arrives. Despite not thinking about it often, it is a very large part of the operating costs for real estate operations.
Finding out how your building compares with other buildings of similar size and use can provide valuable insight as to where to look for energy savings. One of the first things we do is to prepare an Energy Utilization Index (EUI) of your building and compare it to similar buildings. We will also need to examine your electric bills to identify usage trends and look for any anomalies.
When you engage Clem Janes & Associates to do a full service cost analysis at your property we include the Level I energy audit described below at no charge. This is a service valued between $1,500 - $5,000 depending on the type and size of the facility.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) identifies three levels of energy audits:
Level I - Walk-through Assessment: energy bills are analyzed and, possibly, a brief visual survey of the facility is conducted. The subsequent report identifies no-cost and low-cost opportunities. This is the least costly of the three levels.
Level II - Energy Survey and Analysis: a more detailed analysis is conducted, including a breakdown of how energy is used within the building. Recommendations consider an owner’s operations and maintenance, constraints, and economic criteria. Potential capital-intensive opportunities are identified in the final report for further research and analysis. This is the typical level of audit.
Level III - Detailed Analysis of Capital-Intensive Modifications (Investment-grade Audit): this analysis focuses on capital-intensive opportunities and provides a higher degree of monitoring, data collection, and engineering analysis. The report includes detailed cost and savings information with a high-level of confidence sufficient for major capital investment decisions, and may include a reasonable timeline for implementation of each recommendation.
Electric bills are complex and this makes it much more important to be sure the correct multipliers and rate structures are being applied to your bill. There are different rate structures that affect the cost of electricity. There are also fees and costs for related components of electricity such as Demand and KVAR, also called reactive power, that you may be incorrectly charged for, but you will never know unless you bring in someone who has experience in the electrical industry and understands the way the utility bill is calculated.
The various pieces of electrical apparatus that make up the buildings electrical backbone, including the meter, must be checked to make sure you are using the electricity the utility company says you are using. It makes sound business sense to have an electrical expert review your bill and equipment to ensure you are only paying for what you use. It does not make sense to pay several hundred dollars to have someone do this work when Clem Janes can do it as part of our no-charge review.
Here are a couple of examples of electrical savings we have found. While working for a housing development in South Miami-Dade County, we found an error on one of their FPL invoices that enabled us to recover just over $20,000 for 6 years of overcharges. Most recently while working with another auditing company’s condominium client, we found an overcharge on their FPL bill that led to a refund check of just over $11,600 for that condominium.
It is estimated that 8 out of 10 utility bills have an error in them. Are you one of those 80%?