Tips To Help You Reduce Your Electricity Load

electricty-usageHow to Reduce Electricity Load in Multifamily Properties


As energy costs continue to rise and the demand for green environments intensifies, multifamily property managers want to know how to reduce their energy costs by reducing their electricity load. The smart place to start is with a facility assessment and input from the experts. Take the following steps to prioritize changes that make the greatest difference.

Establish baseline conditions

The first and most crucial step when you are deciding how to reduce electricity load is to get the facts with an energy efficiency assessment. You need an accurate, comprehensive review of specific aspects of your property.

As the size and complexity of the building increase, lowering your electricity load becomes more complex. You will probably need to hire an outside expert.

Your energy efficiency assessment will consider:

  • HVAC systems: Examine energy usage, size, and condition of furnace and A/C units. Are they operating properly? Are you using high-efficiency filters? Are the units appropriately sized for the building? Are they Energy Star certified?
  • Electrical systems: Are building panels adequate and in good condition?
  • How much energy is the lighting using? What type of lighting is being used for indoor and outdoor lamps and fixtures — incandescent, halogen, LED, or fluorescent? Are timers or automated controls being used to control lighting?
  • Equipment load: Consider electricity use of appliances, pool pumps, spa heaters and pumps, space heating, and water heating. Are all of these being controlled by smart thermostats or other control equipment?
  • Insulation and exterior closures and windows: Lost heat or cooling generates energy usage to compensate for the loss.

Your energy efficiency assessor will take all of these measurements over time (ideally 12 months) to account for changes in usage over time. Software stores and analyzes the data. While energy efficiency assessments are not rocket science, they require specific monitoring equipment and a standardized, disciplined approach. It makes sense to get outside expert help for multi-tenant or commercial buildings.

Once you have completed the energy efficiency assessment, you need to benchmark the performance of your property against comparable ones. You will need an accurate set of benchmarks to make those comparisons. Comparing your load data to standards will shine a light on how to reduce electricity load. Again, an outside expert can connect you to benchmark data and run a full comparison.

Take advantage of utilities and state assistance

Utilities are a great, reliable source for benchmarking, and you can likely also get assistance with energy assessments and improvements, including reviews, rebates and subsidies. Check with your local utility and ask the right questions.

Pacific Gas & Electric, a major California utility, is a classic example of a utility company that helps support property owners who want to figure out how to reduce electricity load. It offers a wide range of services for multi-family properties, from energy efficiency assessments to product rebates.

Determine and perform necessary improvements

Once the assessment and benchmarking are done, the next step is to determine, probably with expert help, what improvements you need to make. For multifamily, this task can be complex.

Here are the key steps:

  • Use benchmarks to determine where your building is underperforming.
  • Develop a list of improvements to correct underperforming areas. Estimate costs and calculate savings for each project. These may include smart thermostats, new electric appliances, new windows and insulation, heat pumps, LED lighting, etc.
  • Develop a list of projects in descending order of savings.
  • Use competitive bidding to engage professional HVAC or electrical contractors experienced in green technologies for complex cost proposals.

Using high-quality, reliable contractors is crucial to avoid expensive delays or failures.

  • Develop a written contract and engage legal counsel. Make sure insurance, indemnifications, the scope of work and payment terms are complete. Be sure to include performance standards and non-performance penalties if you can get them.
  • Manage the contract closely from start to finish, with review meetings at least weekly.
  • Measure the performance impact of improvements and set new baselines for management.

In summary

The first step for multifamily property managers learning how to reduce electricity load is to know their energy costs. Energy efficiency assessments are crucial to determining your usage. Benchmarking will illuminate areas for improvement, which can become improvement projects.

The next step is to engage HVAC and electrical contractors to carry out the improvements. Selecting quality contractors is crucial to success. In addition, quality parts, supplies and equipment are essential to ensure proper performance.

Raiven can help

Raiven serves multifamily properties and property owners by providing the lowest prices on equipment, parts, and maintenance supplies as well as a purchasing platform that makes buying fast and efficient. Key benefits include:

  • Pre-negotiated discounts of 7-25%+ from big name suppliers like Ferguson, HD Supply, Grainger, Graybar, Office Depot, and more.
  • Supply chain alerts for price and product availability changes on the items that matter to you most.
  • Private marketplace houses all your preferred suppliers in one location for easy access to your discounts. No more bouncing around websites comparing prices.
  • AI-powered purchasing tools that find the lowest prices even when employees shop outside your network.

Raiven is your one stop to save time and money. Ask our clients Core Realty, Lyon Living, or Oaks Property Management what we’ve done for them. Visit Raiven to learn what we can do for you.

If you need an energy assessment for your property, be sure to visit Qmerit, the nationwide leader in energy efficiency and electrification solutions.