Monitoring energy usage should be a continuous process and should not be only implemented when the weather is severe. Sudden variances or spikes in energy consumption can happen due to various reasons, and they can go unnoticed if you do not have a regular system for tracking usage. Here are some of the common issues property management can avoid with the proper tracking of utility data.
Malfunctioning Delivery or Equipment
Energy spikes are common in old building stock but it is possible even on new properties. Property management cannot become complacent even when the project is LEED certified. Here is an actual example where property management was able to correct the problem because they noticed frequent spikes and crashes in their utility data. The data showed sudden surges in usage, even though the condensing boilers were certified efficient. A technician was sent to find out the cause of the sudden surges and he found the boilers were not condensing because the gas line pressure was not adequate. The utility provider had to be contacted to correct the issue.
On another property, the tenants were complaining of overheating and the consumption was peaking as well. In this instance, the technician found the controlling valve of the thermostat was stuck on fully open. Once all the valves were replaced, the energy consumption was back to normal levels.
Water consumption on a property can spike due to leaks, and some leaks can be hard to find. For instance, on a property, when the water consumption increased abnormally, all the units had to be inspected, but no leaks were found. The maintenance staff then had to do a thorough check of the pipelines and found a major leak in one of the underground pipes. The leak was costing the property over $2,000 every month, which would have continued if there was no utility tracking and time intervention.
You might feel that since everything is computerized, there are no chances of errors happening in utility bills. However, billing errors are more common than you think. For instance, a property management company having more than 200 buildings in its portfolio noticed a spike in gas consumption on one of the properties after they had implemented a utility tracking platform online.
The typical usage of the property was around 100 therms per month, but the bill showed consumption of 1,000 therms on a particular day. Property management immediately contacted the utility provider with the details, the error was detected, and the property was refunded the extra amount that they had paid.
There can be different reasons for energy spikes and many could be due to sudden changes in weather. However, it is important for property management to track utility data since it significantly helps in saving unnecessary energy costs and in an age where not any business is getting any help from Uncle Sam, energy savings becomes all the more important.