RCx to "Unlock Efficiency" at NFMT Conference March 2012

Many facility managers and building owners have “run the numbers” and researched the effectiveness of energy reduction in their buildings.  Not to mention, it also increases the value of an existing building, reduces risks associated with downtime, and reduces regular operating costs- which can now be viewed as controllable costs.  Oftentimes, due to certain types of energy analysis and building and operations detective work, we are able to reduce current energy consumption in existing buildings by anywhere from 15 – 40%.

Well, the market realizes that there is a significant opportunity out there to make a change, but no one is educating the masses on where to start and what kinds of solutions may be applicable to your specific building and BUDGET.

Come and see us speak on this subject at the **FREE to attend** NFM&T conference in Baltimore, MD.

Unlocking Efficiency: Keys to a Successful Energy Management Program

Thursday March 15th, 2012.

3:10 – 4:00pm

Room 339

Our engineers and industry experts will be presenting:

  1. the development and implementation of an energy-management program
    • key components will be outlined
    • overview of where and how to start managing your facility’s energy use
    • determine current energy consumption
  2. the differences (and similarities) between energy-audits and retrocommissioning
    • when/if either of these services might be applicable
    • what to expect from either service
    • what to look for in a qualified energy auditor or retrocommissioning agent

While we hope to see you in our audience as we speak at NFM&T, if your schedule is tight, we also will be available to answer any of your questions at our BOOTH  #2266 at any time that the exhibit hall is open (Tues – Thurs).

If unable to make it to the Baltimore area for the show, please feel free to contact us through our website, or by email: info@rcxbd.com and we will answer your questions as soon as possible!

Get While the Gettin’s Good…

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) understands that just because a property-management company offers low-income housing, the costs to provide these accommodations aren’t always “affordable.”  The PHFA also realizes that the preservation of existing rental housing stock is crucial for many low income residents who do not need or have capacity for homeownership. So, in recognizing that the ongoing maintenance of healthy rental housing properties is increasingly strained by the raising costs of property operation (utilities, insurance, taxes, & other fixed costs) while tenant rates & incomes are stagnant or declining, the PHFA decided to take action.  But, where would the greatest opportunity for improvement exist for the PHFA to offer assistance to help combat the issues threatening the long term financial viability of a large portion of the affordable-apartment inventory?  By controlling the most controllable costs, of course… Energy!  “The cost of energy is one of the most important components in affordable housing,” said Brian A. Hudson, PHFA Executive Director.  “It is the deciding factor in the economic feasibility for many older properties.”   Enter the Preservation through Smart Rehab Program (Smart Rehab).

Smart Rehab is a multifamily affordable rental housing preservation program that provides financing for capital improvements that result in a measurable reduction in energy consumption & utility costs.  Both buildings where tenants are responsible for utility costs & buildings where the owner is responsible for utility costs are eligible to participate in the programs.  The program focuses on finding & financing energy saving opportunities for a specific facility that will increase the property’s energy efficiency, reduce operating costs, and improve the comfort, safety & quality of housing for its low income residents.  The Smart Rehab Program offers funding for energy efficiency improvements that are designed to be paid for by long term energy savings generated from the work.

So, how exactly does the program work?  PHFA approves properties to participate in the program & requires that they have an energy audit performed by a certified auditing firm.  The findings of these energy audits are used to evaluate possible energy consumption & cost saving measures.  Following the review of the audit report, the property is eligible to receive grants & loans through the PHFA.  Funding for the program has been provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, the PHFA, & the MacArthur Foundation Grant.

The key to the Smart Rehab program lies in identifying capital improvements & projecting annual energy cost saving through an energy audit.  Energy Auditing reveals the amount of energy used in a building, & where energy is used.  Understanding how energy is consumed allows an owner to focus attention toward reducing energy consumption where inefficiencies exist. Once an owner has submitted an application to the PHFA to enter into the Smart Rehab program with their facilities, the owner must obtain 3 bids for the audit services from qualified/PHFA-approved energy auditors.  Owners may use project cash or Replacement Reserve to pay for the audit, & the PHFA may provide a grant for up to half of the cost.  The selected certified auditor will then provide a comprehensive investment grade energy-audit of your facilities.  The multi-family audit is a detailed examination of how the multifamily facility uses energy & other controllable utilities, quantification of the buildings energy and water consumption, the cost of energy, technical analysis of the building & associated systems, & in conclusion a set of recommendations to reduce the energy costs.  The energy cost reduction will be categorized by building envelope, equipment (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) & operational changes.

Upon completion of the audit, the auditor will sit down with the owner to discuss the report & the list of recommended reduction opportunities.  The report will then be submitted to the PHFA in order to determine which conservation measures will be funded through the Smart Rehab program.  Projects with payback periods of 10 years or less will be considered, & each facility may be eligible for up to $750,000!

The PHFA is working with energy consultants to lower the utility expenses of multifamily dwellings to make sure high energy prices don’t increase rent & utility costs for fixed-income older Pennsylvanians, families of modest means, or persons with disabilities.  Additionally, energy-costs are about to increase!  As per PA Act 129, which is demanding that utility providers reduce their overall demand/consumption, energy rate caps are set to expire at the end of 2010.  Believe it or not, current predictions call for an estimated 35% rate increase in electric generation prices when the remaining rate caps finally end throughout the state.

So, by determining the present status of energy use; actions that enhance efficiency, improve delivery, hold down costs to consumers, & keep the apartments affordable can be achieved.  In fact, Smart Rehab financed capital improvements of $128,000 at “The Umbrella Works” facilities in Lancaster, PA that will save $26,800 in annual utility bills, a Return-on-Investment (ROI) of less then 5 years!  Moreover, this is only one of the many examples of affordable housing property-management success-stories as a result of participation with the PHFA Preservation through Smart Rehab Program.  For assistance in applying for the program or to ask questions to learn more about how you and your property can participate, contact a member of the RCx Building Diagnostics team (certified/PHFA-approved energy-auditors) or the PHFA to discuss Smart Rehab and its potential for you.