ORANGE COUNTY, CA—Irrigation systems that link up with weather satellites to identify efficient watering schedules depending on the forecast is just one method commercial-building owners can use to reduce water usage, experts tell GlobeSt.com. With the Californiadrought
a major and ongoing concern, we spoke exclusively with Mark Harryman
, CEO/founder of Orange County-based Unire Real Estate Group
, and Logan Soya
, founder and president of Aquicore Inc.
, a Washington, DC-based real-time energy-management software firm, about what owners can do to conserve water and encourage water conservation in their properties. Stay tuned to GlobeSt.com for an upcoming exclusive feature on the Water Forum
to take place at PCBC
in San Diego later this week.
Harryman: “We are constantly working with the water companies to identify incentives and available funds.”
GlobeSt.com: What are owners doing on a broad scale to reduce water consumption and waste in their properties?
On a broad scale, all of our clients are looking to reduce the consumption of limited resources across the board, especially water. We have been diligently working with our clients, tenants and landscapers to develop and implement new watering strategies, as well as replacing existing planting with drought-resistant material. New Smart irrigation systems reduce water consumption dramatically by linking up with weather satellites to identify efficient watering schedules depending on the forecast.
Although there are capital-intensive measures building owners and managers can take, such as installing low-flow toilets and urinals, the most cost-effective and easiest way to get started is to add metering. In the commercial environment, the two biggest water-usage culprits are the irrigation systems and the cooling towers. Metering can provide a month-by-month, day-by-day or hour-by-hour update on the exact amount of water being consumed and provide alerts if something with one of those systems is awry. We have seen pretty incredible cost and leak avoidance after only a few weeks of data collection. There are times where the cooling towers consume more than 60% of total water and cases where it is unnecessarily running on weekends. Savings can be 10% to 20% and sometimes higher if a leak is mitigated early.
GlobeSt.com: What are some of the incentives involved?
Each city has unique incentives, so we are constantly working with the water companies to identify incentives and available funds. Overall, the cities are looking for owners to reduce the amount of turf and high-consumption landscaping. Unire Group and our clients are committed to putting our best foot forward for the environment.
Soya: “The only way we can mitigate the impact of the drought is if we put responsible water use on our daily 'to-do’s' so that it is no longer a burden but instead a habit.”
If anything, there are more penalties than incentives.Title 24
has significant penalties around water conservation, as well as efficiency objectives, which have to be met by new developers
in 2020 and 2030. Owners are incentivized to take the necessary steps now to mitigate the risk of being fined and should start considering making those changes now as leases
GlobeSt.com: How can owners efficiently implement water-conservation plans that will work for each space?
Our team has been working on reducing our water consumption for some time. We have implemented some exceptional drought-tolerant landscape renovations at both our office
assets. The extent of a renovation depends on the client and the individual property budge. Owners need to plan ahead, since switching to drought-tolerant material can be an expensive capital item even if incentives are available.
Don’t make any capital investments first. Start with real-time or daily measuring consumption via metering of major consumers like whole-building, cooling towers and irrigation as a first step, and then consider measuring tenants to aid them in awareness of how much water they are consuming as a second step. Once the no-cost operational savings are captured, additional capital investments such as low-flow urinals or better irrigation controls can be considered. Sub-metering first will also allow the landlord to show the effectiveness of these reduction measures later.
GlobeSt.com: What else should our readers know about water-use reduction and drought in commercial real estate?
Owners should set a plan into motion of identifying easy reductions and work toward reducing turf areas. Water is ongoing to increase in cost. Those cost increases will affect a building’s expenses and therefore value.
They can be the change. The only way we can mitigate the impact of the drought is if we put responsible water use on our daily “to-do’s” so that it is no longer a burden but instead a habit. Across the country, not just in California, there are many new regulations among municipal, state and federal agencies. Price increases are planned for many utilities, and awareness is growing in industry associations. All of this will make water usage an increasing concern over the next 10 years and market leaders are already beginning to implement measures. We all have an opportunity to get ahead of the game and to be though leaders and change agents if we start today.
See Complete - Click Here