10A —April 22 - May 19, 2022 — Spring Preview — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


S mart E nergy

By Shannon Christie, PECO A return to the office calls for upgrades


usinesses across the region are preparing to bring employees back

workplace have also changed because of the pandemic. They want healthier, safer and more sustainable workspaces and want their employers to adopt environmentally conscious busi- ness practices. By incorporating energy ef- ficiency into return-to-office plans, commercial property developers and managers can help address these new expec- tations while improving the overall energy performance and comfort of their buildings, which in turn can reduce oper- ating costs and the buildings’ carbon footprint.

energy assessment and use the results to implement energy efficiency upgrades. Consider installing an Energy Manage- ment System (EMS), which can yield savings of 20%–30% for lighting systems and 15% for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) sys - tems. 1 Optimizing lighting and HVAC systems for new spaces. The new work arrangements are driving the need for an increased number of collabora- tive spaces, particularly spac- es that accommodate teams of both on-site and off-site

employees. Businesses will also need larger collaborative spaces for larger teams. En - sure a productive, comfortable, safe and visually appealing environment for employees by upgrading to LED lighting and high efficiency HVAC equip - ment. Installing lighting and HVAC controls can enhance these benefits, while offering greater control over your en- ergy use in these spaces and the potential to reduce energy consumption up to 50%. 2 Upgrading air filtration systems. Improvements or upgrades to the HVAC sys - tem to more frequently and efficiently replace the air in a facility ensure employee com- fort. Plus, the installation of HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate absorbing filters) and the use of portable air cleaners can decrease the transmission of viruses and other airborne contaminants when implemented alongside other CDC recommended best practices. PECO Incentives to Offset Investments PECO Ways to Save of- fers incentives for dozens of qualifying equipment, helping to make energy efficiency up - grades simple and affordable. Incentives are available for interior and exterior lighting, HVAC, refrigeration and other equipment and systems. Infor - mation on the PECO Ways to Save Program can be found at www.peco.com/business. While the PECO Ways to Save Programhelps financially, energy efficiency upgrades can help property managers and building owners demonstrate their leadership in sustainabil- ity and more easily. This could translate to property man- agers more easily attracting sustainability-focused tenants. Employers with sustainability goals are often able to recruit and retain environmentally minded workers, which is key at a time when it is harder to attract employees. In other words, a few build- ing upgrades could be a win- win-win for all stakeholders— not bad for something inspired by a pandemic. ShannonChristie is a senior energy efficiency program manager at PECO. MAREJ 1 https://www.sciencedirect.com/sci - ence/article/pii/S1364032115013349 2 https://www.designlights.org/ lighting-controls/reports-tools-re - sources/nlcenergy-savings-report/

Facility Improvements Many commercial develop- ers, property managers and individual businesses are already taking steps to ad- dress these new expectations and improve energy efficiency. These include: Benchmarking the proper- ties. Analyzing your building’s energy use will give you all the data you need to identify ways to optimize your energy use and improve energy efficiency. You can benchmark your prop- erties’ energy usage through the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Tool or conduct an

to the office, some on a hybrid basis, others, full- t ime. As a result, com- panies are a s s e s s i n g the changes they need to

Shannon Christie

make to their spaces to accom- modate the new office reality and ensure that the environ- ment is flexible. Employee expectations for the

Something this big can’t be ignored. It’s time to please your tenants and get future-ready. Make your property more energy efficient today.

Start saving money and energy at PECO.com/Business

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