2 Ways Commercial Property Owners Can Green Up their Buildings

The green building movement is alive and well in the commercial real estate industry, and while Tucson has not reached the heights of some of the country’s major markets, progress is underway to improve building sustainability and reduce carbon footprints.  As a business or property owner, it is important to know where you can take advantage of some attractive incentive programs that reduce the payback time for investing in energy efficiency. Two key opportunities include:

    • Lighting and other device retrofits
    • Hosting electric vehicle charging stations

Rebates for Retrofits

T-12 fluorescent lights will no longer be manufactured as of the end of 2012. Once a mainstay in commercial real estate, many T-12 fluorescent tubes remain in service.  While there will be a supply on hand for a while after they go out of production, those bulbs will become more expensive as the supply dwindles.  Why not take advantage of the Tucson Electric Power (TEP) rebate program?  TEP is offering a rebate program to incentivize property owners to reduce electricity consumption. Rebates minimize a property or business owner’s out of pocket cost to replace T-12 lamps and ballasts and also apply to many other electricity-consuming devices commonly in use in our buildings, including exit signs, thermostats, and air conditioning units.  The rebates vary depending on which program you use, and more information is available on TEP’s website.

Electric Vehicle Charging

EV charging stationAnother program with appeal to building owners with environmental sensitivity is the electric vehicle project (called The EV Project).  Tucson is part of a region chosen by the federal government to participate in this program.  Ecotality is the provider of choice, and is currently looking for sites to locate their electric vehicle charging stations.  In addition to supporting the green movement, hosting a charging station at a shopping center, office building or industrial park is a potential revenue source, a convenience to progressive patrons and tenants, and an amenity that competing properties may not offer.  Ecotality is offering an incentive to cover installation costs along with a monthly fee for the property owner.  For more information, Ecotality’s website is www.ecotality.com.

Utility cost trends

Nationally, utility costs in office buildings dropped almost 6% in 2010 over 2009, according to an annual report compiling data from across the country, known as BOMA International‘s Experience Exchange Report. While occupancy dipped somewhat, this reduction demonstrates initiatives made to reduce overall property operating costs and concerted efforts by property managers and property owners to take advantage of utility saving measures in the new “green” marketplace.

Professional management is attuned to these and other opportunities to bring savings to building owners and occupants, translating into increased property value. We are available to evaluate your property operating expenses or review ways to increase building performance. With a managed portfolio approximating 4.5 million square feet, we apply our buying power to a broad base of property owners and investors.

Eileen M. Lewis, RPA FMA leads PICOR’s property management division and is oneEileen Lewis Tucson commercial property management
of 13 principals. A
 long-time Tucsonan and 25 year veteran of the commercial real estate industry, Eileen has managed a portfolio of industrial, retail, and office buildings for private and institutional investors and served as Receiver for distressed assets. An active industry leader locally and nationally, she has served the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and others.

Photo sources: Thurston County, WA, EcotalityGary Rumack Photography

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