Large Real Estate Investment Trust

Fast Facts

Industry: Real Estate Investment Trust
Location: Mid-Atlantic U.S.
No. of Sites: 21
Total Savings: $1,000,000
Additional Benefits: Visibility, Budgeting, Sustainability, Energy and Dollar Savings

The Customer

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that has ownership in eight public companies and over $23 billion in assets. The Company oversees a large portfolio of publicly owned real estate, including more than 1,700 properties. The Company has aggressive sustainability goals – including target CO2 reductions, as well as a corporate initiative to cut operating and maintenance (O&M) expenses.

The Challenge

Energy management in commercial real estate can be challenging for several reasons: 1) the distributed nature of large real estate portfolios makes data collection and visibility into energy consumption and costs difficult, and 2) owners, property managers, and tenants all have different incentives that can be difficult to align.

The Solution

Beginning in 2013, the Company began deploying Enel X’s energy intelligence software (EIS), giving stakeholders up and down the organization – whether at the building, regional, or corporate level – new levels of visibility into their energy consumption. To date, 21 buildings are streaming real-time energy data into Enel X’s EIS platform. In addition, 15 of the 21 facilities are being actively monitored by Enel X’s professional services team, which is dedicated to supporting the Company’s team by conducting proactive analysis on their data to find and maintain savings and report out against key performance indicators.

Savings Example 1: Getting Alignment on Start Up Optimization

In a distributed model like a REIT, property managers and building chiefs don’t always see eye to eye on the best approach. In one example, the property manager and the building chief disagreed about the best start up protocols. Instead of worrying about who is right and who is wrong, the team ran regressions of BMS logs with Enel X data to look at the problem objectively. With the results in hand, they were able to agree on an approach that met all requirements for occupant comfort while at the same time, using the least amount of energy. The team also used Enel X’s software to evaluate start up processes across the portfolio. At one facility, Enel X’s software identified a startup Sequence of Operations (SOO) that was not optimized because it neglected to consider all the different variables that impact energy consumption. Enel X’s energy experts suggested adding humidity readings from existing sensors into the equation which resulted in more optimal start up sequences.

Savings Example 2: Pinpointing Nighttime Waste

Outside of operating hours, commercial real estate generally experiences a big drop in night time baseload, but when Enel X’s software showed that certain facilities were exhibiting erratic night time base load figures, the team knew it should investigate further. At one facility, while implementing one energy efficiency measure, the chief engineer walked the facility with Enel X’s mobile app in hand. As a result, he found that elevators, escalators, and other lobby equipment was running over night unnecessarily. The walk through also revealed that one of the doors in their loading dock was facing the wrong way, and when the building received deliveries, an outpouring of conditioned air escaped and a large heater kicked into high gear. To remedy the situation, the team adjusted the timing of the door so it wasn’t open for as long and turned the door around to minimize the amount of air that was escaping.

Savings Example 3: Finding the Peak Demand Culprit

Peak demand charges can be a big component of monthly energy bills. Sometimes, they’re unavoidable, but often, armed with the right information, simple remediation efforts can have a big impact.

At one of the Company’s properties, the building was setting its peak just inside of peak demand hours. The peak didn’t reconcile with a lot of the typical factors that drive peak demand, such as weather or startup schedules. But the data showed very clearly where and when the peak demand charge was being set, so the team investigated further. It didn’t take long for the team to discover that one of their tenants, a bank with a large call center, has a backup chiller for their data center, which requires regular testing.

The bank, which was unaware that the testing was setting the building’s peak, was conducting the test just inside of the on-peak window. By simply sharing the information with the bank managers, a process was put in place to run the test during less costly, non-peak hours.

The Benefits

Increased Asset Value

Like most REIT’s, the Company has aggressive goals to reduce O&M expenses and drive up net operating income, improving the value of their portfolio. Out of the gates, Enel X began delivering immediate value through low and no-cost operational savings, like those previously outlined.

Built in Funding Mechanism

Enel X’s position as the world’s largest provider of demand response meant that the Company could tap into a self-generating revenue stream to fund the software deployment. The Company currently has 20 facilities enrolled in PJM’s demand response program, netting the company $360,000 in demand response payments to date.

Tools for All Stakeholders

Enel X’s software gives different stakeholders the right tools to do their job better. The energy managers appreciate the portfolio-wide view, while chief engineers and building engineers can access very granular details into their specific building, helping to target savings opportunities and maximize staff resources.

Ability to Understand Trends

Enel X’s software includes robust baselines that normalize for a number of factors, such as weather. Having a solid baseline means that users can quickly identify bigger trends—and that’s important at the executive level and the property level.

Better Alignment

Enel X’s software helps align different stakeholders with different priorities: owners that want to reduce costs, property managers that want to work efficiently and keep tenants happy, and tenants that want to work in comfortable, safe environments. Although these priorities can sometimes be at odds, simply aligning stakeholders around the data can often yield positive, mutually beneficial outcomes.