Our previous posts on BEST, our Energy and Sustainability program have discussed energy efficiency as our primary approach to achieving sustainability within our portfolio. We also introduced how Boxer Property is organized to maintain efficient properties and in this post we will help you understand BEST a little better by defining its components.
The Boxer Energy & Sustainability Tracking (BEST) program is, at its core, a quality assurance audit of a building’s efficiency. We subject each property through a rigorous examination against a defined set of standards designed to ensure an economic and effective operation. BEST is the vehicle to inspect each and every property and to ensure they are adhering to our “buy smart, use smart” mantra.
How does BEST work?
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) determined that buildings account for 40% of the energy consumed in the U.S. Boxer believes efficient properties are the key to achieving any sustainability goals.
Boxer systematically performs BEST audits using a ‘scorecard’ derived from an evolving set of criteria. These are Boxer defined standards which assess the operating efficiency of the property, its systems, and assigned staff grouped into four categories:
- Physical – mechanical, electrical, plumbing, & infrastructure envelope at the property
- Operational – policies & procedures in use to operate the building
- Systematic – specific systems in place to control the property’s energy use
- Contractual – energy usage constraints defined by market condition, building codes and the like
Standards within these categories are scored using a weighted combination of sub scores that measure various elements. After a property is given a final score, we evaluate commodity usage patterns (e.g. energy), compare the actual results to the expected results, and identify opportunities for improvement; we validate these opportunities with simple cost benefit analyses (CBAs). Finally, we implement approved projects and measure the results. This is an ongoing process, and we continually survey overall program effectiveness and refine our process – all with a focus on improving the bottom line.
How well is BEST working?
We are pleased to report significant savings since BEST was first implemented a couple of years ago. Each and every case resulted in an improved Net Operating Income (NOI: the famous ‘bottom line’) coupled with a measurably better environment for all building occupants.
Let’s review four sample BEST actions.
Office lighting consumes about 30% of energy at any given property, yet modern fixtures deliver the same amount of light with far less energy requirements; so a lighting retrofit changes fittings and bulbs to take advantage of the new technology. A BEST property has industry standard lighting fixtures installed which instantly reduce energy thereby increasing savings.
Result: a $171,645 savings generated over a 12 month period from five retrofit projects.
Power factor adjustments
A building’s Power Factor (PF) is a measure of how much actual electrical energy is used relative to how much was purchased; a building with a higher PF is more efficient, and utilities usually charge a higher cost to customers with a low PF. Most commercial buildings have a lower PF due to their equipment. Boxer Electricians were able to properly size and install necessary capacitor banks raising building PF.
Result: a savings of $13,735 from four projects delivering paybacks less than one year.
Energy use metrics
Boxer defines its energy intensity metric for electricity as the property’s monthly electrical consumption (KWH) divided by its total areal size (GSF), normalized for the length of a billing period; essentially, it is a measure of how much energy a building uses per square foot over a month. We track this value each month and perform trend analysis. We can easily detect deviations from the trend which, left unchecked, result in wasted resources and operational cost growth. When detected, investigated, and resolved, these events generate opportunity savings relative to their expected future costs.
Result: a savings of $202,563 from five specific cases; this is 37% savings relative to their combined utility budgets.
Utility contract negotiations
The BEST process identifies all cost drivers within a contract and requires each to have valid justification; we reduce premiums by removing unjustified items. Every property utility contract is reviewed on building takeover to ensure the BEST terms, conditions, and rates are in effect.
Result: an average of 47% cost savings from four electrical and two natural gas contracts over a 12 month period.
These all impact the bottom line, and demonstrate that sustainability makes good business sense.
So, what is BEST? “Buy smart, use smart”.