Engaging Your Tenants for Success in Energy Management and Beyond

Property managers and operation teams strive to keep buildings running smoothly, comfortably, and efficiently. As such, they are typically tasked with finding ways to reduce energy consumption. Though using a building energy management system is one of the easiest tools to identify areas of improvement and measure success, oftentimes one of the biggest resources for energy efficiency – the human element – goes untapped. Here are three tips to help you take your energy efficiency goals to the next level by creating initiatives that incorporate tenant engagement.

1. Share information and educate. Did you know that plug loads can exceed 30% of the total bill for commercial properties?[1] Your building may feature multiple green resources, but tenants directly and indirectly control a significant amount of energy consumption. Monitor energy usage and identify opportunities where tenants can get involved. Informing people of simple behavioral changes -- like enabling the “sleep” or “hibernate” power management function in computers and electronics, closing blinds before leaving for the weekend, and using Advanced Power Strips (APS) that shut off power supply to devices when not in use – can cut the amount of electricity used, and lead to noticeable payoffs.[2]

2. Communicate and measure success. After monitoring and identifying baseline usage, establish energy efficiency goals and share them with your tenants. Providing insight into their energy consumption enables occupants to better understand the value and impact of their efforts, while visualizing data allows tenants to connect actions to actual energy savings and motivate improvement. Some examples building professionals have employed include real time displays of building energy use on tenant portals and in elevator and lobby displays; providing tenants visibility into their energy use on monthly bills; distributing annual building environmental report and monthly updated posters that depict progress made towards goals.[3]

3. Inspire tenant support. Engaging tenants in initiatives helps foster positive interactions and strengthen relationships between occupants and building professionals. Offering rewards-based incentives are common strategies, but try adding some creative and interactive elements. Hosting a competition can stimulate people’s competitive spirits and build a sense of camaraderie towards a common goal. Challenges should be simply defined and encourage participants to target low hanging fruit. Provide recognition for winners and keep it fun!

The best performing buildings are the ones where all stakeholders are incentivized to collaborate and work together toward energy efficiency goals. Forging a partnership between tenants and building professionals has become essential. Using building energy management software like MACH’s can support these objectives in numerous ways, including providing energy analytics on a whole building and tenant level, cultivating behaviors that can lead to more energy savings, and generating accurate and punctual tenant billing reports.

Learn more about the best practices of tenant engagement by downloading the slides from our recent webinar on the topic.

What strategies do you employ for tenant engagement today? We welcome you to share them in the comments!

[1] http://www.usgbc.org/articles/three-tips-increasing-tenant-engagement-around-energy

[2] http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy14osti/60461.pdf

[3] https://www.energystar.gov/sites/default/files/buildings/tools/8-Great-Strategies-to-Engage-Tenants.pdf