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January 11, 2018

New tool helps building owners save money and energy

Most building owners in Canada should be aware of the savings that can be earned when energy efficiency practices are put into place. However, this is not always the case as there are many old buildings across this country that still have mid-20th century energy systems in place. Reluctant building owners are not willing to invest in new building infrastructure to make their buildings more energy-efficient.

Most provinces are now offering incentives for “greening-up” homes and buildings and I think that is a goods thing. There are also many great organizations and associations across Canada pushing this agenda as well.

I found this article below in The Guardian describing how one building manager in The Netherlands is using a new tool to save money and energy for their 175+ properties.

Arnie Gess, Publisher


Imagine you lease over 175 buildings in the Netherlands, including 18th century properties and want to improve their energy efficiency. How do you identify the upgrades that will have the most impact? And what finance is available for making the improvements?

“We knew exactly where to invest and what made the biggest differences in energy savings,” says Bas van Holten, CEO of Merin, one of the largest real-estate platforms in the Netherlands and owner of the buildings in question. The company found 75 buildings where new heating and lighting measures could help to save more than €15,000 (£13,250) in energy costs per year. But how did they do it?

The answers were provided by ING’s five-step plan for navigating the transition from “brown” to “green” buildings, which is designed to help its commercial real estate clients meet strict minimum energy efficiency requirements for their buildings.

ING’s software allows clients to view an analysis of the energy usage of each of their buildings, what investments could be made to improve this figure, the level of C02 reduction this would achieve, and the payback period for the investment.

“If the results are above a certain threshold, ING are willing to send a team to the client for an even more in-depth analysis of the asset and how it could become a sustainable building,” says Peter Göbel, managing director of ING real estate finance. Once the benefits and costs have been fully detailed, ING offers finance for making the improvements and advises the client on other subsidies they might be eligible for, as well as how to approach the green building certification process.

For Merin, 17 “green experts” were trained to oversee the upgrade process, which Van Holten estimates is now around 80% complete. He expects the upgrades will have paid for themselves within three to five years.

“The only thing we needed to do was convince our shareholders that we should invest [in the energy saving measures],” he adds, which “sounds easy, but it was still a tricky situation, as often when the owner invests in them the tenant is seen to benefit more because of their lower energy bills.”

To challenge the persistence of this perception, ING, in partnership with Maastricht University, analysed the difference in value between green and so-called brown buildings, and found that the former are a much more valuable asset. “We came to the conclusion that over the period 2015-2016, green buildings in the Netherlands were 9-11% higher value than brown buildings,” says Göbel.

Continue reading in The Guardian