Can ‘Report Cards’ Encourage Better Marks in Energy Usage?

FirstService Residential is aiming to spur condo board members to initiate energy efficiency steps.

New York—For the fifth year, “energy report cards” have been distributed by FirstService Residential’s New York division to more than 400 multifamily properties in its portfolio. The program’s objective is to spur condominium and co-op board members to initiate efficiency steps that taken together can add up to as much as $18 million in annual energy cost savings. These trailblazing energy benchmarking programs are being spearheaded by FirstService Residential’s subsidiary, FS Energy.

Clients that are informed are more empowered to improve the environmental impact of their buildings, FirstService Residential has discovered. Since it founded FS Energy five years ago, the company has assisted clients in saving tens of millions of dollars, while simultaneously slashing carbon output by dramatic amounts.

“FirstService Residential is committed to providing solutions that reduce operating expenses, maximize property values, and provide an exceptional quality of life for residents,” Dan Wurtzel, president of FirstService Residential New York, told MHN. “As the largest residential management company in North America, we also have a social responsibility—and a significant opportunity—to help protect the environment by guiding our clients on the road to efficiency. We formed our FS Energy subsidiary to recommend strategies that will enable properties to increase efficiency while reducing consumption, costs and carbon emissions.”

FirstService Residential developed a proprietary benchmarking database that contains historical energy usage, cost and typology information on hundreds of buildings, he added. “Our energy experts analyze each property’s data to evaluate its performance, estimate potential savings, and determine its Building Energy Rating Guide (BERG), a zero-to-ten benchmarking score that gauges a building’s efficiency compared to similar properties,” he reported. “The BERG score helps us target our efforts on the least efficient buildings, and ultimately, where we can have the most impact.”

All of this information is compiled in an Energy Report Card—an educational tool issued annually to the company’s clients—that arms them with valuable insight surrounding their property’s energy performance and can help to identify problems and seize opportunities that may not be obvious, Wurtzel said.

By determining the factors contributing to inefficiency, FS Energy implements the appropriate blend of energy services that will result in the most cost-effective solutions. Significant additional benefits include a reduction of greenhouse gases, a healthier living environment, increased property values and lower monthly carrying costs.

Already established in New York City, FS Energy is now expanding its benchmarking services to FirstService Residential clients in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Illinois. “Ultimately, we plan to expand these services to all FirstService Residential locations in 21 U.S. states and three provinces in Canada,” Wurtzel said. “We look forward to continuing to build the capabilities and reach of FS Energy to positively impact our clients’ properties.”