Uncategorized | Facility Executive - Creating Intelligent Buildings

In this annual survey of Facility Executive readers, votes were cast for product and service suppliers preferred during 2020.

In this annual survey of Facility Executive readers, votes were cast for product and service suppliers preferred during 2020.



Latest: 2021 Facility Executive Readers’ Choice Awards - In this annual survey of Facility Executive readers, votes were cast for product and service suppliers preferred during 2020.

2021 Facility Executive Readers’ Choice Awards

In this annual survey of Facility Executive readers, votes were cast for product and service suppliers preferred during 2020.

Ricoh Unveils Return To Work Security Services 

RICOH Return to Work Security Services help organizations get back to physical workspaces with proper safety and security measures in place.

Job Posting: Richmond-Lab Campus Manager

The Lab Campus Manager is located in Richmond, CA. This position supports the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) mission and strategic plan by being responsible for all campus operations. See details.

Job Posting: Director, Campus Operations – Bennett College

The Director of Campus Operations is responsible for coordinating and integrating College resources, activities, and time to ensure a safe and healthy environment for the entire College community. The Director will oversee building maintenance, grounds, custodial services, manage vendor selection and contracts, the College’s Mailroom Services, and plan and monitor the departments operating budget.

Are Your Workplace And Workforce Management Best Practices Ready For A Post-Pandemic World?

Establishing an updated set of workplace and workforce management best practices that better reflects the profound changes in the way we work will be essential as we roll into 2021.

Human-Centric Lighting For Buildings, Now More Than Ever

Human-centric lighting considers both visual and non-visual effects of light to enhance the comfort, health, and well-being of occupants in a facility.

URC Smart Automation and Control

URC announced a two-way IP module for integration of its Total Control system with Lutron’s QSX HomeWorks processors.

First Bird-Friendly Building Ordinance In Wisconsin Passed

The city-wide ordinance in Madison, WI will require new large construction and expansion projects to use modern strategies and materials that allow birds to see glass.

Financing Solutions For Smarter Building Upgrades

Facility managers across sectors and building types are continuously working towards optimizing safety, efficiency, environmental footprint, and occupant experience.

Diving Into Water Feature Design

Facility Executive spoke with Chris Roy, director of creative design at OTL, Inc., about considerations for water features inside and out of facilities.

Friday Funny: Philly Skyscraper Springs Mysterious Leak

Last weekend, a torrent of water mysteriously gushed from a Philadelphia skyscraper, drenching the streets below it and confusing onlookers.

CREW President Shares Insights On Facilities For 2020

In this Q&A, Holly Neber, 2019 President of the CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network and CEO of AEI Consultants, looks ahead for facilities.

Why CMMS Projects Get Off Track

Choosing a computerized maintenance management system impacts not only the facilities team, but potentially the entire organization.

Vanderbilt University Residence Hall Safely Imploded

Close to students and a major roadway, implosion of a Vanderbilt University residence hall required months of careful planning. Watch how it all came down.

3 Ways To Reduce Building Maintenance And Operations Costs

Building owners generally view maintenance as a sunk cost. Money is spent on urgent problems, and this becomes a costly endeavor as buildings age. As building operators, you have the power to leverage maintenance to maximize the value of your facilities and increase business revenues.

Why VESDA? Leveraging Air Sampling Smoke Detection Within Your Fire Alarm System

A VESDA “Aspirating Smoke Detector" alerts a facility’s fire safety system before an emergency unfolds, giving you time to evaluate and eliminate the potential hazard before it becomes a true safety issue.

San Antonio Schools Install 340,000 Square Feet Of Porous Pave

The North East Independent School District in San Antonio, TX has completed walking tracks at 44 elementary schools with Porous Pave Permeable Pavement.

Workplace Technology Falls Short When Compared To Consumer Tech

Employees wish their workplace technology was as easy and powerful as their personal technology, according to a survey by The Workforce Institute at Kronos. 

Sustainability At Broward College: A Project Perspective

Located in South Florida, this multi-site campus is maintained through a holistic program overseen by its District Facilities division.

Skid-Lift New Scissor Lift Attachments

Two new scissor lift models are designed to be more affordable and lighter weight for maintenance professionals and other users.

Top 10 Happiest Cities To Work

Mountain View, CA and Detroit, MI top the CareerBliss 2018 Happiest Cities to Work list.

For Buildings Industry Moving Forward, NIBS Highlights 10 Keys

As the pace of technology and commerce accelerates and communities face new challenges of resilience and sustainability: Will the buildings industry be ready?

Suitable Technologies Reveals BeamPro 2

Cutting-edge functionality delivers productivity returns with an enhanced mobile telepresence experience.

Friday Funny: 25 Cringe-Worthy Work Moments

From wayward toilet paper to falling asleep in a meeting, here are 25 embarrassing moments at work that will make you glad they didn’t happen to you.

Survey Shows Sampling Of ENERGY STAR Attitudes And Use

With the future of this popular U.S. EPA program uncertain, MACH Energy has published the results of its recent survey of 400 building and facility professionals to examine the topic.

JLL Creates Workplace Of The Future At Revamped HQ

When complete in spring 2017, JLL’s corporate headquarters will incorporate the latest strategies in workplace design, including many of the best practices it already uses in its work for clients and features inspired by direct input from its workforce.

Question Of The Week: Workplace Wellness Programs?

To advance workplace wellness programs, is facility management collaborating more often with counterparts in human resources?

Friday Funny: Super Bowl Time Warp

This weekend the Denver Broncos will take on the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, marking the event’s golden anniversary. Life sure has changed since that first Super Bowl was played on January 15, 1967.

FM Alert: Free Fire and Extinguisher Safety Training Course

A free training course on extinguishing fires in the workplace is being offered by UL Workplace Health & Safety as part of its comprehensive online eLearning library.

Smart Site Selection Can Save Data Center Users $141M Over 10 Years

Enterprise data center users can potentially save up to $140.9 million with thorough due diligence in identifying markets that meet their business requirements and provide lower net tax burdens after incentives, relatively affordable power rates, favorable weather conditions, and greenfield space to build in a less expensive manner, according to a new report from CBRE Group, Inc. These potential savings represent up to 52.1 percent of the $270.1 million average project cost for a typical 5-megawatt (MW) enterprise project in the U.S. over a 10-year period.

data-center-CBRE“The ever-increasing need for data exchange, storage and security is broadening demand for data centers in the U.S., but one solution does not fit all,” said Pat Lynch, managing director, Data Center Solutions, CBRE. “Capital and operating costs vary considerably by market, and non-monetary factors such as proximity to a headquarters location, fiber density and environmental and other risk factors can also drive enterprise site selection decisions.”

The CBRE study modeled the cost of constructing, commissioning, and operating a 5 MW data center for 10 years across 30 U.S. markets, and categorized markets into three cost bands (low, moderate and high) according to analysis of specific cost components including tax incentives, power, construction, land and labor. 

  • Tax Incentives: Data centers are capital intensive and generate significant sales and property tax revenues for state and local jurisdictions. Increasingly, markets that seek to attract data centers are offering significant tax incentives to help reduce the total cost of operations for data centers. Only four of the 30 enterprise markets in CBRE’s study – Philadelphia, Southern California, Silicon Valley and Northern New Jersey – do not offer tax incentives to enterprise data centers. These markets also rank in the high-cost segment.
  • Power: Power costs average 13.2 percent of the total project cost over the life of the project, but vary from 6.5 percent in Quincy, Washington, to 21.3 percent in Boston. Quincy, Des Moines and Tulsa had the lowest power rates among the markets in the study. The most expensive power rates were in Boston, Southern California and Silicon Valley.
  • Construction Costs: Facility construction costs represent about 35 percent of the total project cost over the 10-year period, averaging $94.0 million and ranging from $77.5 million to $116.3 million. The most expensive markets in which to build a Tier III facility include Boston, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Philadelphia and Northern New Jersey. Facility construction was least expensive in Tulsa, Charlotte, San Antonio, Jacksonville and Dallas.
  • Land Costs: Land acquisition for greenfield development represents the smallest expense component in the analysis at just 2.5 percent of the total project cost on average, but also varies the most among all the cost factors. Across the 30 markets the average price per sq. ft. was $7.65, but ranged from less than $1.00 per sq. ft. in Kansas City, Missouri, to $38.72 per sq. ft. in Southern California.
  • Labor: With a need for critical environment engineers that provide round-the-clock coverage, labor costs average $13.2 million over a 10 year-period and account for an average of 4.9 percent of the total project cost. Market-rate labor costs were lowest in the majority of Central region markets, highest in Northern New Jersey and Boston, and above-average in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Cheyenne, Quincy, Silicon Valley and Southern California.

“The large price differential between high- and low-cost markets suggests that prudent site selection efforts should not overlook the land acquisition component,” said Jessica Ostermick, director of research and analysis, CBRE. “In addition, while labor costs rank relatively low among our factors, it is important to also consider the availability of engineering staff and construction labor—particularly in less-developed and low-cost markets where the available talent pool is limited.”

“Our study also revealed a positive relationship between the size of a market’s population and its cost segment: the more populous markets tend to fall in the moderate- or high-cost segments,” said Jeff West, director of data center research, CBRE. “In fact, all of the moderate- and high-cost markets have populations greater than 1 million.”

For the full report, click here. 

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Proposed FASB/IASB Changes: What CRE Should Know

CRE technology professionals wear a number of hats. My last post on this site addressed how CRE technology professionals can support their organizations’ M&As. Here, I’ll delve into how we can support industry governance — the hot issue on this topic right now is FASB/IASB requirements.

If you are not familiar with these requirements, you are not alone. In fact, several months ago I attended a software users’ conference where one of the sessions focused on the proposed FASB/IASB requirements. The speaker asked how many people in the room of about 150 attendees had started to plan for implementing these changes first proposed in 2013. Less than 10 people raised their hands. A voice from the audience said, “How do we know these new requirements will be approved and why should we plan for something that may not happen?” Clearly, the majority of those in attendance were comfortable with a reactionary approach to what was to come.FASB/IASB Changes

As the speaker addressed the question, the impact of the proposed FASB changes took hold of the audience like a tsunami approaching the shore. For nearly all the attendees, the full impact of these changes was a new topic introduced that day.

Leases and the associated cost of borrowing would now be accounted for on the balance sheet. In some cases, the balance sheet could become much weaker than previously presented — even though actual expenses have not changed. A weakened balance sheet could also have the potential of increasing the cost of the company’s overall borrowing in the future. Will these proposed changes increase the tendency for lease terms to be shortened? Will shorter lease terms affect the value of the leased property, whether it be real estate or equipment? Will the cost of leasing likely go up — or down?

While there is still much to be addressed, CRE technology professionals can support their organization by ensuring that their information management strategy is providing accurate and “real-time” data; a cohesive data analytics platform that can be accessed – and shared – by all business functions for  optimal decision-making.

What’s next?  The next steps outlined by the FASB Board at the November 2015 meeting included directing staff to draft a final version of the Accounting Standards Update for formal vote by written ballot.  The effective date of the final leases standard for public business entities will be for fiscal years starting after December 15, 2018, and for all other entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019. Once the final standard is issued, early application of the change will be permitted for all entities.

Here’s a short review of the issue and most recent actions:     

FASB’s stated purpose of these changes and published in their recent Project Update on November 19, 2015 is “to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and liabilities on the balance sheet and disclosing key information about leasing arrangements.” This action follows a recommendation from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2005 on the topic of transparency in a report issued to address off-balance sheet activities. The proposed change addresses leases of more than 12 months and will apply to both lessees and lessors. The most recent meeting of the FASB Board addressed the effective date of the change, their consideration of the costs and benefits associated with it, and remaining economic life lease classification criterion.

After analysis and review of costs related to the changes to GAAP and the perceived benefits, FASB’s Board concluded the benefits justify the proposed change. The Board also decided to provide for an exception to the lease classification test where the lease term criterion will not apply for leases that commence “at or near the end” of the economic life of the asset, with a reasonable approach deemed to be where a lease commences in the final 25 percent of the asset’s economic life. Where there is a change in the lease term or a lease option purchase assessment, FASB will also require a reassessment of the lease classification.

Where FASB and IASB differ. FASB elected to take a dual approach for lessee accounting, where lease classification is defined in the existing lease requirements — is it an installment sale or an operating lease? The IASB is taking a single approach to lessee accounting, where all leases would be considered finance leases. FASB will retain for the most part the Qualitative Disclosure Requirements proposed in the 2013 ED, while IASB will require the lessee to provide additional information and will provide a list of specific disclosure objectives and examples to assist the lessee with compliance guidance. On Quantitative Disclosure Requirements, the two groups also differed on several items, but both agreed not to require a lessee to disclose a reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of its lease liabilities. (For more information, please visit the FASB website.)

The implementation of these changes will require effective planning, communication and collaboration between finance and accounting, IT functions, operations, and much more. While 2018 may seem far into the future, preparation needs to starts soon to make strategic decisions that will guide the implementation and the impact to the financial health of the organization. How well the change is managed will help identify new leaders who demonstrate their ability to adjust to a changing environment and provide critical leadership that engages the entire organization.   

Note: This post is for informational purposes only; to learn more about FASB/IASB requirements, go to www.fasb.org.

FASB/IASB ChangesStanley is the CEO of Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE International), a membership-based, not-for-profit organization committed to the collaborative development and implementation of global real estate information standards.

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In Seattle, Martin Selig Real Estate Invests In Pressure Boosting System

Confronted by a failing domestic water booster pump at one of the downtown commercial properties managed by Martin Selig Real Estate, chief engineer Phil Boyd began searching for options to repair the existing tri-plex boosting pump system.

The booster station serves the 43-story commercial office building at 1000 2nd Ave., located blocks from the Puget Sound waterway. Such high-rise buildings—including hotels, multifamily, office and other institutional applications—require pressure boosting equipment to raise incoming municipal water pressure to serve upper floors. Demand for water in such multi-story buildings can vary significantly throughout the day, and this unpredictable flow places extraordinary demands on pumping equipment.

domestic water booster

The original vertical triplex booster pump system (20HP and two 30HP) at the Martin Selig Real Estate headquarters building at 1000 2nd Ave. was 27 years old and lacked reliability and not equipped with modern energy efficient options.

Boyd planned to repair the pumping station until Corey Rasmussen, sales manager at Grundfos, a global provider of pumps and pumping systems, suggested that the property management’s investment would be better spent on a new, more efficient water boosting system. To support this recommendation, Rasmussen advocated an independent energy audit to determine the building’s actual pressure requirements, given the condition of the existing 27 year old pumps.

“We had absolutely no doubt that we could significantly lower the operating costs of the existing unit by using intelligent, demand-based pump technology,” recalls Rasmussen, who nonetheless provided Boyd the $17,000 repair quote. “The problem, however, was convincing a price-conscious customer to invest in new technology instead of rebuilding the decades-old pressure boosting pumps and motor drives.”

Ultimately, Rasmussen suggested to Boyd the Grundfos Hydro MPC BoosterpaQ, an integrated pressure boosting system that would deliver the exact pressure necessary to achieve optimal performance — without direct human intervention. Ideal for water supply systems, as well as municipal boosting, water transfer, and industrial applications, these integrated pumping systems utilize an advanced controller to adjust pump speed and stage additional pumps as necessary to meet specific pressure demand. 

domestic water booster

Phil Boyd, chief building engineer of Martin Selig Real Estate, pictured in front of the company’s downtown Seattle headquarters at 1000 2nd Ave.

“Initially, Martin Selig was looking at the possibility of rebuilding the existing pump station. After looking into the costs, we realized it made better sense financially to upgrade to a more energy efficient system,” says Boyd.

Energy Audit
In order to demonstrate the value of replacing rather than repairing the pressure boosting system, Rasmussen contacted Grundfos colleague Roger Weldon, C.E.M., LEED AP, Energy Optimization Engineer, to arrange a pump audit. Weldon has extensive experience with this type of application and traveled to the site to install the pump audit equipment (flow, power, pressure meter/loggers) onto the existing pressure boosting system. The pump audit equipment recorded performance data for a two-week period.

According to Weldon, “The data derived from the pump audit allows us to select the optimum replacement system that is often substantially smaller and less costly to purchase and operate. Additionally, the data we collect is used to apply for utility incentives, which help to boost the company’s return on this capital investment.”

The Current System
The pumping station employed a pressure boosting system that was installed when the building was constructed in 1987. “The building’s existing pressure boosting system, which consisted of one 20 horsepower (hp) and two 30 hp vertical turbine pumps, ran at full speed and the pressure was controlled by pressure regulating valves that significantly reduce the system’s overall efficiency, and would require scheduled annual maintenance,” recalls Boyd.

domestic water booster

The Grundfos Hydro MPC BoosterpaQ is an integrated pressure boosting system for water supply systems. Today, this system delivers domestic water to the 43-story Martin Selig Real Estate building at 1000 2nd Ave. in Seattle.

Due to the simplistic control technology employed, one of the pumps ran 24 hours a day regardless of flow demands, which are significantly lower during overnight and weekend periods when the building is unoccupied. The current control scheme not only wastes electricity but also decreases the equipment’s life expectancy from the excessive heat and hydraulic forces generated from operating when there is no flow demand.

One way to leverage the savings realized by moving from a constant-speed pumping system to a variable-speed, demand-based platform is to apply for a utility incentive. Weldon worked with the local utility, Seattle City Light, a publicly owned electric power utility, to secure a large power reduction incentive for Martin Selig. 

“After the new Hydro MPC BoosterpaQ was installed, the Utility’s technical metering team monitored the power consumption of the pressure boosting equipment over a two-week period starting at the end of August 2014 to account for changes in load demand, and compared this data against the estimated power consumption of the new unit,” explains Lisa Frasene, energy management analyst for Seattle City Light.

Notes Frasene, “Incentives are based on total annual kilowatt hour (kWh) savings over the first year of the project. Combined rebates from all utilities may not exceed 70 percent of project costs and the incentive amount is capped to a minimum payback period of six months.” Seattle City Light is currently offering an incentive rate of $.27 per kWh reduction in the first year of operation for this type of project.


First year costs projected from the audit for the 1000 2nd Ave. property are:

  • System cost — $61,521
  • Utility Incentive — +$29,328
  • Annual cost/energy savings — +$7,604 (86% reduction – savings of 108,624 kWh per year)
  • Repair costs avoided — $17,000
  • Total 1st year cost = $4,024

“With an annual estimated energy savings of 108,624 kWh, or $7,604, the high efficiency pressure boosting system would qualify for a one-time incentive payment in the amount of $29,328,” continues Frasene. “Simple payback is estimated to be 5.1 years, and each year thereafter, the business will save an estimated $7,600 in reduced electric bills.”

“In recent years, variable frequency drive technology has become more affordable and critical in bringing intelligent speed control to a number of commercial pumping applications, including domestic water boosting,” explains Rasmussen. “The ability to adjust the pumping system output based on system demand was the primary reason we knew we could significantly reduce energy consumption for this building.”

Success Leads to Similar Upgrades
Due to the success of the booster pump retrofit at the 1000 2nd Avenue location, Boyd got the green light to make similar upgrades at two more downtown office buildings.

The second retrofit was located at 2101 4th Avenue, which is also known as the Fourth and Blanchard building. The facility is a 25-story office building in downtown Seattle. The results from the Fourth and Blanchard building were similar to the 1000 2nd Avenue project, except the utility incentive was lower because the building is not as tall and the pump system is smaller, thus consuming less energy. 

Following these two successful retrofits, Rasmussen and Weldon completed an energy audit on a third commercial property managed by Martin Selig. The audit for a 12-story high-rise, located at 2401 2nd street (Fourth and Battery), examined the building’s existing duplex pressure boosting system with full-speed 5 hp end-suction pumps. The power reduction in this third application yielded 94% energy savings, but due to the system’s size, the kWh savings are less than the first two buildings and therefore the utility incentive is less.

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Colorado Launches Commercial PACE Program

c-pace-coloradoColorado’s New Energy Improvement District has launched a statewide commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program – providing commercial property owners a unique mechanism to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water-conservation improvements. The C-PACE program offers commercial property owners the opportunity to spread energy and water project costs over a term of up to 20 years, and repay them through an assessment on their property tax bill, with no upfront capital outlay.

“Commercial buildings currently account for about 20% of Colorado’s energy use. Colorado’s commercial PACE program offers a financial tool to help spur energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in our state’s building infrastructure, providing long-term utility savings, while stimulating the economy,” said Paul Scharfenberger, chairman of the New Energy Improvement District board.

The program provides financing for a variety of improvements, including new heating or cooling systems, lighting, water pumps, insulation, solar panels and other renewable energy projects. Typical long term C-PACE financing covers 100% of a project’s cost and is repaid, for up to 20 years, in semi-annual payments that are structured as a regular line item on the property tax bill.  When a property is sold the PACE assessment stays with the property and transfers to the new owner who, in turn, enjoys the ongoing utility cost-savings associated with the project.

Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS) was competitively selected as the Colorado C-PACE administrator and will oversee an open, competitive lending model that makes it possible for a wide variety of capital providers to participate. All projects will be financed entirely with private funds, allowing local lenders, national banks, and PACE capital providers an opportunity to finance projects.

“C-PACE provides commercial and industrial building owners with an attractive way to finance capital intensive building modernization projects. The resulting energy savings typically outweigh the annual assessment payment thereby enabling cash flow positive projects,” said Brian J. McCarter, CEO of SRS, administrator for the Colorado C-PACE program.

Eligible properties include office buildings, hotels, retail, agricultural, non-profits, industrial buildings and multi-family properties – with five or more units. Projects must be located in counties that have opted to participate in the program. Boulder County has opted-in, and several other counties around the state already have indicated that they plan to participate.

For more information, visit the Colorado C-PACE website.

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Tsinghua University Students Win CoreNet Global’s First Academic Challenge

CoreNet-Global-Academic-Challenge“Orchestra,” a proposed system of coordinating the many facets of corporate real estate (CRE) developed by a team of students from China’s Tsinghua University, has won the first-ever Academic Challenge presented by CoreNet Global.  The student team and the university will each receive $10,000 for winning the challenge.

The goal of Orchestra is to close the gap between the speed of real estate and the speed of business, according to the team’s entry. “We are trying to reduce the days, weeks or months between the realization of the existing need of more space (office space, manufacturing space, storage space, and other types) and its final delivery in form of usable area,” according to the team’s application.

“The gap between the speed of business and the speed of corporate real estate is a persistent challenge in our profession,” said Dean Jordan, Senior Director of Business Development, University & External Relations. “These students took on that challenge and developed an innovative solution that not only impressed the judges, but also demonstrated the potential to be further developed and applied in real world settings.”

Orchestra is a conceptual project extranet software, which would be managed by the CRE department, and operate in real time through the cloud in PC and mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) with several objectives:

  • Store standardized information of the various functions of corporate real estate — to compare their compatibility for any specific project
  • Control the transfer of information among the stakeholders
  • Process the information generated during transactions to provide for more transparent and efficient decisions made by the CRE department
  • Integrate the CRE management of the corporation in any city or region around the world into one central control data base that provides real time information as required by the head managers or shareholders

Credit: Tsinghua University

In its entry, the student team said that Orchestra closes the gap by reducing the time required to deliver information and share feedback, storing and providing access to project history, allowing global integration with instant access to worldwide corporate portfolios and creating open spaces where managers, consultants and contractors can see each other and make decisions in a more transparent environment.

CoreNet Global launched the Academic Challenge, which is sponsored by Cushman & Wakefield, earlier this year. Real estate, human resources and technology typically rank among the top three expenditures of most corporations, and corporate real estate executives manage millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars of assets across the globe. The academic challenge is part of CoreNet Global’s strategic priority of strengthening its relationship with academic institutions around the world in order to grow the pipeline of talent into the challenging, rewarding, and often overlooked career of corporate real estate.

In its first year, the competition attracted 78 registered teams from 190 students at 65 universities in 26 countries. CoreNet Global plans to conduct the Academic Challenge yearly. It is open to students interested in creating corporate real estate solutions around the globe.

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FM Compliance: Don’t Ignore These Seven Areas

In new research, JLL acknowledges the challenge to ensure critical global compliance goals across multiple dimensions are achieved.

Optimized Energy Use: A Washington, DC Case Study

A provider of commercial real estate (CRE) energy management solutions, MACH Energy is focused on demonstrating that efficiency upgrades for buildings do not have to be costly, invasive, or time-intensive. For property owners and managers, MACH’s cloud-based energy management software platform can provide actionable multi-utility analytics, increase ENERGY STAR scores, and ease daily tasks such as budget reporting and tenant billing. These features, states the firm, are allowing MACH to dismantle the misconception that green buildings have to be designed from the ground-up for optimized energy use.

Regardless of age, size, or occupancy, all commercial buildings can use electricity, water, gas, heat, and steam more efficiently and cost-effectively. MACH’s interface pinpoints and leverages the data that makes this possible: analytic Insights, or energy-use metrics and benchmarking, are processed into practical initiatives, or actionable changes that can be applied to a building’s hour-by-hour, or minute-by-minute, functionality.

The Challenge: Reduce Energy and GHG while Improving ENERGY STAR scores

Based in Washington DC, Carr Services provides property operations services to Carr Properties-owned and third-party owned commercial real estate investment companies. Carr was looking for a portfolio-wide energy management platform that could be used to drive operational changes, reduce energy use and expense, improve ENERGY STAR scores, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and raise awareness about energy conservation across the portfolio.


Building Profile: Floyd D. Akers Building, 1255 23rd Street NW, Washington, DC
Location: West End
Year Built: 1983
Year Renovated: 2009
Number of Floors: 8
Building Size: 337, 983 SF
Average Floor: 40,000 SF
Elevators: 7
Energy Star Score (2008): 78
Energy Star Score (2015): 88
LEED Certification: Gold
HVAC: Central plant chillers and air handler with mix of pneumatic and DDC controlled VAV boxes, with resistance heat in the perimeter DDC VAV boxes

MACH’s Approach To Energy And Operational Savings
Using energy and weather analytics that have been developed and proven over the last decade in millions of square feet of commercial office space, MACH Energy’s CRETech software identified specific issues that needed to be addressed in order to reduce electric usage. An automated analysis and trending tool, the company’s Insights platform identified operating days that demonstrated unusual energy usage from weather adjusted norms. Industry and regional baselines were then used to identify improvement opportunities such as early startup, late shutdown, and cyclic and “spike” oriented equipment operations. Deeper analysis and expert help were also administered from MACH’s Client Services Group to review automated recommendations, to explore strategy alternatives, and to develop specific plans to improve operations.

This attentiveness to catching operational “stray” that leads to energy waste is a key ingredient to high-performing buildings. Using data provided by MACH Energy, Carr was able to make operational changes that resulted in energy reductions and cost savings across the board. These changes included:

  • Earlier building equipment shutdowns 

  • “Coasting” the building as shutdown approached, turning off chillers and letting chilled water set points rise 

  • Using free cooling / economizer settings whenever possible 

  • Walking the building to get to know the tenants and their personalities in order to understand how to adjust zones to avoid hot/cold calls

At 1255 23rd St NW, Carr Services was able to achieve all of the operational improvements initially targeted, even while building occupancy increased by 9%. Over a one-year period, these achievements included: $24,000 in cost savings, 7.6% energy reduction, and a five-point ENERGY STAR score increase.

“As a result of our efforts and MACH Energy’s support, we have been saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for tenants over the years, improving tenant satisfaction and increasing the value of our assets. Now we have our entire portfolio on MACH Energy with strong companywide enthusiasm for the program,” said Richard W. Greninger, Managing Partner, Carr Services.

This ENERGY STAR score improvement placed the property almost 10 points above the average building in DC that year. Since adopting MACH’s energy management solutions, the building has experienced a marked upswing in ENERGY STAR performance and has consistently ranked at least five points above the average DC building. This improvement is clearly visible in the Floyd D. Akers Building’s 10-point jump from a 78 ENERGY STAR score in 2008 to 88 in 2015.

On the whole, Carr Properties realized significant energy and operational savings by using MACH Energy’s on-demand energy information and management CRETechnology. An added benefit was improved forecast and budgeting accuracy that required less administrative time. One example of this type of achieved savings from operational changes was a reduction in midday energy demand during the summer by 250 kW, from 1250 kW to under 1000 kW (see graphs below).

All of these improvements were achieved without costly capital energy projects at the site and consisted solely of changes to operational procedures, operating set points, and building management.


Reductions in peak demand at the Floyd D. Akers Building is shown in these Before (above) and After (below) graphs. Operational changes delivered this reduction in midday energy demand during July 2015—from 1250 kW to under 1000 kW.


Click graphs to enlarge.

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CRE Industry Consolidation Adds To Information Management Challenges

By Lisa Stanley

2015 has seen significant consolidation in the real estate service provider and software sectors serving the corporate real estate market. CBRE has purchased Johnson Controls, DTZ merged with Cushman & Wakefield, and MRI Software acquired Cougar Software, among others. This industry consolidation is expanding the global footprints of these organizations and with it an increasing need for attention to compliance and regulatory oversight issues. Timeframes for due diligence are also getting shorter in some markets with evaluation and decision making on whether to proceed now required in days and weeks not months. As a result, data integrity is key to these transactions through the due diligence process and beyond.data integrity

With consolidation comes challenges — additional platforms that don’t communicate with each other for collecting and analyzing data, managers of these platforms who aren’t accustomed to communicating with each other, and an expanded client base that expects a consistently high level of service regardless of the internal issues that accompany consolidation for their vendors and business partners.

How can an organization manage the integration of the data effectively with the complexities of regulatory compliance? The first step of the transformational change is acknowledging the difference between information and data. Information is the key — it’s derived from the data collected and drives decision — making at all levels of the organization. An Information Strategy and Roadmap is needed that implements standards as a building block for the framework using the following steps:

  • Incorporate standards requirements into RFPs for systems and services.
  • Use a standards approach as core to systems integration with business partners.
  • Design an information model built upon standards.
  • Develop functional and systems requirements that are built on standards.
  • Integrate corporate data governance procedures into all aspects of the plan.

The next step in the change process is to develop a clear value statement for standards that resonates with the C-suite. For some, this approach is a significant shift from one that has been focused on cost rather than value. Improved information quality builds a stronger data governance program, effectively addresses risk management and compliance issues, and improves benchmarking and performance. This value-based approach enables organizations to implement quickly and maintain agility, and makes on-boarding acquisitions faster not just locally, but globally.

Consistency and quality of information is integral to the process, starting with implementation of a data dictionary that ensures the use of common terms and definitions within the organization and with external business partners. Think of a data dictionary as a cohesive way to link outsourcing, systems, processes, and standards.

Once the framework is in place, the design and development phase offers an opportunity for constructive collaboration with key team members — maybe the first significant opportunity in an M&A environment to work towards a common goal. While a clear plan is important, it must also provide the flexibility to adjust throughout the project. Even well thought out plans can take longer than expected, and the decision-making pits speed of completion against value of information and cost. Knowing what’s most important to your corporate leadership team from the start will enable you to make the necessary adjustments as you move through the testing and implementation phases and the training and roll-out that follows.

A final word as you begin the planning process: it’s critical to remember that overhauling your firm’s information management strategy requires ongoing communication to all team members who will be affected by the change; too often it receives an inadequate amount of attention and resources. Questions to communicate include: What is the goal? Why is it important? How will this affect you? How long will it take? Each answer must be clearly messaged and reviewed throughout the testing and implementation process to achieve maximum success.

Lisa_StanleyStanley is the CEO of Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE International), a membership-based, not-for-profit organization committed to the collaborative development and implementation of global real estate data standards. She is also a member of the Real Street Tech advisory board.

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Five New Trends Shaping Commercial Real Estate Development

commercial-real-estate-developmentFive new trends are shaping commercial real estate development in the United States, according to new research from Prologis, Inc. The latest paper from Prologis Research — “A New Supply Paradigm: Five Trends Shaping Real Estate Development” — identifies the factors that are leading to a more disciplined development cycle compared to past cycles.

These factors include:

  1. Consolidation and institutionalization: Movement toward larger-scale institutions as key players.
  2. Greater aversion to and a measured appetite for risk: Changing attitudes by institutions–both on the equity side and the debt side.
  3. New lending constraints: Expanded banking regulations and a preference for relationship lending and institutional borrowers.
  4. Tighter talent pool: A shortage of real estate professionals with relevant development expertise.
  5. Better access to industry information: The ability to approach opportunities and risks proactively and in real time.

“The great recession laid the groundwork for more conservatism on new commercial development in the U.S.,” said Chris Caton, senior vice president, Prologis Research. “Today, key players are more disciplined and are in a better position to respond to shifting market dynamics.”

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Crelow Launches Services To Help CRE Tenants Find The Perfect Space

crelow-logoSmaller tenants looking for less than 5,000 square feet represent 80% of the office market, generally take the same amount of a rep’s time, but generate less revenue per deal than larger tenants. To make these tenants more attractive to tenant and landlord reps, Crelow has introduced three new services —Crebates™, Rep Matcher™, and Bid Requests™ — that will help smaller businesses find their perfect space. 

The services add to the capabilities of the Crelow Deal Board™, announced earlier this year, the first service in the commercial real estate industry that allows tenants to send out bid requests and have the market come to them.

“Crelow has only been in business for about 10 months but we’re excited to introduce three new services we believe will revolutionize the way commercial real estate is done. All three of these new services are available right now in both of our current markets, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Denver,” Jim Simpson, Founder and CEO of Crelow, wrote in his blog.

“Though much of what we do and how we do it has been enhanced with the release of these new services, the inspiration behind Crelow itself is unchanged,” he continued. “From the very first whiteboard session more than two years ago, Crelow has been designed from scratch with just one goal in mind: Put tenants in control and help them find the perfect fit in their next office.”


Crelow’s new marketplace has changed the way bids are created with a product called the Crebate™. Commissions paid by landlords to tenant reps can add significant cost to a lease deal. Instead, the Crebate helps landlords submit more attractive bids with a flexible tenant cash incentive. This incentive, paid directly to the tenant after lease signing, is created from the commission savings they derive by dealing directly with tenants who have submitted Bid Requests without tenant representation.


Rep Matcher™ 
Rep Matcher solves a problem for both tenant and rep. It gives reps access to prequalified tenants coming to them, and broadens the tenants’ opportunity to find a rep they feel comfortable with. Once they have filled out basic information about the size, style and move-in date of the office space they are seeking, the technology presents the tenant with a “gallery” of reps who specialize in what they are looking for and, with the click of a button, they can request an introduction.


The Bid Requester™
The Bid Requester™ web-app assists tenants in specifying the size, style, location, price and special requirements for office space that can help them attract and retain the right people. Bid requests are posted to the Deal Board and Crelow alerts landlord reps of bid requests in their area, so they can respond with competitive bids.

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iFunding Repays Largest Crowdfund Loan To Date

iFunding, a New York City-based commercial real estate crowdfunding platform, announced it has repaid its largest commercial loan to date for an investment in a $55 million construction project for two Courtyard Marriott hotels and an office building located in Stamford, CT. The deal offered participants an opportunity to investment with a $1 million mezzanine loan alongside a Forbes 50 Family Office. The real estate loan was repaid ahead of schedule.crowdfund loan

“iFunding takes pride in offering its investors opportunities to participate in large commercial projects,” said William Skelley, iFunding founder and CEO. “By partnering with highly regarded organizations in the real estate industry, we are able to deliver the best investments for our investors.”

This was iFunding’s second project in conjuncture with the family office, which has brought five deals to the iFunding real estate crowdfunding platform. Seaboard Properties was also involved as the project sponsor for the $55 million project. That firm owns and manages a portfolio of diverse commercial and residential properties.

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