FirstService Residential, North America’s largest residential property management company, is bringing the cost- and energy-saving initiatives of affiliate FS Energy to nearly 100 of its managed properties in Florida. This pilot program, which initially targets FirstService Residential properties from Miami to West Palm Beach, is expected to save approximately $11 million in combined costs over the next year.
FS Energy, a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation and a leading provider of energy solutions for multifamily properties, provides its industry-leading energy benchmarking and management programs exclusively to buildings in the FirstService Residential portfolio. One of FS Energy’s signature solutions is its Energy Report Card program, which benchmarks a building’s energy costs and usage against those of similar buildings to identify solutions and opportunities for improvement.Founded in 2010, FS Energy launched its benchmarking program the same year in New York City, working with FirstService Residential’s New York office to improve the energy usage and costs of over 500 of its managed high-rise buildings. To date, these programs have saved $19.3 million in cost savings and reduced these buildings’ carbon footprints by 68,630 metric tons, or 15.6 percent.
“FS Energy was created with the intent of providing a value-driven solution to our clients and a program that would also benefit the greater good,” said David Kuperberg, chairman of FirstService Residential in New York, who spearheaded the creation of FS Energy. “We are more than halfway towards our program goals with our New York portfolio, and we’re excited to see similar results as the FS Energy program expands to other key markets.”
The Florida rollout of FS Energy follows the program’s introduction to FirstService Residential’s Chicago portfolio earlier this summer. While heating is the main driver of energy usage and costs in northern markets, air conditioning is the primary cause of Florida’s energy consumption, which ranks as the third highest in the nation according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The Florida properties participating in the program have completed the benchmarking process, which provides the foundation to develop a customized energy management program for each building. This data is used to create a proprietary Building Energy Rating Guide (BERG) score card for properties. An analysis of a building’s energy performance and typology is conducted and then compared against similar buildings in the FS Energy Florida database to determine a BERG score on a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best). The BERG score is used to identify areas for improvement and reveal energy savings solutions that would be cost effective for the building.
According to Chris Normandeau, Director of FS Energy in Florida, the results have been surprising, proving that it was often the newer buildings in the portfolio that had lower scores and needed improvement. “The resurgence of South Florida’s condo construction boom is creating many resort-style living communities and properties,” said Normandeau. “The more grandiose the property, offering more amenities and onsite services, such as resort-size pools, landscaping and water features, the greater the operation and maintenance involved. This leads to higher energy consumption, resulting in higher bills and greenhouse emissions.”