Buildings' Energy Consumption Down, But Utility Costs Rising

Utility costs are rising dramatically, fueling an overall 10 percent higher cost to run a facility than just four years ago -- even though energy consumption is dropping, according an International Facility Management Association research report, "Benchmarks V: Annual Facility Costs." IFMA said the report shows that utility costs, including electricity, gasoline, fuel oil, steam water, and sewage, are up by 19 percent compared to similar data from 2006.<p>

Compared to IFMA’s 2006 benchmarking figures, average electricity consumption measured in kBTUs per square foot has fallen from 93 to 81; gas consumption has held steady at 35 kBTUs per square foot. The declinee in energy usage is attributable to energy conservation practices, lighting improvements and equipment upgrades at facilities, according to the association.<p>

“In recent years, many organizations have invested in their electrical and mechanical systems to make them more energy efficient,” said IFMA Associate Director of Research Shari Epstein. “Performing simple measures such as installing occupancy sensors, adjusting heating and air conditioning controls, and performing preventive maintenance checks to keep equipment running efficiently can make a measurable impact in reducing energy consumption.”<p>

The new report is based on a survey of 1,032 facility professionals from across North America. It covers costs including lease, maintenance, housekeeping, security, environmental, recycling, waste disposal, and space planning. It indicates expenses associated with environmental initiatives are also starting to increase, with the cost of recycling having doubled in the past four years, IFMA said.<p>

“In years past, organizations could generate a little income from recycling paper, cans and cardboard materials,” Epstein said. “With the current emphasis on sustainability, more organizations are stepping up their recycling efforts, even though it comes at an increased operational cost.” To learn more about the report or to order a copy, visit www.ifma.org/tools/research/benchmarks_v.cfm.<p>

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