Reducing ongoing monthly maintenance and energy costs is a goal of every homeowner. Whether it is by installing high-efficiency windows in your single-family home or looking for ways to reduce building energy costs for condominiums, the drive to increase energy efficiency and sustainability to thereby reduce monthly operating costs is an ongoing battle of the pocketbook.
For condominium residents, that battle is more difficult as they are not the final decision-maker. That responsibility lies with the building developer or more likely, the property manager, reporting to the condominium Board of Directors. All must work together to investigate ways to make their building and individual residences more energy efficient through efforts at ongoing sustainability to keep operational costs in check or ideally, reduced.
GPM Property Management is one such property manager in Toronto dedicated to searching for innovative ways to realize savings for its residents and condo boards while maintaining the optimal health for the condo properties it manages.
A prime example is a residential property it manages at Humber Bay Shores, Waterscapes at 80 Marine Parade Drive, where GPM took a unique course of actions towards improving an element of building management with the goal of delivering cost savings through innovative sustainability measures in HVAC and water use, and the resulting energy cost savings were impressive.
Built in 2014, Waterscapes is not an old building, but doors are continuing to open whereby cost savings are achievable regardless of when a building may have been constructed, such is the pace of, and advancements in new technology. The condominium, located between the QEW and Lake Ontario in South Etobicoke, is a distinctive round black façade modern tower of more than 30 storeys containing 344 residential units.
As a property manager now in its 50th year of operations, GPM manages more than 80 condominiums in the GTA, including Murano Condominiums, Crestview Place, and Landmark II, and its portfolio has grown by 51% in just the last five years. Over the years at Waterscapes, GPM has helped the condo board reduce costs by negotiating elevator costs and other major contracts such as security and cleaning while also bringing added efficiencies and service offerings to its residents in its continual search to bring about new tools and features to improve the condominium communities it serves.
At Waterscapes, GPM undertook a review to examine how the HVAC spend could be reduced to maximize the efficiency of the existing equipment in order to realize savings to help offset other costs.
“Condo property management is a rapidly evolving business,” Mo Killu, GPM’s Vice President of Community and Client Services, tells us. “We’re focused on being at the forefront of innovation to improve and enhance the lives of our residents and overall health of our buildings while providing significant and sustainable savings year-over-year.”
To bring forth the innovation required to realize those savings, GPM turned to Parity Inc., an energy management platform skilled at making buildings smarter, more efficient and environmentally responsible. To begin with, Parity undertook a complete building inspection and HVAC Energy Efficiency Assessment at Waterscapes. This included an engineering buildup for each individual process, factoring in equipment schedules, controls and seasonality, as well as a review of historical utility consumption.
The Assessment revealed the current annual energy cost at the building was close to $280,000. That’s when Parity implemented its technology to drive down that cost, by collecting the system data to establish current energy consumption and demand patterns of the property and then applying advanced machine learning algorithms to maximize the operational and energy efficiency of the existing HVAC system. To minimize energy waste year-over-year, Parity factors in predictive weather and occupancy and uses all of the composite data points to assign setpoint inputs, motor speeds and run-time commands to all of the equipment which supplies heating, cooling, ventilation and water.
"The results are in our name, Parity,” says CEO Brad Pilgrim. “When the property management teams partner with us, their buildings only use the energy they need when they need it, while lowering CO2 emissions and saving energy across the board.”
As a result, at Waterscapes, the original $280,000 energy cost has been reduced by $68,133 annually, which adds up to a five-year savings of close to $330,000. Perhaps more significantly, the carbon emissions savings total 147,647 lbs of CO2, with the environmental impact to date being the equivalent of 1,062 trees planted.
GPM also focused heavily on water usage at Waterscapes by introducing to the condo board the ‘Smart Valve’, which significantly reduced water and sewage bills by 15 – 25% per year through a flow management device. This device stops residents from being charged for any volume of air that may be present in your water supply by compressing the air volume before it reaches your meter. It also prevents pressure drops from water usage from reaching the water meter and keeps the water meter operating within its designed flow range.
GPM has brought to Waterscapes innovative thinking and critical partnerships resulting in energy efficiency and lower operating costs to the benefit of its condominium residents, and through the resulting sustainability measures, benefits for the greater good as well.
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