Zerofootprint Screens Will Show Energy Use for 7,500 Office Occupants

Oxford Properties Group is to use Zerofootprint Inc.’s VELO platform to convey real-time energy use from its Royal Bank Plaza in Toronto to the building’s tenants.

The VELO system will display energy usage data showing how the building’s 7,500 occupants – from tenants that include Royal Bank and JP Morgan Chase – consume energy throughout the day. The data will be displayed on big screens in the building’s lobby.

Once people begin to see the 2.1 million square foot complex’s energy usage in real time, occupants will rethink their own energy footprint within the building and begin turning unneeded appliances and lights off, Zerofootprint says.

Changing tenant behavior is the one remaining untapped resource for energy efficiency in buildings, Zerofootprint says. Unless occupants are fully on-board with an energy savings drive, then there may well be potential savings that go unrealized. Oxford Properties says the success of its Sustainable Intelligence
energy-efficiency platform is dependent on engaging people.

In a column for Environmental Leader, Michael C. Polentz and Clayton B. Gantz of law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phllips named split incentives between landlords and tenants over energy use as one of the hurdles to the completion of retrofits of commercial buildings.

The column cited green leases as one possible solution to the problem. Such leases, when drafted and negotiated properly, “combined with the ability to measure energy consumption on an outlet-by-outlet basis, motivates tenants to reduce consumption of energy, to produce less waste, to reduce water usage, and to utilize environmentally friendly office furnishings and equipment,” according to Polentz and Gantz.

In 2011, real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle saved its clients 912 million kWh in its US managed portfolio. In 2011, this figure increased to 963 million kWh. But the energy savings did not translate into monetary savings, according to figures in its latest sustainability report.

In September, cleantech software company Lucid and announced a partnership aimed providing real-time energy usage for thousands of commercial buildings across the US. The team-up means that anyone can type in an address and access performance data for the more than 60,000 buildings listed on the platform.

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