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  • Writer's pictureColliers | Columbus


Written by: Katie Kasas

Katie Kasas is a Senior Property Manager at Colliers | Columbus, managing around 3,000,000 SF of office, industrial, flex and retail space. Keep reading for Katie's take on managing commercial properties in the summer months.

How do you prepare commercial properties for the summer season?

We utilize springtime as a prep period to collect bids, select the right vendor, and execute contracts to complete items outside of our preventative maintenance/service agreements. Following the spring months, we complete window washing of the inside and outside once the spring rain has slowed down. We also pressure wash any exterior items as the temperatures begin to rise. As summer begins, we adjust our outdoor amenities. We will start up any ponds or fountains, bring out furniture, and change the lighting (if on a timer) so it is set to the correct time to allow tenants to enjoy the exterior space.

Landscaping and grounds maintenance are crucial in the summer, as tenants are outside more. This includes planting flowers, mulching, and regular lawn maintenance. If applicable, we turn on the irrigation system and address repairs as needed or within the budget. This allows the property to stay green and look great!

As for HVAC, we adjust stats to occupied/unoccupied during hours and move temperatures toward 70-72 degrees cooling. Our BAS (building automation system) allows us to control the system from any location. In addition, we complete preventative maintenance with our HVAC vendor in the spring to address any issues we may see before they arise.

What strategies do you use to handle increased landscaping and grounds maintenance during the summer months?

During the summer months, we collaborate with a landscaping vendor to properly maintain the overall landscape and curb appeal of the properties. This includes everything from cutting grass and pulling weeds to pruning trees. The contracted vendor prioritizes what is necessary at the property weekly and will provide costs and alternative routes for work outside of the agreed-upon contract. Our facility services team has daily/weekly recurring work orders, which include cleaning up exterior trash and grounds to help maintain the property's curb appeal.

Can you discuss your experience with managing HVAC systems during the summer? What preventive measures do you take to ensure they run efficiently?

We have HVAC preventative maintenance (PM) contracts with third-party suppliers for high-temperature summer months. They complete a summer start-up, a service in our PM agreement that starts up the cooling feature and allows troubleshooting to occur before the extremely hot temperatures. Following the “start-up,” we utilize the report and make the repairs as required or inform clients of what is necessary to have a smooth summer.

How do you manage energy consumption during the summer? Do you have specific strategies for reducing cooling costs?

The most significant item contributing to energy consumption in the summer is HVAC. If you can set a building automation system (BAS) into occupied and unoccupied settings, this will allow less power and usage for the units. If you do not have that access, running through the vacant units with your facility service technician or maintenance team and adjusting the units so they do not work so hard will allow for lower electric usage and fewer rooftop unit (RTU) repairs.

Many tenants decide to limit the lighting in their spaces and allow for natural light in the summer months. This is not only a benefit for them, but it can also impact their electricity bills. On the other hand, some tenants may choose to have their blinds down on windows to limit the heat that comes through, which can lower the usage of an HVAC unit. Therefore, window treatment/management is a great option to review as well.

Year-round, you can look at incentive programs or ways to save on demand for usage, which allows for year-round cost savings.

Are there any new tools or technologies for properties coming out in the future to help with some of the summer challenges that property owners should be aware of?

I would say updating a building automation system (BAS) or HVAC system can always help during the summer. As technology is always changing, so are the systems that run a building. Trane is a well-known HVAC vendor across the country, and they are constantly rolling out new updates or software to troubleshoot, test, and diagnose any systems you may have in place.

Lighting updates can play a crucial role in energy efficiency, and you can often integrate them into a BAS system. For instance, occupancy lighting is a solution that helps to reduce energy wastage by ensuring that lights are only on when the space is occupied.

Over the last few years, making buildings greener has been a big push. Finding ways to become energy efficient and more informed on the environment is always key. It's always good to know the incentive plans within your local jurisdiction of your buildings.


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