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Workplace Water Efficiency. Quick tips to save water and money.

workplace water efficiencyThe summer months are upon us, and July’s heat and humidity are taking a toll…from droopy landscaping to cranked-up air conditioning units. It all adds up to a strong case for money saving water-efficiency practices in the workplace.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commercial and institutional buildings account for 17 percent of the nation’s yearly water consumption. In addition, over the past decade, water and wastewater rates have risen “at a rate well above the consumer price index.” The EPA warns that as municipal water systems age, building owners can expect water costs to increase to offset the cost of replacement.

The good news? There are some simple, cost-effective measures you can employ to conserve water and save on operating costs in your commercial building. The three biggest culprits when it comes to water usage in office buildings are restrooms, landscaping and HVAC equipment.

RESTROOM UPGRADES

Did you know that something as simple as a leaky toilet can waste as much as 21,600 gallons of water per month? That can cost up to $2,100 per year. Toilet and urinal flushing typically account for one-third of a commercial building’s water consumption.

Inspecting restroom faucets and other fixtures for leaks is a simple, yet impactful way to make sure you aren’t flushing water (and money) down the drain. You can also replace bathroom fixtures with more efficient models, such as low-flow or ultra-low-flow models. Look for plumbing fixtures certified by the EPA’s WaterSense Program. Certified products use 20% less water without compromising performance and include water-saving toilets and high-efficiency faucets.

OUTDOOR WATER USE

We’ve all seen it: A sprinkler system aimed directly at pavement or going full tilt during a rainstorm. The fact is, landscaping water usage can account for 20% of your facility’s water consumption, making it a great area to target when looking to conserve water and lower your bill.

There are a number of practices you can employ to conserve water outdoors and save money in the process, including using native plants, reducing grassy areas, weather-based and seasonal irrigation schedules (adding a rain sensor on your irrigation system and watering less on cooler days) and installing WaterSense-certified irrigation products. Even something as simple as fitting your hoses with automatic shut-off nozzles and spreading mulch around landscaping can save water and reduce evaporation.

HVAC COOLING SYSTEMS

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, water used in HVAC cooling towers accounts for almost all of an HVAC system’s water consumption.

The fact is, all cooling towers lose water through evaporation, drift (water lost when water droplets are transported in exhaust air), and blowdown (water drained from cooling equipment to remove mineral build-up) and, therefore, consume a significant amount of water. Keep your cooling towers in good working condition through regular inspection and maintenance so your system operates at peak efficiency.

workplace water efficiency

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, WaterSense program

Other ideas for conserving cooling tower water include investing in cooling towers that use recycled water, such as storm water and using cooling tower blowdown to water your landscaping.

Develop a Water Management Plan

It’s good practice to routinely monitor your facility’s water usage. If things seem off or you’re paying more than you anticipated paying, there’s a good chance you have efficiencies that can be corrected.

Develop a workplace water efficiency water management plan to cut down on water usage and trim your water bill. Because leaks are a major culprit, they should be one of the first things you look for. Check regularly for leaks and make repairs as quickly as possible. Swap your outdated fixtures for water-efficient ones. Adjust your landscape-maintenance routine based on seasonal and daily weather changes. A few minor adjustments can add up to major cost savings and help the environment in the process.


The Anderson Group knows small businesses. To inquire about commercial properties in The Anderson Group portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

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Not your father’s office space.

millennial office spaceOffice space planning for the millennial generation.

In today’s office environment, bigger isn’t always better. Gone are the days when each employee was treated to his or her own private office, racing up the corporate ladder to larger, more coveted offices.

According to a report by Property Portfolio Research, the size of the average American office has decreased by 21 percent over the past decade. And real estate data provider, CoreNet Global, estimates that American offices now average 151 square feet per worker. Put together, it provides fertile ground for workspaces that are more collaborative, more open, occupy fewer square feet and, yes, cost less. So just how much office space does your small business need?

The rule of thumb for office space planning is this: Think smart. Plan well. If you’re moving into a new office, reorganizing your current space, downsizing or “smart-sizing,” keep these three tips in mind when determining how much space you need.

  1. Make a List. Check it Twice.

Any good planning project begins with a list. If you’re planning office space, start early by defining your space. with a list of employees and their office space requirements. Maybe the boss needs an office, but Becky, George and Lisa need cubicles in a shared, open area. If you need a conference room, reception area, break room or storage space, you’ll want to add that in, too.

  1. Plan for Growth

Why spend time and money planning and outfitting your office space, only to outgrow it and do it all over again? If you plan for growth now (think three to five years out), you can avoid growing pains later. A good rule of thumb is to carve out 125 to 225 square feet of office space per employee. But if you plan to grow your company, don’t forget to add in those future employees.

  1. Get Technical

When planning your office space, don’t forget to include your technology needs, such as access to and wiring and cabling for computers, servers, fax machines, telephones, copiers and video conferencing equipment. It even includes break room appliances, such as a refrigerator and coffee machine. Think about where these items will live so your contractor can plan for them before you move in.

Search the internet for companies that specialize in it or property management companies that offer space-planning services. You’ll get an expert assessment of your current office space and future needs, including office workflow, space usage, amenities, energy efficiency, leasing costs and technology requirements. You could even save as much as 20% on your current occupancy costs and eliminate office space that doesn’t fit your needs.


For more information about space planning or to sign up for The Anderson Group’s Smart Office Audit, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

 

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10 Simple Ways to Reduce Office Waste

Save money, save time, save the planet. reduce office waste

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. commercial and manufacturing activities are responsible for as much as 45% of the 150 million tons of waste the country generates each year. In addition, transporting and burning this waste creates greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

What is your business or office building doing to reduce office waste and its carbon footprint? If the task of managing and reducing office waste seems daunting, fear not. The reality is that it’s not difficult at all. And small changes can add up to big dividends.

Consider these 10 simple tips to help your company and office building improve waste management operations, reduce costs and enhance sustainability.

1. Buy Recycled Paper

It’s an easy first step: Purchase chlorine-free paper with recycled content. According to RecycleWorks, buying 20 cases of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 390 gallons of oil, 7000 gallons of water, and 4100 kwh of energy, in addition to eliminating 60 pounds of air-polluting emissions and 8 cubic feet of landfill space.

2. Get Comfortable Going Paperless

Before you hit “print,” determine if it’s something you really need on paper. Can it just as easily sit on your hard drive for access when needed? Much of what we print at the office is set aside and then discarded without a second glance.

3. Reuse Boxes and Packing Material

When you get a shipment, save the box and packing materials to use when you have a shipment going out. You can also shred old documents and reuse them as packing material.

4. Buy Used or Remanufactured Furniture

In the market for office furniture? Check Craigslist for inexpensive used furniture, or purchase like-new remanufactured furniture at a fraction of the cost from a dealer near you.

5. Reduce Your Junk Mail

Take a periodic look at the junk mail your office receives. Unsubscribe from lists and publications you no longer need. Call companies and advertisers and tell them to remove you from mailing lists. And make the switch to digital delivery of publications and newsletters you still want.

6. Reduce or Replace Paper and Styrofoam Coffee Cups

Consider getting rid of your company’s supply of disposable cups and encourage employees to bring in their own reusable mugs.

7. Replace or Properly Dispose of Your Single-Use Batteries

Invest in rechargeable batteries and battery chargers for small office devices like cameras. It’s less expensive over time and much better for the environment. If you do stick with single-use batteries, be sure to dispose of them properly.

8. Buy Recycled Toner Cartridges

Save money (typically 15% to 50% per order) and landfill waste when you buy toner cartridges that have been refurbished and refilled. When the toner runs out, simply package up your cartridge and send it back to the manufacturer for reuse. Contrary to popular belief, remanufactured ink cartridges do not damage your print heads or result in poor print quality.

9. Make Paperless Payments

Ask vendors to send your bills electronically. Online billing is greener, quicker and more secure than paying by mail. According to PayItGreen.org, a 20% reduction in paper-based billing cuts gas consumption by 102,945,600 gallons, prevents nearly 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and saves 1,811,275 trees.

10. Make the Switch to Compact Fluorescents

When your light bulbs burn out, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent bulbs. They’re more energy efficient and last longer than traditional bulbs, which saves money and the environment.

Dave Eck, maintenance manager with The Anderson Group, says commercial property managers who understand the benefits of sustainability programs reap rewards in terms of tenant loyalty and the bottom line.

“We practice energy efficiency throughout our property portfolio, and we help our tenants save money with Smart Office Audits. We helped one company save $50,000 by retrofitting their light fixtures,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager with The Anderson Group. “Successful waste management needs to be an ongoing, well-publicized, company-wide initiative.”


The Anderson Group helps keep your business running. For information about commercial property management services or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

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How Do You Take Care of a Spotted Zebra? Ask The Anderson Group Property Management Co.

The Spotted Zebra wanted to run its center not worry about property management.

The Spotted Zebra Learning Center is a state-of-the-art, year-round, preschool program designed to prepare children of all abilities for kindergarten and the state’s high learning standards. The learning center and its programs, formerly located on Kross Keys Drive in Albany, became so popular that they simply ran out of room. So executive director, Sheri Townsend, began the search for a larger facility.

property management

Back: Jane Schulke, bookkeeper; Jason Ford, activities coordinator; Matthew Ryan, director of programs
Front: Sheri Townsend, executive director; Shannon Harmon, director of special education programs

In 2013, the organization found one, purchasing the building at 26 Computer Drive, just off of Wolf Road. In doing so, the learning center increased its usable space from 4,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet.

“Our new building is three times the size of our old one,” Townsend says. “It gives us an opportunity to grow our services and meet our families’ and community’s needs.”

She says their old space was near a very busy road. The new space, however, has a yard for children to play in and is located on a dead end that abuts a quiet, residential neighborhood. Townsend says she likes that their location on Computer Drive makes the facility more centrally located to major highways. The Spotted Zebra draws students from around the Capital Region, from a 25-mile radius throughout the Capital Region.

And although The Spotted Zebra owns their building, they turn to The Anderson Group to manage it. The Anderson Group provides The Spotted Zebra with everything from housekeeping services and grounds maintenance to HVAC, electrical and plumbing services.

“We shopped around when we were searching for a property management company. As an agency, we need to follow the three-bid rule,” Townsend explains. “We put out a request for proposals. The Anderson Group’s proposal was the most comprehensive, and all of their client feedback was positive.”

As property managers, Townsend says The Anderson Group goes above and beyond.

“The Anderson Group is responsive morning, noon and night. Whenever I send an email or text, they respond immediately. Whenever we have an emergency issue, they are here very quickly,” Townsend says. “They are very meticulous. We are never left un-served.”


For more information about The Spotted Zebra Learning Center, visit their website or call (518) 438-4800. For more information about The Anderson Group’s property management services, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

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Office Temperature Check: Keeping your office cool when it’s hot outside.

office temperatureHere in upstate New York, temperatures and humidity levels can fluctuate wildly from one day to the next. This summer has already been a case in point—a heat wave one week and temps in the 60s the next.

Office temperatures have a powerful impact on employee productivity and performance. Researchers from Cornell University found that employees committed 44% more errors when office temperatures were cold than when they were warm

So what’s the best way to keep cool—or at least stay comfortable—those 8+ hours a day you’re at work? Start knowing this: You can’t please everyone. While one employee fans herself with a piece of paper, another is reaching for a sweater. Here are five quick and easy tips for keeping your employees happy and your office comfortable when temperatures flare.

  1. Layer up.

Hot? Cold? Be prepared either way by wearing layers. If you’re a business owner, consider implementing a casual dress code during the summer months so employees can leave the suits and ties at home in favor of lighter options.

  1. Stay hydrated.

“The rule of thumb is, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” says Dr. Irvin Sulapas, sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor University. When you’re dehydrated, you can become sleepy, irritable and confused. Dehydration can even lead to headaches and dizziness. Provide an office water cooler and encourage employees to use it by giving them company water bottles.

  1. Tune up and turn on.

Open windows and air conditioning don’t mix. In fact, it’s a combo that can wreak havoc on your employee comfort and your energy bill. Keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside by properly maintaining your air conditioning unit from coil to filter. This small measure helps ensure your AC unit runs efficiently and effectively throughout the summer months.

  1. Switch off and cool down.

We can sum this one up in one word: unplug. Unused and obsolete office machinery not only increases your energy bill, but also increases your office temperature. Unplug unused equipment and ask employees to turn off computers when they leave for the night. (Sleep mode still uses energy and contributes to office warming.)

  1. Use high-efficiency lighting.

Incandescent bulbs radiate heat and add to your bottom line during peak energy usage months. When you switch to high-efficiency lighting, such as LEDs, you’ll use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent. In addition, high-efficiency lights last as much as 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

As summer kicks into high gear, you might also consider getting an office energy audit—an expert assessment of how much energy your office consumes and measures you can take to make it more energy efficient.

“An energy audit is a good first step in making your office more comfortable, not just in the summer months, but all year long,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager for The Anderson Group. “When employers implement audit recommendations, they often see lower utility bills and more comfortable and productive employees during months with extreme temperatures in either direction.”

 


 

The Anderson Group helps keep your small business in great shape. For information about energy efficiency or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

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