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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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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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Going up? Why elevator maintenance is important in your office building.

You’re in a hurry, and the elevator is slow. So you do what any normal person in a rush would do: You punch the up button repeatedly, hoping it will speed up the process. In your heart of hearts, you know it does nothing. But it sure feels good.

In the big scheme of first-world work problems, slow or out-of-order elevators rank pretty high. After all, time is money, and for better or for worse, today’s workforce expects instant gratification.elevator maintenance

So what’s a tenant to expect, and what’s a building owner to do? Routine maintenance and constant assessment.

“A healthy elevator system is critical to the safety and productivity of a building’s tenants, whether it’s a commercial building or a residential building,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager at The Anderson Group. “We are vigilant about checking elevator function in our office buildings, and we know that sometimes the only option is full replacement of a system. It’s a big investment, but well worth it in terms of safety, efficiency, and peace of mind.”

The Anatomy of an Elevator

Like the human body, an elevator has hundreds of parts that must be maintained to prevent excessive wear and breakdown. Failure to do so can negatively impact everything from elevator response time and door operation to lighting, alarms and intercoms.

Although only properly trained and licensed elevator technicians should perform maintenance and tests on elevator equipment, good property managers and owners should periodically ride building elevators and compare their functions with manufacturer’s specifications to evaluate their performance. This is important not only to ensure tenant safety and satisfaction, but also because an elevator is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in a building—at initial purchase and throughout the elevator’s lifespan.

Elevator Care and Maintenance

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when you own or lease a building with elevators:

  1. Plan ahead. Elevator maintenance is governed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which requires facilities to have a written maintenance control program for its elevator systems. The point? To help ensure that building owners and managers create a regular maintenance schedule and stick to it to avoid preventable accidents. Check with your building owner and make sure he or she has a plan in place. If you own a building, be sure to get your plan in place before you need it.
  1. Be proactive. When you inspect and service your elevators on an ongoing basis, you run less risk of breakdowns and tenant complaints. Moving into an office building with elevators? Ask your property manager or landlord how old your elevators are and how often they are inspected. If you can, ask other building tenants how they’d rate the building’s elevator service and maintenance. Out-of-service elevators inconvenience tenants. Proactive maintenance can increase tenant satisfaction and extend the lifespan of your investment.
  1. Hire qualified contractors. Elevator repair is among the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry. Make sure that anyone and everyone servicing your elevators is educated and licensed in elevator repair. Having trouble finding certified elevator technicians in your area? The National Association of Elevator Contractors can help you find reliable elevator contractors in your area.
  1. Know the signs. Many building owners and managers don’t know or recognize the symptoms of an aging or malfunctioning elevator system early enough to avoid disruptive and expensive issues. Some issues are obvious, such as elevator downtime, increased service calls, and slow operation chief among them. Other issues, such as inefficient/high energy use, inconsistent power quality, and overheating, aren’t so obvious. And remember: Even well maintained elevators eventually need to be updated or replaced.
  1. Listen to your tenants. If you own or manage a building with an elevator, there’s one foolproof way to know if something is wrong with it: Your tenants will complain. And then their customers will complain. And when a poorly maintained elevator impacts their bottom line, it will impact yours, as well. Take tenant complaints seriously, and contact your contractor if you see, hear, or feel anything suspicious outside of your regular maintenance schedule. A service call is always cheaper than an accident.

Extending Your Elevator’s Useful Life

Elevators are standard in nearly every office building in the United States, and unless they’re malfunctioning, the millions of people who use them every day don’t give them a thought. Building owners and managers can help keep it that way—and save the headache and expense of repeat service calls or accidents—by establishing and executing a care and maintenance plan that doesn’t just address problems as they happen, but keeps things running smoothly between checkups.


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

 

 

 

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Happy Earth Day! 5 Ways to Green Your Small Business

Friday, April 22 is Earth Day, marking the 46th anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. What used to be a day celebrated by a few fervent environmental groups and activists is now a worldwide call to action embraced by individuals and major corporations alike. Good environmental stewardship benefits us all.

How can your business do its part? We’ll give you five business-centric ways to green your workspace and protect our planet at the same time.

1. LEED by Example

The U.S. Green Building Council says the average person spends 90% of his/her time indoors. That means the air we breathe and the light we’re exposed to should keep us healthy, happy and productive. You might think LEED only applies to building construction, but LEED for Interior Design and Construction (LEED ID+C) helps businesses that don’t have control over building construction or operations (office building tenants, for example) develop healthier and greener workplaces. Learn more.

2. Increase Your Efficiency

Your company can realize big returns on investment when you reduce your energy usage—not only in terms of cost savings, but also greater comfort for and productivity of the people who work for you. Look for office buildings that have an energy efficiency program in place. These programs often reduce tenant occupancy costs and provide a high-functioning workspace—a win-win. Energy efficiency programs often include energy-efficient roofing systems, LED lighting, and HVAC, as well as in-house expertise capable of monitoring and maintaining NYSERDA’s energy-efficiency standards. To learn how your office can make simple changes that add up to big savings, sign up for a free Smart Office Audit.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

It’s an old—but relevant—reminder, and it means more than recycling paper in the bin next to the copy machine. Ask employees to bring reusable mugs and water bottles to the office and do away with the disposable ones. Ask employees to think before they print, and buy recycled-content products for your office (on average, they cost approximately 5% more, but help reduce waste and pollution. From recycled paper and refillable ink cartridges to cell phones and computers, almost everything in your office can be recycled for future reuse.

4. Buy second-hand office furniture

When shopping for furniture and furnishings for your office space, consider buying used or remanufactured furniture. You can find deals on used office furniture on eBay and Craigslist, and you can find like-new remanufactured furniture (often restored to the original equipment manufacturer’s specifications but at a fraction of the cost of new office furniture) through your local office furniture dealers and remanufacturers. A quick Google search in your area should lead you to a number of resources for both. You can also choose to donate your old office furniture to save it from the landfill. Check the donation rules and regulations for your local Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity Re-Store to give your old furniture a second life.

5. Soak up the sun.

Green power takes many forms, including solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower, but all come from renewable energy sources and not fossil fuels. If you’re looking for new office space, look for buildings that have invested in renewable energy. The savings, in terms of reduced electricity usage and heating and cooling costs, indirectly and positively impact your bottom line by offsetting a portion of the electricity your building owner purchases from the utility. In addition, when your business benefits from renewable energy, you’re telling your customers that clean, sustainable, cost-efficient energy is important to you—a powerful message in this day and age.


 

To learn how to make your office space more energy efficient and reduce your carbon footprint, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com

 

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Meeting the Needs of the Millennial Workforce: A Primer

One in three American workers are Millennials (adults born between 1980 and 2000 and aged 19 to 35 in 2016). According to a Pew Research Center analysis, Millennials comprise the largest share of the American workforce.

Haven’t noticed? You will. By 2030, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. And with them come some major changes to the workplace—both in terms of how an office looks and functions. Attending to these Millennials’ needs will be key to attracting and retaining them and ensuring your company’s future success.

Understanding Millennials: Not business as usual

Millennial

Millennial Entrepreneur –  Michael DiPiazza Founder and Owner of JAD95, LLC. Office located at 125 Wolf Rd., Albany, NY.

Gone are the days of hiring a young professional who retires from your company decades later. Millennials typically stay in job for two years. The reason is twofold: 1) Millennials are an entrepreneurial generation willing to build their own ladder if they can’t climb yours, and 2) Millennials simply won’t stay in a job that doesn’t meet their needs and expectations.

Bentley University’s Center for Women & Business conducted a survey of 1,000 college-educated Millennials and found that Millennials “want to work hard, but they also want to work different.”

Say Goodbye to the Corner Office

If you haven’t heard about Google’s and Facebook’s offices, let us fill you in: nap pods, game rooms, all-you-can-eat cafeterias, and climbing walls. If you’re running a small business, these perks may be out of the question.

But if you think a fancy corner office is going to inspire legions of Millennials to rise from the cube farm and sit behind a big oak desk, think again. Millennials view such office constructs as old fashioned, non-collaborative, and inhibitive to creativity and information sharing. One fix is open office space.

According to the International Facility Management Association, 70% of offices had open layouts in 2015. It’s not surprising. Studies show that Millennials feel most comfortable in collaborative, uncluttered environments where they aren’t tethered to desks by cords and hard drives. Jonathan Webb, workplace strategist and vice president of KI Furniture, says companies that attract the best and brightest Millennials design offices that “emphasize sharing ideas, socializing, and treating workers equally.”

That means the corner office—and the partitioned cubicles all around it—represent unapproachable management and a major impediment to the free flow of important information. Lindsey Pollak, a leading voice on Millennials in the workplace, says Millennials “don’t equate space with worth” but rather “value flexibility and common areas that are set up for specific tasks rather than specific people.” Studies also show that Millennials like casual workspaces that remind them of college or home.

Michael DiPiazza, founder and owner of JAD 95, LLC, a dotcom company with offices at 125 Wolf Road in Albany, says the first thing he did upon moving into his new office was to hang a 60-inch flat screen television on the wall.

Remote Control

Employee requests to work from home used to make managers cringe. But advances in mobile technology have made working from home—or the coffee shop, airport, or anyplace with Wi-Fi—mainstream. According to a study conducted by oDesk and Future Workplace, 92% of Millennials want to work remotely, and 87% don’t want a typical 9-to-5 workday.

“Many Millennials would rather work from home than receive higher salaries. They value work life integration, not separation like older generations,” says Dan Schawbel, partner and research director at Future Workplace, in an article for Forbes.

DiPiazza, who is on the cusp of the Millennial generation at age 36, agrees.

“In my line of work, I jump around a lot. Today’s jobs don’t necessarily fit into that old 9-to-5 lifestyle,” DiPiazza says. “I worked hard for years to never have to report to an office 40 hours a week again. My days of sitting in an office all day are over.

But this penchant for remote access doesn’t rule out the need for a brick-and-mortar office. This is, after all, a social generation. To Millennials, an office serves as a touchstone, a place to check in and be part of a “work family.” Your company may need to loosen the reins to show that you support this new workforce mobility in order to be more attractive to Millennial workers.

“I have a start-up, and I need a home base,” DiPiazza says. “I like to get up and go to the office. When I get to the office, I know it’s game time.”

Embrace Technology

Millennials never experienced professional life without the Internet. It bears repeating. Millennials never experienced professional life without the Internet.

A study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Millennials at Work:

Reshaping the Workplace, states, “This is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of a key business tool than more senior workers.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because you and your company ultimately benefit.

The bad thing, notes the PricewaterhouseCoopers study, is that 46% of Millennials surveyed believe their bosses don’t understand the way they use technology in their work. It’s not entitlement; it’s that those clunky desktop monitors and pool of shared cell phones simply don’t cut it in this day and age. Today’s world is mobile, fueled by technology, and requires instant access to information for everybody. That translates into a heavy demand for technology—and employees who not only know how to use it, but how to harness its power for the good of your company.

For his part, DiPiazza is scouting his company’s future talent through career development offices at local colleges and universities.

“The combination of youth and technology is key,” DiPiazza says. “Today’s college graduates have a passion and technical skills that are difficult to find elsewhere.”

Get on Board

By all accounts, Millennials are hard workers. If your company is willing to offer engaging, flexible, creative work environments that meet their needs, you can expect great things from them. But don’t get too comfortable…you’ll be hiring Generation Z before you know it.


 

Ready to find or create Millennial-friendly office space? Contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

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