By Bob Carson, EVP, Levin Management
Green Products Help Both Business and the Environment
This month, more than a billion people in 192 countries are expected to take action to protect the environment in observation of Earth Day (April 22). Sustainability is always top-of-mind in the retail real estate industry, with property owners, managers and tenants all involved in the effort. At Levin Management, our property management services team is committed to using the best in planet-friendly products and processes.
Energy Efficiency is the Goal of Our Property Management Services
Energy efficiency has always been our top priority. Years ago, the emphasis was on controlling the expenses of heating, cooling and lighting the buildings in the properties we managed. Today, we’ve got a dual goal: cost-control and environmental sustainability, with a special focus on solar power, LED lighting and high-efficiency roofing.
Levin is in the final stages of our first solar project, at Capitol Plaza in Ewing, N.J. With Vanguard Energy Partners of Branchburg, N.J., a national solar construction firm, we’re installing rooftop panels at 1001 Spruce Office Center, the property’s office component.
We anticipate a significant drop in annual utility costs by supplementing electric power with this clean, alternative energy source. Besides lower bills, N.J. property owners, who install solar, benefit from tax rebates and sustainable renewable energy credits, which are market-traded certificates.
Based on our positive experience in Ewing, we’re exploring additional solar opportunities. A number of clients and larger big-box tenants have expressed interest in undertaking similar projects.
More Powerful LED Lighting is a Practical Energy Solution
LED bulbs are both energy efficient and long lasting. Their typical lifespan is four to nine years, depending on the specific use, which curbs the costs of both materials and operation.
We’ve been using LED lighting at shopping centers for years but were limited by their low illumination levels. Recent technological advances have corrected that problem. Now we’re transitioning all the parking lot lighting at Warren Plaza in Washington, N.J. to LED – with great results. We’ll be bringing LED lighting to other sites under our management soon.
New Roofing Products Provide Improved Insulation
Our property management services team likes the good news in roofing. The newest products on the market have a higher R-value, meaning they do a better job of limiting heat loss. That improved insulation equals less energy usage and lower heating costs.
New code regulations require that commercial owners use these energy-saving materials in both new construction and re-roofing. In other words, this sustainability measure is a mandate – not a choice. The catch? The cost of R-value materials is between $1.25 and $1.50 per square foot more than traditional products. Owners can expect to recoup that outlay over time with lower heating bills.
Roofs with a high R-value definitely make a property more marketable. More and more, prospective tenants – particularly national retailers – are looking for this type of roofing. They realize that, in addition to promoting sustainability, higher R-value roofs reduce operating costs. Many prospective tenants, in fact, will choose a property with an energy-efficient roof over one with traditional roofing.
Going Green Makes Good Business Sense
Earth Day reminds us of our responsibility for the environment. At Levin, our property management services team is always on the lookout for new ways to boost the value of the shopping centers we manage. We’re glad that many of the best measures for protecting the bottom line also protect our planet. Owners and operators who embrace these opportunities get a double win: enhanced property values and reduced carbon footprints. And those are both good things!