The Internet of Things and Benchmarking

by David Mintz on August 29, 2017 , Comments Off

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for quite some time now, you’ve heard of the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things, or the IoT, refers to the connection of random electronic devices to the internet. It’s more than just smartphones, laptops and Google Glasses that can be accessed online these days. In our increasingly online world, a heart monitor, kitchen appliances and cars can all be connected to the IoT.

According to tech experts, the IoT is just getting started. The number of devices that can connect to the internet is expected to more than triple by 2020, from 10 million to a whopping 34 million!

Why bother connecting all these devices to the internet? The answer is quite simple. By being accessible online, devices can collect and exchange data seamlessly, allowing for easy modification, greater efficiency and remote adjustments.

For example, say you’re on the way home after a long day’s work and you’d like an ice-cold beer when you finally stumble through the door. Using the IoT and a connected fridge, you can adjust the refrigerator’s cooling settings to turn the drinks inside ice-cold by the time you arrive home.

Sounds cool? That’s not all. You can also set your lights just the way you like them while still on the highway and crank up the AC unit so that you’re house is sufficiently cooled off when you get home.

While it all sounds super convenient, you must be wondering what this has to do with landlords and compliance code. After all, you didn’t expect anything less from Jack Jaffa & Associates!

Actually, the IoT has everything to do with your work as a landlord. In fact, it will prove beneficial for nearly every business; The Business Insider predicts that IoT investments will generate $13 trillion for businesses by 2025.

As a landlord, though, the options are virtually infinite.

By installing an IoT device in your building, whether it regulates temperatures or controls energy usage, you can:

1. Utilize less manual intervention in managing the operation of your building.
2. Effortlessly gather and study information on your property.
3. Lower your energy output by monitoring the energy production and making suitable adjustments.
4. Predict, diagnose and correct maintenance issues and other problems before your tenants even notice them.
5. Alleviate security concerns for your tenants with real-time monitoring.
6. Take precautionary measures against adverse weather conditions with specialized weather sensors like the Nest thermostat.
7. Track high-traffic times with motion sensors to make better decisions about lighting and thermostat controls in public areas.
8. Attract potential tenants with a modernized, perfectly-controlled building, and lower energy bills.

While all of the above will help you save money and generate greater efficiency for your properties, perhaps the most important area where the IoT can save you time and resources as a landlord, is in the area of benchmarking.

Since Local Law 84 was enacted in 2009, all owners of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet have been required to track their annual usage of energy, gas, water and fuel, and to submit this data to a city agency. In 2018, the criteria for benchmarking will expand to include all buildings over 25,000 square feet as well.

The purpose of benchmarking is to make property owners aware of how much energy their buildings are expending, and to take any necessary measures to lower that amount. While benchmarking on its own may or may not lead a landlord to take steps towards greater energy efficiency, a proper IoT device can make benchmarking and lowering your collective energy output a whole lot easier.

Beacon technology, a facet of the IoT world, is a plethora of small devices that are usually powered via Bluetooth. These devices can be mounted nearly anywhere and can transmit information to a nearby receptor, which can then be accessed online.

You can stick a beacon behind a potted plant in your lobby, another in your elevator and more in your hallways. You can then track the energy, water, gas and fuel output that is generated in these areas, and use the information you are given to lower that output. Maybe you’ll decide to dim the lights in public areas when you find that very few people pass through them at certain times of the day. You might lower the AC controls in spots that barely see any traffic at all, or plug leaks you learn of through your beacon device. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. As a plus, since your benchmarking data is made available to the public, showing a lower use of resources will make your property more attractive to prospective tenants.

Aside from saving you money, though, beacon devices make benchmarking a cinch! All energy, gas, water and fuel expenditure data will be stored and collected, with minimal intervention on your part. All you need to do is make the one-time investment in the device and you’re all set.

It gets even better, though. A proposed bill, Intro 1632-2017, seeks to amend the administrative code of the city by giving each building a score based on their benchmarking data. This will be like a grade of sorts for the property, and obviously, the more efficient a building’s resource usage is, the higher score they will earn. Should this bill go into effect, using the IoT to track and improve your resource output will help you net a dream score. Obviously, the higher scores will draw more tenants to your property.

As always, Jack Jaffa & Associates is here to help you tow the line of NYC’s Compliance Code in the easiest, most efficient way possible!

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