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August 2011

Multifamily Utility starts submetering and billing two new private multifamily portfolios

Multifamily Utility Company adds over 5,000 units to it's submetering and billing services. The two private portfolios consist of multifamily buildings with 50 to 200 units each.

It is estimated that these properties will reduce their water consumption by 15% to 40% within the next two months. With the continued water shortages in California and Nevada and the continual utility rate increases the owners of these properties are looking forward to the significant benefits submetering and billing.

July 2011

NYC Building Owners Approaching Energy Benchmarking Deadline

Under a recently enacted law aimed at increasing awareness of building energy performance, the owners of New York City’s largest buildings will be required to report energy benchmarking data to the city on Aug. 1.

The law, which is expected to affect approximately 16,000 properties in the city, requires the owners of commercial and multifamily properties that measure greater than 50,000 square feet to benchmark the energy performance of their buildings each year using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free benchmarking tool created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The buildings that are being targeted -- those of 50,000 square feet or more -- comprise half of the city’s floor space and almost 50 percent of its total energy consumption, according to city estimates. Buildings account for an estimated 80 percent of New York City’s carbon emissions, a substantially higher level than in other cities due to the sheer number and density of buildings in the city.

After receiving benchmarking submissions from owners, the city plans to begin posting benchmarking information for commercial buildings on a public web site next year. Energy benchmarking information for large multifamily buildings will be phased in during 2013.

Going forward, building owners will be required to submit updated benchmarking information to the city each May. More than 1.6 billion square feet in the New York metropolitan area has been ENERGY STAR benchmarked in the 10 years since EPA began the program for commercial buildings, according to 2010 data from EPA.

The law is part of New York City's Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, a package of new requirements and initiatives to increase the energy efficiency of New York City’s existing building stock. Supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the legislative components of the package were enacted in late 2009 and include benchmarking and disclosure, energy audits and retro-commissioning, lighting upgrades, sub metering and energy code improvements.

The Urban Green Council, a nonprofit environmental organization, has created a compliance checklist designed to help building owners comply with the city’s energy benchmarking law.

The city has already benchmarked thousands of municipal buildings and will make that information public this fall. Other jurisdictions with similar benchmarking and disclosure laws include Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and the states of California and Washington.


June 2011

SD city, county split over water submeters

SACRAMENTO

Legislation addressing the accuracy of submeters to gauge water use in apartments has divided the San Diego City Council and county board of supervisors.

But the local delegation has united behind the city, joining the full Senate in approving a measure that would allow submeters to be approved at national laboratories rather than being inspected by the county sealer.

As part of a drive to squeeze more savings, the city of San Diego is demanding more submeters in new construction of apartments, condominiums and certain businesses. The county sees it as a consumer protection issue.

“Assuring the accuracy of weights and measures is the core mission of the county sealer,” county lobbyist Jonathan Clay wrote in a letter urging lawmakers to oppose Senate Bill 744.

“Consumers have no means to determine if their water submeter is accurate or not,” he continued. As a result, Clay added, manufacturers would be left to “essentially self-certify” that the submeters are accurate.

But the city of San Diego has been lobbying for the bill, carried by Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Solana Beach.

Roger Bailey. the city’s director of public utilities, said in a letter that it’s been “challenging” to implement the city’s new submetering mandate for new construction. One reason is makers and suppliers have been reluctant to serve the California market.

“Under current state regulation, a submeter manufacturer may be held criminally responsible if his or her product does not pass inspection — even before it is installed,” Bailey told senators in his letter.

Allowing the manufacturer to check the submeter for accuracy would encourage distribution and help San Diego — and the state — continue aggressive water-saving directives, he wrote.

“Given the elevating costs and limited supply of water, the need for water conservation in San Diego is clear,” Bailey added.

Wyland, in his floor statement, noted the “tenuous” water supply and how installing submeters could encourage savings of up to 30 percent.

“If we are going to be serious about our water conservation goals, then submeters must be part of the equation and available to builders and consumers,” Wyland said.

The 28-8 vote on Tuesday June 1st sent the bill to the Assembly.

March 2011

Submetering key to Adobe’s latest LEED Platinum rating

While LEED Platinum ratings are still relatively rare for green buildings, design software developer Adobe Systems not only has earned one of them — it just scored its ninth.

Platinum is the highest designation that someone can claim for a building under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) initiative. The latest one being claimed by Adobe is under the Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance system; it covers the Adobe building in Seattle, which is a 164,000-square-foot single-tenant building.

Mike Gilmore, Adobe’s facility manager, said one critical element of Adobe’s ability to earn the Platinum rating was its decision to submeter the electricity usage in the building. That is significant because Adobe doesn’t own the building for which it received the rating, but it undertook the building management system that allowed this anyway and added 30 submeters. “We had no visibility into how much electricity we were using … So we picked where we knew the heaviest loads would be,” Gilmore said.

Incidentally, it IS harder to submeter a multitenant building, but Adobe did manage to do it for its building in Sydney, Australia, which helped it better manage electricity consumption there, too.

Other factors helping for the rating were the installation of new software to allow energy usage monitoring and the replacement of building lighting controls and incandescent light bulbs, which has helped with an 18.5 percent reduction in electricity usage. Adobe has also added EvapoTranspiration technology that allows Adobe to better control water consumption. (There has been a 59 percent reduction in water usage for irrigation needs since that technology was installed.)

Mike Bangs, director of global facility operations for Adobe, which is based in San Jose, Calif., says that the company’s goal isn’t necessarily to be “greener.” Rather, it is “to operate buildings as effectively as possible within the boundaries of our responsibilities as officers of the company.”

Aside from the Seattle facility, other Adobe buildings that are LEED Platinum include the Adobe headquarters buildings in San Jose and its building in San Francisco. Indeed, the San Jose buildings were just recertified in 2010. (LEED ratings are not permanent, because buildings change over time.)

April 2010


Multifamily Utility starts submetering and billing 18 new properties on April 1st, 2010

With an emphasis on conservation and cost savings Multifamily Utility has seen continuing interest in its submetering and customized RUBS billing products and services.

These 18 new properties are located throughout the United States and vary in size from 3 units to 150 units. At these properties Multifamily Utility implemented both submetering systems for water, gas and/or electric and customized RUBS billing for a variety of utilities.



March 2010

Georgia lawmakers approve water billwhich includes mandatory submetering rule for new construction

The Georgia General Assembly overwhelmingly passed comprehensive water conservation legislation Wednesday, handing Gov. Sonny Perdue a major victory.

Identical versions of the bill cleared the Senate unanimously and won approval in the House 166-5.

The legislation requires all newly constructed buildings to include “high-efficiency” plumbing fixtures by the middle of 2012. Also, all multi-tenant buildings will have to feature “submetering” to allow each tenant’s water use to be measured.



March 2010

S.D. could require multifamily water meters

San Diego is poised to set a regional water conservation benchmark by forcing developers of new multifamily and mixed-use complexes to install water meters for each unit.

The City Council takes up a proposed ordinance tomorrow after months of fine-tuning. The proposal is widely expected to pass, creating what several water experts said would be a first in the county. It would require submetering for new complexes with three or more units and in cases when an entire interior drinking water system is replaced for a complex with three or more homes.

Multifamily homes account for 44 percent of the housing units in San Diego, and the number of units is expected to grow by 120,000 to 346,000 over the next two decades.

Studies show that renters cut their water use by 15 percent to 39 percent if they are made to pay for the amount they use instead of having their water charges folded into their overall monthly bill.
The vote was postponed from March 9th to April 5th due to improper public notice. Check back for more updates.



February 2010

Multifamily Utility Company Appoints Paul Marquez as Vice-President

SAN DIEGO, CA—(BUSINESS WIRE) Multifamily Utility Company, Inc. announced today the appointment of Paul Marquez as its Vice-President in order to offer a broader spectrum of products and services.



January 2010

Multifamily Utility adds 24/7/365 Spanish Resident Customer Service

With a focus on customer and resident customer service Multifamily Utility Company takes their customer service up a notch by adding 24/7/365 Spanish resident customer service.

Multifamily Utility hopes with this addition we will be able to better serve our Spanish speaking residents to address account questions and assist with payments over the phone without delay.



January 2009

California's Multifamily Property Owners Encouraged to Update Utility Submeters

California Weights and Measures Approves Hardware Submetering Solutions

Submetering compliance in California is a complex issue with serious implications for property owners and managers. While water submetering creates an equitable environment for renters with significant returns for the property owner, it is estimated that as many as 75% of existing meter installations throughout California may be in violation of one or more Weights and Measures and/or state law requirements - and are at risk of receiving violation notices.

California Weights and Measures regulations require that water submeters must be:

•Type approved
•Tested and sealed before installation, and
•Visible to the consumer and enforcement personnel without the use of aid of any kind.
•Installed by registered service technicians

"Prior to the installation of any submetering devices, the device must first be submitted to the local California Weights & Measures agency for meter testing and certification to ensure the submitted devices are California-type approved. Any person or corporation that installs or repairs submeters in the state of California must register as a service agency with the Secretary of Food and Agriculture," explains Dennis Johannes, Assistant Director of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Measurement Standards in Sacramento.

Until now, making necessary corrections has been complicated and costly due to a lack of effective California type-approved solutions. Submetering service providers have been anxious to resolve the compliance issues in order to protect their clients from fines and violations. One such service provider is Multifamily Utility Company. Multifamily Utility Company has engaged in relationship building with Weights and Measures to achieve the shared goal of bringing our clients into compliance with applicable requirements. Over the past 2 years, Weights and Measures has dramatically increased its enforcement activities regarding water submeter installations and billing from those meters, and we are working with our customers to eliminate uncertainty and exposure to legal actions of all types."

One approved solution which may protect property managers includes the installation of remote counters. Remote counters ensure that meters are visible to consumers without additional aid. A small selection of hardware manufacturing companies have submitted remote counters to Weights and Measures for type approval testing, and those approvals are in various stages of development. Existing relationships with these hardware manufactures enables ista North America to offer them to their California customers on a timeline that is agreeable to regulating entities and may avoid the majority of existing potential violations.

Resources:

•http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/dms/

 
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