Energy Efficiency Made Easy

Energy Efficiency Made Easy

by Diana Turowski, Onsite Property Manager for 565 W. Quincy, Chicago

“Thirty?  How could our Energy Score go down? Something’s not right here!”

And so it went, the conversation with our energy consultant (who shall not be named) who couldn’t answer the question other than “they changed something with the scoring, I think…” 

At our building, we’ve been implementing numerous projects to bring up our energy score, such as working with Commonwealth Edison to do free Level 1 & 2 energy audits and embracing many of their recommendations. Some of the suggestions were easy, but some (like the Automatic Building System) are being put into our reserve study to be implemented down the road because of the price. 

Our building contracted with Project Green Environmental Solutions to replace our garage metal halide lights with LEDs. This turned out fantastic, as we were able to regulate the dimming of the lighting with motion control sensors. But, we had the side effect of cooler temperatures on the floor above the garage, necessitating more heating there. 

We partnered with Franklin Energy on our common area lighting. All of our hallway and exit lighting was replaced with LEDs, for free, through their multi-family program. We were able to select the wattage and shading to insure our hallways were still bright, but not off-the-charts bright like some LEDs.

For our common areas that aren’t used regularly (bathrooms, maintenance storage rooms) we were able to put them on timers or motion controls purchased from Home Depot and installed by Maintenance staff. 

We are still working on changing out our freight room and stairwell lighting to ones that can dim to the minimum required wattage, then bounce back up to be able to pass Chicago City Building and Fire Safety codes. 

Oh, and that consultant?  They were replaced with Elara Engineering who realized that our previous consultant wasn’t calculating our score correctly, i. e., not accounting for our commercial space, incorrect number of bedrooms, and more. Our score more than doubled when they realized the mistakes, and we are anxiously awaiting the Level 3 energy audit they are providing for us, any day now. 

So the moral of the story is, if it doesn’t seem right, have someone else “check it out.” They may find an mistake or missed opportunity that others may not.