FirstService Residential Beats the Heat on Summer Energy Costs

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Energy Management Program Saves Residents Nearly $20 Million

Household budgets everywhere are battling against the never-ending roller coaster of rising energy costs. After managing through the high demand and costs for heating oil and electricity to combat the polar vortex, the country must now brace for a summer-time surge as El Niño comes to life, with the first heat wave hitting even before the official start of summer on June 21. FirstService Residential, North America’s largest residential property manager, is working this summer to keep its residents cool, curb electric bills and lower overall energy consumption through its energy benchmarking and management affiliate, FS Energy.

FS Energy – Summer in the City Costs Less Now
FS Energy piloted its energy management program in 2010 for the 500+ buildings of the FirstService Residential New York portfolio. “After a year-long benchmarking process, FS Energy implemented customized systems and procedures for each building to maximize facility operations and reduce consumption,” said Aaron Mehta, director of energy information for FS Energy.

From May through September of 2013, these measures helped the FirstService Residential managed communities in New York save $3.5 million in summer energy costs, more than doubling the cost savings for the same timeframe the year prior. Overall, FS Energy has helped FirstService Residential clients in New York save nearly $20 million in total energy costs while reducing the carbon footprint of the New York portfolio by 15.6 percent.

FS Energy – Getting Florida Ready For Summer Demand
In late 2013, the FS Energy platform was rolled out in Florida with a goal of saving $11 million in energy costs for the roughly 100 multifamily buildings selected for the program from the FirstService Residential South Florida portfolio. “Because of our region’s perpetually hot climate we don’t see our electric energy consumption spike as dramatically as the northern states do, However, Floridians’ penchant to crank up their air conditioners to run colder and longer in the summer months still overloads energy demands and can make a huge dent in the pocketbook,” said Chris Normandeau, director of FS Energy’s southeast region. He added that air conditioning in hot climates can account for 40%-70% of an electric bill.

While the FS Energy Florida pilot is nearing the end of its benchmarking stage, Normandeau offers these tips to condo associations to sidestep the summer energy suck:

     o    Increasing the cooling set point by just one degree can save up to 8% in electric costs.
     o    Replacing an old, inefficient A/C with a high efficiency (SEER >14) unit can save 20%-50% in electric costs.
     o    Changing the A/C filters regularly can reduce energy consumption between 5%-15%.
     o    Keep the A/C coils clean – dirty coils can reduce cooling capacity by 30% or more.

     o    As temperatures rise, water evaporates quicker. Controlling irrigation based on how moist the soil is, as opposed to a timed schedule, can save 40%-60%.
     o    Ensuring a homeowner’s association is on the correct tariff and not paying the sewer charge for water that is being used for landscaping, pools, or cooling towers can save upwards of 66% of the bill in those areas.

FS Energy – A Benchmark of Success
FS Energy’s success at lowering energy costs and consumption for FirstService Residential’s portfolio of managed properties is owed to the company’s comprehensive benchmarking system. Available exclusively to FirstService Residential clients, energy bill audits, advanced analytics and segmented in-depth reporting produce a snapshot of the building’s energy usage to identify room for improvement that can be achieved through equipment and system upgrades, resident education, and also in New York City, compliance with the city’s laws for benchmarking, commissioning, or converting from No. 6 oil.

The FS Energy benchmarking and management model is also making its way to Chicago. Similar to New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, Chicago is considering an ordinance that will require the city’s largest buildings to benchmark and publicly disclose their energy use starting in June 2015.

Elena Lugo, Certified LEED® AP with FirstService Residential Illinois, has presented before the Chicago Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards Committee on FS Energy’s benchmarking model and how it can help buildings throughout the city achieve proposed efficiency goals.

Based in New York City and founded in 2009, FS Energy is the energy management and advisory subsidiary of FirstService Corporation. FS Energy is successfully reducing energy costs and carbon and increasing the asset value of FirstService Residential managed properties through customized energy management strategies. FS Energy takes a cutting edge approach, leveraging its portfolio size and groundbreaking proprietary data collection to determine the most appropriate cost and consumption reduction initiatives. To date, FS Energy has helped FirstService Residential clients in New York save nearly $20 million in energy costs while reducing the carbon footprint of the New York portfolio by 15.6 percent. For more information on FS Energy, visit

About FirstService Residential
FirstService Residential is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation, a global leader in the rapidly growing real estate services sector, one of the largest markets in the world. As a leading property management company in North America, FirstService Residential oversees more than 6,500 residential and commercial associations including 1.5 million residential units and over 50 million square feet of commercial space across 21 U.S. states and three provinces in Canada. The company has more than 12,000 employees driving local market expertise and manages in excess of $6 billion in annual budgets. For more information, visit

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Mary Sudasassi
FirstService Residential
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Jennifer Kennedy
FirstService Residential
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