Genea talks with property management teams around the country every day. When learning about our Overtime HVAC energy management software, some property managers will say, “that sounds great, but we don’t get a lot of overtime air requests.” Since overtime HVAC is a profit center for most buildings, if you aren’t getting a lot of after hours HVAC requests, you could be losing valuable revenue. You also could be wasting thousands of dollars in unnecessary energy costs.
Here are a few of the most common reasons why tenants aren’t requesting overtime air, and how it could be affecting your building.
1. Your after hours setpoints are too high
In order to avoid losing the building, some property teams will keep their building at or close to comfort, 24/7. If this is a practice in your building, then your tenants likely don’t need to request after hours HVAC service; they’re comfortable enough in the building outside of lease hours.
Buildings don’t need to be kept at comfort 24/7, however, even in extreme climates. You can find a “happy medium” set point temperature range (not comfortable, but not irreversibly hot or cold) at which to default your building’s HVAC system after hours. This will not only likely increase your number of after hours requests, but will also save your building thousands of dollars in energy costs.
2. They’re submitting recurring requests
Often, if the process for submitting requests is manual or cumbersome and tenants need overtime air, office managers will submit a recurring request just to ensure they’re covered. This is especially true if you have lease hours on Saturday that don’t cost the tenant, but must be requested beforehand. This means your building could be running every weekend, even though tenants aren’t actually using the space.
Review your recurring requests in your BMS and (if possible) cross-reference them with access logs to see if tenants are actually using the building during those times. If not, you could be wasting money on energy and equipment wear and tear fulfilling those requests.
3. They’re sweating it out
If your building is in a relatively mild climate or your overtime air request process is inconvenient, tenants might choose to wear an extra layer or sweat it out in the heat after hours to avoid the hassle. Many of your tenants might not actually know how to request air if their office manager didn’t tell them, so they could be sweating it out without even knowing there’s another option.
4. The request process is too annoying
In many buildings, after hours HVAC requests are relatively tedious for all parties. In many buildings, tenants need to submit their requests to the property team at least 24 hours in advance. While working after hours is sometimes planned in advance, most of the time it’s a last-minute decision or unexpected project that keeps someone in the office late. If tenants feel at all put off by the demands of your after hours air request process, or have experienced poor fulfillment in the past, they’re unlikely to make a request — even if they do have time to plan for it in advance. They could opt to work from home or find another place to work, rather than deal with the request process.
Building automation software can make the process a lot easier on both tenants and property teams. Our Overtime HVAC energy management software allows tenants to make after hours requests directly from their phones or computers. The requests are then fulfilled automatically, without any help from the property team. Even the billing is done automatically, making the process seamless on all ends.
5. Your tenant mix just doesn’t need it
In some cases, a building’s tenant mix simply doesn’t require after hours air. While buildings with law firm and tech tenants might see a lot of after hours requests, buildings with health care professionals or government employees might see hardly any. If you’re not getting very many overtime air requests, take a look at your access logs — it’s possible that your tenants just don’t work outside of lease hours. If that doesn’t make sense, consider the factors above that could be contributing to your low request numbers.
The easier and more transparent it is for tenants to request and receive after hours air, the more likely they are to request it and the more confident you can be that you’re only running your HVAC equipment when it’s needed and paid for.