Recession or no recession, apartment owners and managers, like you, are continually looking for ways to reduce costs and improve profit margins. Probably the easiest costs to reduce are those you feel you have some control over, typically the variable expenses. These include items like maintenance, security, and utilities, which are the costs that tend to rise over time.
Utility expenses seem to be an item that experiences the greatest rise and is one of the most difficult to control in multi-unit complexes. In fact, these expenses stand to be significantly impacted by the water rate increases that are expected in many Los Angeles County districts this year. For instance, last year Crescenta Valley officials approved a 15 percent rate increase over the next two years, which is in addition to a 20 percent increase approved in 2010. This is not something you want to hear when there’s little you can do to control tenant’s water use.
Fortunately, for those served by Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®), there is a solution. SoCalGas offers a gas and hot water savings program to help qualifying apartment building owners and managers reduce energy costs. Reducing water flow can help save both water and natural gas. The program, called Energy Smart, installs at no cost, energy-efficient products and provides education on how to make buildings more energy efficient.
The program offers:

¢    High-efficiency shower heads (fixed and hand-held)
¢    High-efficiency kitchen faucet aerators
¢    High-efficiency bath faucet aerators
¢    Gas appliance summary and recommendations

The device installations and energy assessment are offered at no cost to qualifying SoCalGas customers who own or manage multi-unit rental properties. SoCalGas has selected Honeywell Utility Solutions as an authorized contractor and they will manage the complete process from start to finish.
After scheduling a time and date that is convenient, the technicians will come out and post the legally-required tenant notification on all doors. On the installation day, Honeywell will send out its team of trained technicians. Two technicians enter the unit together for safety and security. These are actual Honeywell employees and not third-party contractors.
The technicians will check current hot water devices and other gas appliances. If the existing shower head uses more than 2.5 gallons per minute and there are no pre-existing leaks or corrosion, the technicians will replace it. The new energy-efficient showerheads use 1.5 gallons per minute as do the swivel kitchen aerators and the new bathroom faucet aerators use 1.0 gallons per minute. Providing greater force at lower pressure, these low-flow devices are not like their weak counterparts from the past. Participating customers have been very pleased with this new design. If water pressure is already too low or if the tenant purchased their own showerhead, the technician will leave the current devices intact.
Since the program’s inception in July 2008, Energy Smart has installed nearly 266,000 devices in over 127,000 apartment units. Satisfaction is high for tenants, property owners, and managers.

Although actual savings may vary, these are potential utility bill savings:

Number
of  Units           Gas Savings         Water & Sewer Savings          Combined Savings
25                      $1,510                   $3,524                                       $5,034
50                     $3,020                  $7,048                                       $10,069
100                   $6,040                  $14,097                                     $20,138

To learn more or to take advantage of the Energy Smart program, you are encouraged to call 800-203-7380 or e-mail the program at: customerservice@socalenergysmart.com. For program verification, please visit http://socalgas.com/energyefficiency/contractors/directinstall.html.
Programs are administered under a contract awarded by Southern California Gas Company. Programs are funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. California customers are not obligated to purchase any products or services offered by these programs. The trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

The Energy Smart Program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Gas Company under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission through a contract awarded to Honeywell International.  The Program may be modified or terminated without prior notice and is provided to qualified customers on a first-come, first-served basis, until funds are no longer available.  Eligibility requirements apply.  Southern California Gas Company is not responsible for any goods or services selected by the customer.
Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.  All rights reserved.

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