The virtual RealPage Energy Summit 2021 allowed for more people to come together to discuss and learn about multifamily utility management. In the New Technology Panel: Innovations that Impact Energy and Water Usage: Felicite Moorman, STRATIS CoFounder and RealPage CommunityConnect VP, moderated a discussion with the following experts:
- Chris Acker, VP, Community Technology Services, Lennar Multifamily Communities
- Stephanie Fuhrman, Innovation, Catalyst Innovation Lab
- Jeffrey Kok, Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Information Officer, Mill Creek Residential
The four industry leaders spoke about the rising popularity of smart apartments, and how they also represent resident interest in sustainability. Residents in multifamily communities are concerned about climate change, and want to do their part to support sustainability. With the focus on energy management in smart apartments, the increase in property technology and sustainability are intertwined.
The following are insights from each panelist:
Chris Acker, VP, Community Technology Services, Lennar Multifamily Communities
- Residents want to be involved in sustainability. When they choose to live in a sustainability-focused environment, they view this as doing their part to support the cause.
- Because of this, education for all building stakeholders is important. Education around sustainability, resident expectations around green initiatives, the return on investment of energy management can bridge all of their interests.
Stephanie Fuhrman, Innovation, Catalyst Innovation Lab
- Through Catalyst Innovation Lab’s focus on driving down rents, there is a related focus on driving down utility expenses. Smart apartments and their energy management features contribute to various (savings) benefits for residents.
- There is a lot of up and coming technology around sustainability including solar panel windows, remote water shutoff, and more. Smart water heaters are powerful as they take leak detection to the next level to prevent them before they happen. Predictive diagnostics greatly reduce water waste and damages.
Jeffrey Kok, Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Information Officer, Mill Creek Residential
- Residents seek out multifamily communities with green initiatives, and investors are enthusiastic to meet their expectations. With smarter, more efficient energy management, all stakeholders benefit: portfolio owners, property management staff, and residents.
- Sustainability gets included in resident marketing. There is about a 10% savings in a heated environment and 8% savings with a cooling environment (conservative estimates), and residents appreciate taking advantage of those savings (89% of residents are concerned about climate change, and more than 70% said their desire to find a solution has increased over the last five years).
- As cities and regions pass legislation to eliminate fossil fuels (Seattle passed new building codes for all new commercial and large multifamily buildings that go into effect in March 2021), the portfolio is looking into surpassing minimum requirements. There are financial incentives such as increased net operating income to development that priorities energy efficiency and access to onsite renewable energy.
Want to learn more about the role of buildings in sustainability? Check out the podcast: Sustainability Success Series, hosted by Mary Nitschke, VP of Sustainability at RealPage.
STRATIS®, a RealPage Company, creates smart apartments and intelligent buildings and is the only platform of its kind built for the complexities of multifamily and student housing. STRATIS is installed worldwide across the U.S., in Japan, the UK, EU, and Latin America. STRATIS now serves hospitality, retail, and small to mid-size commercial, as well. STRATIS is an Inc. Magazine “Fastest Growing Company in America” and a Top Ten Entrepreneur Magazine “Best Company in America.” STRATIS was recently acquired by RealPage to enable CommunityConnect, a more connected lifestyle, and unleash hidden yield through new revenue streams.