Wolgast Blog

Building Remodel for Energy & Money Savings

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Sep 24, 2018 @ 11:29 AM

There aren’t many businesses that remodel every six years, so chances are that if you’re currently ready for an update, you have the potential to save a considerable amount of money by investing in modern, energy efficient products and installations. 

NBS-EnergyWith 29% of your operating expense being spent on utilities1, the energy efficient equipment/products that have become available over the last six years or less can make a big difference.  Additionally, there are incentives for making these changes.  We have helped several school clients lower their energy expense and also secure incentive money back.  As a Consumer Energy Business Solution Trade Ally, we’ve achieved 3rd place in the past for natural gas savings for Consumers Energy school customers and helped Bullock Creek Schools maximize their incentive of more than $125,000 to offset the cost of their new heat-conserving roof, energy efficient lightbulbs and other alterations.

It’s good to be aware that some energy savings are now mandated by LARA in the State of Michigan when you build new or remodel (see our blog: Michigan Energy Code).  However, there are varying degrees ($$) of implementations to include in your remodel plans that could save more money for your business in the long run.  For instance, office equipment and other mechanical products have become increasingly more efficient even within recent years.  Building systems and materials such as water heaters, HVAC systems, programmable thermostats, windows, insulation applications, LED lighting, occupancy sensors, and toilets are all more efficient than they were in the past 10 years.

Additionally, during your remodel or new build, adding more natural light reduces the need for full time lights, which according to US Energy Information Administration can be more than 17% of utility costs for commercial buildings who haven’t converted to LED.2  Bigger windows, skylights, or light transmitting panels are great for getting the most natural light into an interior space.  Your architect will have further tricks for enhancing natural light, as well.

If you aren’t quite ready for a remodel right now, but are interested in tweaking your building systems to save on energy costs, most energy companies are currently offering free assessments to guide you to save on what you already have in place.  Contact your energy company for a complimentary report.

However, if you are interested in remodeling or building new, Wolgast is ready and capable to be your design and construction partner to achieve these energy and cost saving applications.  Call us today for more information.

1E Source Customer Direct, “Managing Energy Costs in Office Buildings”

2 U.S. Energy Information Administration, www.eia.gov, “Trends in Lighting in Commercial Buildings”, 5/17/17

Tags: Good for Business, Energy Savings, Design/Build, Remodel

Environmental Choices That Should Save Money for Your Office

Posted by Cory Anderson on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 @ 09:01 AM
Energy Savings for OfficesYou may or may not have ever thought about what your company could do to save the environment, but I bet that you’ve thought a lot about how your company can cut costs.  The Florida Green Building Coalitionhas a list of simple actions that a company can take to save energy and water and just be a little greener in general.  Below are highlights from that list:

Get Educated – designate a staff member to do research or subscribe to a newsletter.

Make a Visible Commitment – create a mission statement about green practices and post it for your staff and on your website.

Initiate a Recycling Program – place boxes to collect paper goods and find a place to donate your furniture and other reusable materials.

Choose Office Supplies Wisely – look for environmentally friendly office supplies and choose to buy them when available.

Incorporate Green Practices – always print 2-sided, use electronic storage whenever possible, turn off lights when leaving a room, replace paper and foam cups with real plates and cups.

Upgrade to Green Products - Replace light and water fixtures with more efficient styles and install programmable thermostat

Turn off All Office Equipment at the end of the day and on weekends

These are all excellent tips if you’re looking to get your sustainability program started. 

One of the tips that I’d like to discuss further based on our own experience is making green upgrades to a building.  Wolgast Development has been installing automated building controls to more efficiently control our environment and access all office systems from one central location.  Additionally, they’ve installed timed light sensors throughout the building, so that lights automatically turn on only when they’re being used and off when they aren’t.  Furthermore, Wolgast Corporation has been using electronic filing systems over the past few years and has saved significantly on space in our storage warehouse by eliminating the need for storing boxes of documents.  And, for the most part, it’s all at our fingertips if we need it rather than going to the warehouse to find what we need.  What did we do with all that paper?  We recycled it and continue to do so when necessary.

Wolgast Corporation would also like to announce that we’re a Certified Energy Star Partner and  we have four LEED APs on staff who have achieved LEED Silver status on three projects over the past year alone.  They can serve all of your sustainable building project needs.  Please contact us if you need help or have questions about any of the items discussed in this blog.

 

See Our LEED Projects

Tags: Professional General Contractor, Energy Savings, Good for Business

The Value of LEED© Certification for Medical Offices

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 @ 10:07 AM

Determining If the Cost Will Be Offset by the Benefits

The breakdown of advantages vs. disadvantages for LEED© certifying your medical office is easy – it’s energy cost savings, environmental responsibility, plus marketing position (to name a few) vs. cost. 

LEED PointsWhile it’s quite hard to pinpoint what the additional cost truly is over traditional construction, a quick internet search indicates that building owners could pay an additional 0-15% for a sustainable building.  The additional cost depends primarily on the level of certification you’d like to achieve because the higher the level of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) point rating system the more green materials and equipment you need, which usually have an elevated cost.  There are some points that have no cost, like having a bus stop near your building (6 points), and there are others, like installing a geothermal system (1-7 points) that adds considerable cost.  These are both options on a list of points available to achieve your preferred level of certification whether it’s certified, silver, gold or platinum with platinum requiring the most points. 

The advantages are more concrete to determine.  For instance, there are marketing opportunities and a general buzz associated with having a LEED© certified building and it can attract patients who are interested in green building or sustainability.  Also, since most buildings (medical offices included) carry their highest energy costs from space heating/cooling and lighting, the use of efficient equipment can save significant costs over the life of a building (1-19+ points).  The final benefit that I’ll discuss here is the use of natural light (1 point).  Natural light not only improves mood and general well being of the doctor, staff and patients, but it also improves vision (less eye strain), productivity of staff, and offers health benefits all on its own – definitely an important feature in a medical space.

You may have heard that the USGBC has published a LEED© for Healthcare rating system, specifically for hospitals and other medical facilities to achieve LEED© while addressing stringent healthcare industry regulations.  This new rating system may require more prerequisites than you need to prepare your medical office.  I say this because it’s geared more to a hospital’s 24 hour operation and indoor environmental quality associated with chemicals used on the premises.  It would likely be less expensive for a medical office to use the LEED© for New Building or LEED© for Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance.

If you are interested in pursuing it, Wolgast has a team of LEED© Associated Professionals (LEED© APs) on staff and they’ve been trained to help you review the rating systems and develop a list of points that will suit you best as well as design and construct the building.  Contact Dr. Michael Shepard for more information at mshepard@wolgast.com or 989-790-9120.

Sources used: 

www.usgbc.org

http://buildingsdatabook.eren.doe.gov/

Tags: Medical Office Construction, Design/Build, Energy Savings, the Wolgast Way