Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Conservice Congratulates Marc Treitler on being elected to the California Apartment Association (CAA) Board

San Diego, CA – November 10, 2015 | As the foremost utility management company in the industry, The Utility Experts® at Conservice® are proud to announce the election of Mr. Marc Treitler as an associate member of the California Apartment Association® (CAA®) board.  Marc will serve a three (3) year term, beginning January 1, 2016.  This distinguished achievement demonstrates the commitment and expertise that Conservice has in the management of energy, power, sustainability, and other related issues in the apartment industry.

Mr. Treitler is widely known as the foremost expert in all aspects of utility management regulatory issues. He currently serves as co-chair on the board of directors of the Utility Conservation Coalition. He works to identify legislative opportunities and supports lobbying efforts to ensure the best interests of multifamily owners and managers are protected. He often attends key legislative meetings and hearings and participates in drafting legislation. Marc holds a BA degree in economics from UCLA, and a JD and MBA from the University of San Diego.

Conservice provides utility management solutions including installing utility sub-meters, billing residents for utilities and other charges, as well as processing, auditing, and paying utility bills while providing unmatched customer service.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Energy Benchmarking Requirements: Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Kansas City

The need for energy efficiency is becoming more and more important for today's property owner/operator.  The City of Atlanta, Kansas City, and the City of Philadelphia all have up-coming benchmarking requirements to be aware of:

For more information on benchmarking, please contact your account manager (for Conservice clients), or visit the Energy Star website, www.energystar.gov

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Conservice Congratulates Marcus Burrow on Earning Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®) Certification

Logan, UT – July 20, 2015 | Marcus Burrow, VP of Energy and Sustainability Solutions at Conservice, has recently earned the Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®) designation.  This distinguished achievement recognizes Marcus’ commitment to the industry and expertise in the management of energy, power, sustainability, and other related issues.

Mr. Burrow joined the Conservice team in 2011 where he manages all energy and sustainability operations.  With 10 years of experience in the energy industry, Marcus is a valuable resource for Conservice clients, providing energy procurement, conservation, expense management, and other solutions for multifamily, industrial, and commercial clients.  Mr. Burrow’s depth of experience and knowledge, coupled with his achievement of earning CEM® certification solidify his role as the energy expert for The Utility Experts®.

With energy efficiency continuing to gain momentum as a primary focus for all types of portfolios across the utility management industry, a Certified Energy Manager® becomes an essential cog in the process.  More and more communities are following in step with the City of Chicago and are mandating energy benchmarking.  Working with a Certified Energy Manager® allows benchmark communities to smoothly complete the entire ordinance process without the need to outsource for energy data verification.  Making sure that our clients' communities are energy efficient and compliant with all energy ordinance requirements just became easier thanks to the CEM®.

Established in 1981, The Certified Energy Manager® recognizes individuals within the Energy industry who have shown a commitment and dedication to their craft that surpasses the status quo.  As of 2013, The Association of Energy Engineers has certified over 26,000 energy professionals with only 14,000 being recognized with the CEM®.  Certified Energy Managers® must show expertise by meeting a list of work experience and/or educational qualifications approved by The Association of Energy Engineers.  This universally recognized accomplishment places those certified at the highest and most respected level of certification in the Energy Management industry.

Press Contact:
John Mosman, Marketing Assistant (435-713-2265, jmosman@conservice.com)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Conservice and Wyse Deepen Strategic Partnership in Canada

Toronto, Ontario – May 26, 2015 – Building upon an already existing exclusive partnership, Conservice announced today that it will be making a substantial financial and strategic investment in Wyse Meter Solutions Inc.

“When we chose to exclusively partner with Wyse in 2014, we found Wyse to have the strongest team and reputation in the industry. We could not be more pleased to have the opportunity to broaden our partnership and we continue to look forward to building upon the significant success we have already realized together over the last 12 months,” said David Jenkins, CEO of Conservice.

“The response from the industry, as we roll out the most sophisticated submetering and utility expense management programs in North America, has been tremendous,” said Ian Stewart, CO-CEO of Wyse. “The savings and efficiency gains Wyse is able to deliver to our customers would not have been possible without Conservice and we are thrilled to be able to announce our strengthened partnership.”

“The strategic partnership between Wyse and Conservice works because both organizations deliver excellence through the same value and integrity platform. We focus on understanding our customers’ requirements and then lead the industry with transparent and effective strategic utility solutions,” says Peter Mills, Co-CEO of Wyse.

About Conservice
Conservice is the largest multi-family utility service provider in the U.S. with approximately 2,000,000 multi-residential service locations contracted in its utility management and billing program. The Conservice executive team has more than 200 years combined experience with property and utility management. Conservice serves eight of the top ten largest U.S. property management companies. This deep and broad experience allows Conservice to have a unique approach to utility billing and management.

About Wyse Meter Solutions Inc.
Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. provides turnkey submetering and utility expense management services to property managers, building owners and developers across Canada. Wyse is unique in its ability to provide energy consumption transparency and accountability to its customers. Through an exclusive partnership with Conservice, the largest submetering and utility management company in North America, Wyse is able to offer its customers a powerful program known as Synergy, providing owners and managers with a 360-degree comprehensive view of the entire utility spend within a building or portfolio of buildings. Synergy is already in use across 1.2 million multi-residential units in North America, including eight of the top ten owners and managers of multi-family real estate.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What is going on with my meter reads?

By April Collett

Conservice has several methods for billing utilities to residents as fairly as possible. Consider any apartment building. When it was built, for one reason or another, meters could have been installed for each apartment, or as is common, a single meter per building, or even one meter for the whole community. Each community is different depending on the time it was built, feasibility of the utility provider to place more than one meter on the property, the regulations that affect the utility in the local area, etc. So at the end of the month, when the property management receives the utility bill from the provider, how do they know how much each resident should pay?

We have many methods to fairly bill utilities by a common ratio to all residents ranging from simple division to complicated functions. Of course, having direct sub-metered reads of the utilities you use in your apartment home is the best way to know you’re paying the correct portion of the water, gas or electric amounts used by everyone in your community.

So what happens when one of these meters fail? How do you know if your utilities are reflecting your actual usage correctly?

On rare occasion, meters can malfunction. Most water sub-meters installed in the United States are velocity water meters. They measure the amount of water passing into a home through a metering chamber with a known internal capacity. The meter then can convert the amount of water passing into a volumetric amount. To measure the passing amount, the meter may use systems of jets or a turbine.

From the inside of the meter, not much can happen to cause the read to be off. Water meters do wear with time, the indication of this happening is usually low reads as the meter accuracy deteriorates with wear on meter measurement components. For most types of velocity meters, filtering screens are installed before the water passes the jets or turbine to keep debris from possibly flowing into the mechanism and causing blockage or malfunction. If you happen to notice any sort of dirt or grit coming into your home through a water tap, that’s a good indication to have a maintenance check and to review your meter readings when they are billed for that period and see that the water consumption reflects what you expect.

We receive most of our meter reads by digital transmission from the actual meter, to a main converter on the property, then to us at Conservice. This gives us a high amount of accuracy by directly receiving the meter reads digitally. Many of the properties that we bill are set up to have the meter reads sent to us daily for each resident. By seeing an apartment’s daily meter reads and usage, we can pinpoint exactly when a malfunction occurred, or most commonly, when a correct (however abnormal) consumption was measured that caused the bill to fluctuate. The most common cause for an increase in consumption is a running toilet which can consume about 230 gallons per day – most apartment homes use 50 to 150 gallons per day, so ignoring a running toilet is a sure way to double your water and sewer bill. Similarly, a dripping faucet will consume about 10 gallons per day – not as dramatic, but that will still add possibly an extra 300 gal to your billing for that month.

If you suspect your water meter is malfunctioning, the tried and true test takes a bucket, a pencil and a little time. You’ll simply want to locate your water meter, jot down the reading, then fill your bucket until you've expended about 10 gallons of water. Then, you’ll go check the meter again and see if it changed. The important part here is to know at what rate the water volume is being measured. Most velocity water meters will send a pulse (the number on the register will change) for every 5 or 10 gallons that pass, depending on the type of meter.

If you suspect your toilet is leaking but don’t hear an audible running sound near the toilet, it may be a slow leak from the tank, running into the bowl. You can simply drip some food coloring into the reservoir tank, wait a little while, and see if that coloring has leaked into the bowl.

If either of these methods don’t satisfy your concerns about water consumption, the next step is a maintenance check – a leak could be happening in someplace that isn't visible which should be investigated further. Most of the time, if your bill is unexpectedly high, it is a leak or a particular event.
To further our ability to watch your consumption and make sure you are consuming what we’d expect, please make sure your occupancy is reported correctly with your leasing office.

Sometimes you receive a water bill and think “golly, I couldn't have used 6,000 gallons last month!” Check the billing dates first. Did you have guests over during that period? Did you do ALL the laundry one day? Hold a dog washing event? Shampoo the carpets? Most likely, it is an accurate read and our dedicated customer service team is happy to help answer any questions. If we find further investigation is needed with your meter reads, we will contact your property manager and work to fix the problem as quickly as possible. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 - A New Year

By John Mosman

The year 2014 has shuffled into its place in history and has dragged with it all of our old selves.  All of those, "In 2014 I'm going to..." resolutions have come to an unapologetic deadline and we are left looking back at what we have accomplished.  For a lot of us this experience brings with it a fair amount of happiness, perhaps a little bit of longing, a bit of sadness, and, here it comes, regret.  Yes, regret. It always starts with the best intentions, doesn't it? However, a well-intentioned resolution is a lot like the bottle rocket that many of us shot off into the newly minted 2015 sky.  Think about it.  It begins with so much promise as it whizzes, shiny and sleek and colorful, through the air! (Boy, is it colorful!) "I'm going to run 5 miles every day and lose 60 pounds in three weeks!"  It looks so good, doesn't it?!  That little sparkly tail could propel that bottle rocket straight into the starts!  Then it starts to wobble and sputter as we put it off and make excuses to not follow through. "I'll run ten miles tomorrow because I didn't get around to running today."  Pretty soon ten miles turns into 45 and just like that tiny little bottle rocket our resolution ends up crashing, head first and charred, into the cold, unforgiving earth.  
The new dawn of 2015 is bright and brings with it the hope and resolve to be better, a resolve to change and be different.  I would like to start off 2015 with something a little different – a short “To-Don’t List” for how to make 2015 your best year.

  • Don’t let one misstep derail your journey! – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the record in the NBA for all-time points scored in a career (38,387) and Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for most points in a season (4,029).  What if they would have given up after missing their first shot?  They never would have made the record books!  Don’t let one bad day skew your view to the horizon ahead.  Get back up and get at it! (Which leads me to my next "To-Don’t”)
  • Don’t just sit around! – Do something!  Maybe you set your exercise goals a little too high.  Adjust them.  Maybe you thought you could write 3 pages per day but it’s just not working out.  Write one page per day.  Maybe you want to be healthier but you just don’t know where to start.  To put a spin on Nike’s successful slogan, “Just Do Something!”  Do ten push-ups, walk to the corner and back, write a paragraph!  You’ll soon find that the list of things that you CAN do is much longer than the list of things that you didn't do.
  • Don’t do it alone – Life is a team sport.  We all have friends and family members who care about us and want us to be our best.  Get others involved and assign them to help you stay on track.  It’s much more difficult to talk yourself out of something if others are there encouraging you to press on.  Show gratitude to those who are willing to help.
  • Don’t settle – John Wooden said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  Doing things right the first time means that you gave your best effort.  Make 2015 the year that you never settled for less than your best.  Sure, there will be deadlines that will sneak up on you and it may be easier to just throw something together.  Always do the very best you can with what you have.  If you are given a week to complete a project, don’t wait until Friday to get started!  Give yourself a chance to submit your best effort.

I hope that 2015 gives you hope and a sense of excitement for all that you can accomplish (and you can accomplish many, many things!)  Keep moving forward, take things one day at a time and you’ll get where you want to go.  Just make sure that where you’re headed is where you want to be.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tips and Tricks - Winter Conservation

Written by April Collett

As the seasons change each year, depending on where you live, consumption of resources will naturally change as well. If you’re looking at a cold front this winter, we’ve compiled some useful wintertime conservation tips to lower your utility bills and keep your family warm.

First and easiest, check your windows! According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, one third of energy loss in homes occurs through windows. Of course, newer windows featuring low-e coating, double or triple panes, and features like an insulating argon gas fill between panes are a great place to start. But it’s already November and for those of you looking to pinch some pennies this season without investing in new windows just yet, here’s a couple quick tips.

Keep your windows covered! If you've got blinds or curtains, keep them closed. The exception here is your south facing windows. If the sun is out, a generous amount of heat can come in with the morning and early afternoon sun, saving your furnace a few hours of work each day. Be sure to cover these windows back up once the sun is no longer reaching them to conserve the heat you let in.

Check for gaps or faulty seals around your windows. You can pick up a can of silicone window caulk or spray foam insulation at your local home improvement store. Caulk is great for any small gaps or imperfections/cracks in the seal and the spray foam can work for gaps as large as 3” wide. Ask your retailer for tips on how to use these products properly for your area – different climate conditions can change the effectiveness of these products.

For an even easier and cost effective window insulation trick, try bubble wrap! You can temporarily decrease energy loss at your windows by using bubble wrap and tape to cover windows from edge to edge. This is especially great in places like basement window wells or attic windows as those usually get little use and are a common area for energy loss.

Check your home for drafts or areas that cold air may be leaking in such as doors, the attic hatch or the fireplace damper. The fireplace damper is an easy place for hot air to escape; make sure it’s closed. Like the windows, check around doors for cracks or gaps in the caulk or seal. Repair these areas again using caulk or spray foam insulation and consider extra insulation around doors and the attic hatch to further prevent cool air settling in. Use a door sweep or a weather stop on your exterior and garage doors to further reduce the transfer of cool air into your home.

The next greatest area for energy loss is your HVAC system – that’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning.  Although there aren't as many quick fixes, the best place to start is with the air filter. Your air filter should be checked each month to be sure it’s clean enough to allow a steady flow of air. Ideally you’ll change your filter once every three months. The more work the HVAC system has to do to force air through the filter, the more energy is used to do so. If you ever notice that you can’t get your furnace on, or it comes on but for only a minute, your air filter is probably clogged. For a quick fix, you can brush off the built up lint with a damp cloth or a brush, but this shouldn't be relied upon for any longer than necessary before a new filter can be obtained. A dirty filter can be a fire hazard and adds harmful stress to the whole system.

Next, check the air registers. Look to see that the seals where the register and duct meet the wall, ceiling or floors are tight and well connected. These are common areas for disconnected ductwork. Take this time to ensure that the registers aren’t blocked by any furniture or rugs to improve air flow and comfort throughout the home.
If you have a home with multiple levels, an excellent way to conserve without any cost at all is to close the upper level registers in the winter while keeping the lower level registers open. This forces the air flow to move first through the cooler bottom levels of the home and naturally upwards to heat the entire house using less energy overall and making better use of the residual heat in the home. With this in mind, added attic insulation will improve your home’s ability to retain the heat once it rises.

The same is true in the summer – but in reverse. As you cool your home in the warmer summer months, close the lower level registers and open the upper level registers. Your home will cool more efficiently allowing the cooled air to settle through the home naturally.

An important note on your attic space; while you do want your attic well insulated so rising heat escapes slowly, you never want to block off the fresh air flow contained in your attic space. This area is designed to breathe – make sure that the attic ventilation is good to extend the life of your roof shingles and prevent ice dams and other moisture related winter-time problems. Be sure that attic soffit vents and gable vents are not blocked so air flows freely through.

In any unfinished areas of your home, or areas where ductwork is visible, check to see if you can find any weak spots where air may be leaking. Look for holes, tears or other signs of leaking ducts and seal those using either mastic or metal (foil) tape, caulk, spray foam insulation, or weather stripping. You can also choose to add extra insulation to any ducts you can access – especially ducts that may pass through an area that could conduct colder outdoor temperatures such as a garage, attic or crawlspace. Insulating these ducts can greatly reduce energy loss.

As long as you’re insulating your HVAC system, you can also consider adding insulation to your water pipes to better retain heat as the water travels through your home, especially in cold or exposed areas. This fix can also shorten the amount of time needed to run your faucet before hot water comes out, decreasing water consumption to a degree. For a less costly and quick option, you can add insulation to the hot water heater to improve the amount of energy used to maintain the temperature of the water in the tank.

The addition of extra insulation can be a difficult do-it-yourself task. However, depending on where you live, the additional insulation can be so helpful in conserving resources, you could qualify for energy rebates and savings, as can adding additional insulation in the attic and some other projects. Check http://www.energystar.gov/rebate-finder?fuseaction=rebate.rebate_locator to find programs in your area.

Lastly, as you decorate this holiday season, try to consolidate exterior lighting and features to an efficient power strip so you can easily shut them off and avoid a Clark Griswold-type fiasco this season.