The annual Energy Summit held in Washington, D.C. in Q1 of this year had a rather tall agenda. Never before has the world of utility management been more inundated with new legislation, regulation or challenge. Multifamily stands at the very threshold of the Administration’s Climate Change Initiative, the EPA’s quest for more and better data from the nation’s renters, and the natural tension between the balance of privacy and accruing consumption data in order to compel conservation.
Multifamily owners and operators must be smart and they must be nimble, all while operating at the speed of change and navigating this new and evolving world of utility management and its inherant risks. And therein lies the tipping point.
That was the message from Ron Reed, former CEO of NWP Services Corporation, headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif. and now newly-minted senior vice president of Utility Management at RealPage. Reed announced that NWP had recently been acquired by Dallas, Texas-based, RealPage just days before the event. Steve Winn, CEO of RealPage, was also in attendance.
Data is no longer information, but actionable intelligence, said Reed. He outlined his company’s vision for the future by joining NWP’s decades of talent and innovation with the backing of its new parent company. One immediate outcome of the union is that NWP will bring its pipeline of breakthrough technology to market faster.
This not only addresses the changing regulatory environment, but delivers the actionable data points that owners need to make fiscally sound decisions in the field, said Reed in his opening statement at the Energy Summit.
Reed opened the 2-day event that included a line-up of case studies by several of the country’s top multifamily owners and operators, game changing product introductions by key NWP software engineers, and legal overviews from NWP’s legal bench. The legal team outlined the latest state-by-state legislation, now and on the horizon, as well as how it will affect utility management, billing and data collection by multifamily properties.
Keynote speaker, Lily Donge of the Rocky Mountain Institute, discussed the energy transformation occurring across our country, and what it means in the near and distant future. Donge’s tipping point had more to do with the transformation of the country’s energy and how policy makers, consumers and improving business models will eventually move the U.S. and the world, off fossil fuels and into greater efficiency and renewables. She believes that such change will be driven by demand reduction, economies of scale and great demand flexibility.
Supporting evidence to her theory is that the nation’s electricity use per household has systematically dropped over the course of the last decades due to more efficient technology, positive impact from renewables, smarter building design and a rising interest in net zero.
Other speakers included key executives from Fannie Mae, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Army. Michael Zatz of the EPA and Jonah Schein of the EPA’s WaterSense program brought attendees up to speed on the latest growth of Portfolio Manager, a national aggregate of energy data from apartments. The program now has 14,000 multifamily buildings contributing data.
Karyn Sper of Fannie Mae shared the latest details on the FHA’s Green Initiative that offers lower interest rates for financing energy and water efficiency retrofits and discounts for green building certified properties. Qualifying properties must project 15 to 20 percent in annual savings in energy or water use for its green discounts.
Dr. Jim Hartman with the Sustainability and National Security department of the U.S. Army shared the Administration’s target of combating extremism and nuclear proliferation by combatting climate change. This, says Hartman, will help the world feed itself and serve to resolve, even prevent conflict. It’s about diffusing conflict, stabalizing weak nations and capacity building, said Hartman.
One might gather that sustainability could not only change your bottom line. It might even change the world.