No matter what business you’re in, there will be times when a building is bustling and times when things might be a little slower. Say for example, you own a strip mall property. You know that over the holidays more people will be coming and going from the building. Some of the things the store manager might do to help things flow better is try to have more registers going so that the lines don’t get out of hand, work harder to keep the store tidy (since so many will be coming and going), and have clear signage up to make it easy for customers to come and go. If they’re busy enough, they may even hire security officers to help during this bustling time.
But, what do people do when things are slowing down? The response will probably be different depending on the specific situation. Regardless of the response plan though, the most important thing is to have an idea in mind ahead of time. If you have a plan in place, it allows you to ebb and flow easier and more efficiently as your seasons change. We’re not going to leave you stranded though. In this blog, we’ll provide some tips on what to do if you’re going to have an empty (or mostly empty) building.
Your building might be sitting empty for multiple reasons. Maybe you’re between tenants, maybe your tenants have adopted a hybrid workstyle, or maybe you have a short-term rental and you don’t currently have guests. There are plenty of possibilities here. No matter what the reason, we’re going to discuss some tips on how to save money and to be more efficient when the building has less (or no) people in it.
1. Turn off or unplug appliances. Obviously, this one only works if there’s no one in the building. When appliances don’t need to be used, you may as well turn them off or unplug them. There’s no reason to have an empty fridge sitting there using electricity, for example. Of course, you’ll want to plug it in before people do arrive, so it’s cold enough when it comes time to store food and beverages.
Bonus tip: If your tenants are switching to a hybrid work environment, you could provide them with some tips on how to save energy. One of the tips is to use smaller appliances. They could potentially sell their large fridge and opt for a smaller fridge to save energy, for example.
2. Adjust the thermostat. A smart thermostat can come in really handy here. You can easily adjust it when guests come and go, helping you to save energy and money. If you don’t have any current tenants, it’s also a good idea to adjust the thermostat down a little. Businesses are probably already adjusting the thermostat based on when people will be in the building, but if they adopt a hybrid work environment, they may be able to make further adjustments to save even more.
3. Use occupancy sensors. Instead of having lights be turned off or on physically in a commercial building, you can opt for occupancy sensors so that the lights only go on if people are in the building. However, there are times when occupancy sensors may need to be adjusted so that they’re not turning on when no one is in the area. It’s a good idea to do a walkthrough in the building to see when the sensors are triggered and make sure they’re in the right place and the sensitivity level is correct. If they’re not working properly, it could be unhelpful and wasteful.
4. Reconfigure your rental space. If your tenants are considering going to a hybrid work environment and mention that they don’t need as much space anymore after the lease is up, you could consider discussing a reconfiguration of the space. If you can downsize their space, it allows you to rent out the additional space to another tenant, potentially bringing in a larger income. This allows your other tenant to save money too, so it’s a win-win.
5. Use a smart power strip. On a normal power strip your electronics will still be using some energy even when they’re not actually being used. But a smart strip reduces the power consumption when those items are in standby mode. This works great for computers, cable boxes, game consoles, and home theater devices. These devices can also be unplugged when not in use, but this may not always be convenient.
6. Make sure your building is well insulated. The better insulated your building is the less chance you’ll be heating or air conditioning more than needed. When there’s no one in the building, it’s a great time to make improvements like this.
In every industry, there will be busy and slow times, but it’s important to know how to adjust. If you don’t already have one, create a plan for how you’ll increase efficiency.
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