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As utility bills in the UAE go up, conducting energy audits and implementing ways to cut energy bills have become one of the top priorities of property management companies. Energy represents the single largest operational cost for all building owners (both residential and commercial), and studies suggest that every building wastes between 20% and 40% of its energy bill.
Many property management companιes in the UAE have teamed up with firms that make energy-saving devices that will drastically cut down utility charges. It is estimated that utility charges (electricity and water) contribute over 40% of the total service charges coughed up by residents.
In many cases, property management companιes undertake energy audits and then retrofit facilities to curb energy wastage. Owners are not required to make any investments initially but pay the property management companιes over a period of four to five years from the savings they have made in their utility bills. Some of the retrofit solutions feature thermostat devices for air-conditioners, LED and CFL lights to replace incandescent and halogen lights, and devices like aerators to plug water wastage.
With green building certifications becoming popular, most property management companιes are also helping builders maintain high Estidama ratings and LEED certifications.
Property management companιes also advise owners of buildings to enter into fresh contracts with various service providers. In most cases, this results in substantial savings as service providers often enter into contracts with developers where they charge more than the existing market rates.
Some of the other duties of property management companιes include guiding owner associations on the tendering process for various maintenance projects, preparation of the annual budget in coordination with the board members of the owner associations, holding elections and general meetings.
• Most property management companies focus on energy audits
• They help maintain high Estidama ratings and LEED certifications
• They aid owners in contract negotiations with service providers
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer