Live Building Systems Enables Efficiency & Savings with Smart Technology
A lot of building managers would love to create more energy-efficient, sustainable properties, however many can’t stomach the higher costs that are so often associated with green practices. But what if building managers could create lower energy and water outputs while adding to the bottom line?
In an exclusive interview, The Real Deal spoke with Teghpal Sandhu — the CEO of the leading utility monitoring and optimization platform Live Building Systems (LBS) — to discuss how the platform brings cost savings and environmental benefits to building owners and portfolio managers.
Live Data Saves Time and Money for Owners
In good markets and bad, real estate professionals are consistently looking to improve profits. One of the ways to improve the financial situation of any property is to reduce energy and utility costs. But that can be easier said than done, especially for property managers with a large portfolio of properties.
For portfolio managers, consumption costs are no small matter. It can sometimes be the difference between making a profit and taking a loss. The problem facility managers run into is that they have very poor visibility into how much water or energy each unit is actually consuming. Without accurate, real-time data, they don’t know when a problem arises or what they need to do to fix it.
LBS solves this problem by providing managers with a dashboard that gives them the ability to monitor each building’s water and energy consumption. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Live Buildings team since 2013,” says Mario Gaztambide, LeFrak Properties Senior Managing Director. “By tracking water consumption, and providing clear road maps, together we’ve managed to save thousands portfolio-wide on Live Water and Live Riser systems.”
Creating a Better Solution for a Common Problem
“When I started in the energy efficiency industry in 2013, I realized that it was very complicated to get water or fuel data,” said Sandhu. “Many building owners and their staff didn’t have that info readily available, and I thought it would be beneficial for teams to have this information in real-time so they could actually use it, rather than just report it. We wanted to get utility information into the hands of people who could actually do something about consumption.”
Sandhu envisioned a solution that would provide ownership, facilities managers, and property managers the ability to identify urgent issues and fix problems efficiently. He quickly saw that this solution could have the added benefit of drastically reducing waste, which would have a tangible positive impact on the environment.
“Tenants and visitors are going to use water and electricity when they’re around, but property managers maintaining dozens or hundreds of properties can’t know about the waste that can be insidious in their buildings, especially if they’re only looking at a bill at the end of a month or quarter,” explained Sandhu.
Actionable Data for Building Owners
The Live Buildings platform allows building owners to quickly analyze water and energy consumption at each of their buildings in minutes instead of hours. Live Building Systems establishes “Live Buildings” by installing smart computers directly onto any water, electric, or gas meter, sending real-time data to the Live Business Systems cloud.
Property owners can then quickly and easily access data from their entire portfolio of buildings. As soon as an issue arises — like a running toilet, gas leak, or electricity spike — it triggers an alert delivered via text or email, so the problem can immediately be addressed.
In addition to the platform, the LBS team takes their solution a step further by offering consultation and repair services. Sandhu explained, “Once we engage with a client, we perform a core consultation and give our recommendations for what they should fix. We also have in-house contractors that actually go to the buildings and perform the repairs. So clients get a holistic approach — from software to consultation to on-site plumbing and electrical work.”
And suppose a property manager wants to be more hands-on. In that case, Live Building Systems will train the building staff to analyze the data, identify potential problems, and make any necessary repairs. No matter the preferred maintenance method, the emphasis is always on visibility and transparency. “At our core, we believe any property with electricity, water, and fuel should have real-time data,” noted Sandhu.
The Live Building Systems Difference
While there are other consumption data analytics tools on the market, Live Building Systems differentiates by giving building managers superior compatibility and ease of use. “We work with a number of energy meters, water meters, and hardware providers. We have our own hardware as well,” said Sandhu. “With our technology, we can ensure that any piece of equipment is compatible with LBS as long as it has an output.”
The company also features a robust development team that makes simplicity and accessibility a priority. “We feature a cloud-based dashboard, as well as a mobile application,” added Sandhu. “Users can interface with the software from anywhere, get reports sent directly to their email, set up alerts for any issues, and speak with an account specialist to answer their questions. It doesn’t matter how many units the property manager is overseeing, all the data is at their fingertips.”
When building owners have real-time, accessible data covering all their properties, they can see results that really move the needle from a profit perspective. Sandhu noted, “We’ve worked with clients that had over 15,000 gallons of water per day in waste, which could cost them up to $120,000 per year on just one property. With our system, they were able to quickly identify the waste and solve their problem.”
People Are the Solution
While LBS can be a game changer from a cost perspective, Sandhu never loses sight of the bigger picture in the effort for sustainability. “I’m extremely passionate about helping our clients save money and helping the environment,” explained Sandhu. I believe the solution to our environmental problems is actually people, and technology just helps them engage.”