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Category : Green Roofing

Tips for Property Managers: How to Decorate Your Building for the Holidays

Commercial Building Decoration

There are so many reasons to celebrate in December, as Hanukkah begins the night of December 2nd, followed by Christmas on the 25th, Kwanzaa on the 26th, and of course, the New Year on the 31st. So how to share the holiday spirit with your tenants?

You may not be big on decorations, but if you don’t decorate your building or host a party, you may be viewed as a modern-day Scrooge. On the flip side, if you add too many holiday symbols (Christmas trees, wreaths, lots of tinsel, yards of lights, menorahs, and Kwanzaa’s traditional Kinara candle holders), you might be accused of going overboard.

How can you strike a happy balance? According to Ginny Decker, vice president of property management for Monument Capital Real Estate Services, Miami and Katherine Furniss, marketing manager at CFH Group, another property management group in Miami, founding the middle ground has helped them keep tenants happier and encouraged them to renew.

Question: What is your company’s approach to decorating so building owners or property managers show they care—without making the building look like Santa’s workshop?

Decker: We let the on-site staff at each building decide based on tenant demographics. You want to have some decorations but not so much tinsel—for example—that it makes it hard for prospective tenants to see the building and sign a lease. We encourage an “understated ” look.

Q: How does that translate into decorations?

Decker: Generally, we say you can’t go wrong with simple, classic, white holiday lights that make residents feel good when they return home from work or when prospective tenants drive up to the building. Lights always add cheer.

Furniss: We take the same approach of keeping decorations simple and using maybe one color of lighting so they look generic, and maybe light the entrance and corporate leasing office. We might also put a wreath at the front door. We refer to all the celebrations as “the holidays” rather than to specific events.

Q: Anything else you do beside lights?

Decker: Because we try not to celebrate one denomination, we like other generic symbols such as snowflakes, snowmen, silver colors, as opposed to red and green, a tree, menorah, or Kwanzaa symbols. We want to be inclusive, especially since we often don’t know which holidays our residents celebrate.

Q: Have you had tenants complain about too much or too little?

Decker: Not so far.

Q: Do you also host holiday parties this time of year on- or off-site?

Decker: We do, and they’re on-site. The specifics vary from community to community-based on the resident profile. For buildings with young children, we might bring in a Santa Claus for photographs with the kids. For other sites, we might have gift wrapping parties where we supply the gift paper. We’ve also organize pot-luck suppers where we provide a ham or turkey, and residents bring side dishes and desserts. At some buildings with mostly lower-income residents, we may give away turkeys. We try to find out what residents want most by doing a lot of surveys throughout the year.

Furniss: We’ll host a party in the common area of a clubhouse or maybe on a pool deck of a building. We might have a movie night and ask residents for suggestions, and if their movie is picked they’ll get a prize. We’ll set up “Santa’s workshop” at each building with all the supplies needed to wrap gifts–paper and bows, and make it available the entire month of December. Many of our managers have been with us for years so they tend to know what works and doesn’t.

Q: How about saying thanks with contributions to a favorite charity in your tenants’ honor?

Decker: We try to do something like that during the season, or ask tenants to donate canned foods and toys so we all give back to our community beyond the building. We also let tenants know where their community may be hosting dinners they can attend.

Q: When do you suggest taking down decorations?

Decker: Usually, by the middle of January.

Furniss: We’ll take them down right after Christmas.

Q: Do you decorate for any other holidays to build camaraderie and good building morale?

Decker: We try to do things consistently year-round and in each quarter such as Halloween decorations come fall and a pool/barbecue around July 4th or some time during the summer. Again, we ask for tenant feedback to find what they want.

Furniss: We decorate for Halloween, and sometimes the staff dresses up, often with a theme such as witches

Q: Do you set a budget for these types of expenditures, and if so would you share?

Decker: I can’t give you a dollar amount since it varies so much by community and the number of units and occupants, which influences the amount.’

Furniss: Our buildings tend to spend between $500 and $1,000 for such events.

Q: Any parting advice?

Decker: Yes, keep decorating and hosting these kinds of celebrations and polling residents regarding what they want so they’ll take advantage. If we get 30 to 50 residents at an event, we consider that a good turnout and a success. We find that by taking time to do these things residents tend to renew their leases and remain longer with us

Furniss: We often try to have an event that offers children an activity when we can.

Now we’d love to hear from you! What do you do at your buildings to keep spirits up through the holiday season and even into the long month of January?

What You Need To Know About The California Solar Mandate?

What You Need To Know About The California Solar MandateBuilding codes are not the most exciting read, but codes and mandates are important for building owners to know. Understanding mandates make it easier for you to protect your buildings and protect your investment. The 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards are designed to move California towards solar power without inconveniencing too many people. The main points you need to know about the new solar mandate are discussed below.

What You Need To Know About The California Solar Mandate

  • Recouping money spent on solar installation has been time-consuming for building owners. While the process is not cheaper, it is less challenging. The CEC (California Energy Commission) estimates that the new construction of an up-to-code building will increase by $9,500. However, you will save $19,000 on energy and maintenance costs. In addition, if multiple buildings are constructed within the same neighborhood, the labor and transportation costs can be combined which will lower the per-unit installation cost for builders.
  • Not all buildings are covered by the new solar mandate. Only multi-family homes fewer than three stories in height are included and industrial, commercial and high-rise residential buildings are not. New climate-zone specifics are being enforced which state that all common areas in multi-family buildings are not included in the sizing calculations. This will influence the energy usage that gets compensated.
  • Multi-family developments and builders now need to consider solar installation on any new projects. There was never much incentive to do this before, but now owners can include solar power. This means installation and maintenance will need to be factored into rental prices and planning costs where they weren’t before. Owners should expect some resistance when it comes to renters not wanting to cover the increased costs with solar power, so they need to be creative when accounting for the costs to keep everyone happy.
  • The ‘duck curve’ is a technique that charts energy usage throughout the day compared to energy generation. The potential for generation during the day always exceeds the demand and in the evening more energy is needed but not as much is produced. The new mandate includes compliance credit that will hopefully reduce the impact of this curve. Installing batteries during the day allows power to be stored during times of high generation, and this can be used later in the day when demand is higher than supply.
  • Without regular maintenance, solar systems will lose functionality. This makes customer education important and the new code includes that it is now mandatory. An update to the building owner must now be provided as to how the system is operating. Additionally, the builders of these new solar-powered buildings must include warranty and maintenance costs in their plans.
  • Flexibility regarding solar power is important because not all buildings are the same. Using community solar and not individual rooftop units or by having a single solar garden can reduce labor costs. Sadly, the tenants do not benefit from the net metering of this solar arrangement. Currently, there are also rules in place stating that if a roof cannot sustain solar panels for any reason, builders will have the option of tradeoffs and storage credit in place of installation.
  •  Local authorities have the ability to make codes more stringent, so when it comes to solar power installation, you need to check with local groups first. If they are able to demonstrate that their proposed changes to the code will reduce energy consumption, the CEC will allow their changes to go into effect. This may be very flexible, but it means that you need to verify all designs with local authorities to ensure your plan and designs are up to code.

The new mandate is important to be familiar with. There are more details available in the full 2018 California Solar Mandate code ad a full understanding of the new solar changes coming into place will be essential for your success.

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Roofing Systems and the Environment

(A-One) Roofing Systems and the Environment

Global warming and excess waste are real threats to the environment along with the daily pile up of waste in our landfills. Recycling, conservation, and environmental protection are more popular than ever, and the roofing industry is on board with this. With over 3,000 landfills, there is already too much waste in this country, and with households dumping enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks, things need to change.

Roofing Systems and the Environment

Most people do not think of roofing materials when it comes to trash, but roofing materials end up in the landfills too. New housing and developments projects begin every day, meaning that more waste is created, and more roofing materials end up in the landfills. Repairing your roof rather than building a new one saves on the amount of waste created.

You can work with roofing contractors that choose to work with recycled materials and green options. Working with a roofer that can effectively dispose of roof waste can help you do your part in protecting the environment. You can also do your part by taking good care of your roof so that it lasts longer. The less replacement that is needed, the less waste will be created.

Recycling in Roofing

The roofing industry takes recycling and the environment seriously, and you will find that many contractors will offer recycled materials for your projects.

  • TPO roofing is 100% recyclable and the membrane can be reused in the manufacturing process, so it ends up in a new roofing membrane and not a landfill.
  • Metal roofing can be made from all types of recycled metals including soda cans.
  • Shingles are now reused which helps to reduce the millions of tons that are thrown out each year.
  • Rubber roofing systems are recyclable and you use them again for new roofing projects as well as for other projects such as garage flooring.
  • Solar panels are popular now because they save energy and save you money. They also help to reduce the carbon footprint left in the environment.
  • Green roofing with live vegetation is growing in popularity because it protects the environment and adds to the aesthetic appeal of a building.

We understand the importance of recycling and saving the environment and we do our part as well as help you do your part too. With so much waste in the world, we work to reduce what ends up in the landfills and make sure your building looks its best. Reach out to us today to discover what recycling or green options you have and together we will take better care of the environment.

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Eco-Friendly Roofing Options

A-One Eco-Friendly Roofing Options

With everybody going ‘green’ these days, the roofing industry has been making great efforts to keep up with these trends. You can now choose from several different eco-friendly options when it comes to your roof. We offer many styles that are energy-efficient, long-lasting, affordable and good for the environment. Some of the top products you can choose from are discussed below.

  • Cool Roofing: These roofing systems are made from white or light-color materials to help reflect the sun’s rays away from your building. With less heat being transferred inside, your air conditioning costs will be lower. This is especially useful when you live in warmer climates because you can get a more comfortable indoor space. The less air conditioning you need, the less pollution you cause making this roofing system ideal for those looking to protect the ozone. You can achieve 75% cooler inside temperatures by combining a reflective roof with special coated granules in the roof tiles.
  • Metal Roofing: Typically these are made from recycled metals like steel, aluminum, copper and zinc, all of which are durable and recyclable. Compared to conventional shingles, metal roofing lasts almost 30 years longer which means it is unlikely that you will ever have to replace your roof. Metal roofing systems come in different colors, so you can choose lighter colors to get additional reflective benefits.
  • Wood Shake and Shingles: Natural wood materials are biodegradable and offer a classic look to buildings. Traditional versions are made from old-growth cedar which is becoming scarce, so newer shakes are made from sustainable forests. Often you can get shakes and shingles made from reclaimed wood that was once a bridge, water tank, or mill. The one downside to wood roofing is that they are a fire hazard so you need to treat with a fire-resistant coating. Some areas prohibit the use of wood shingles, but if you really want that natural look, you can get shake-like materials made from 80% post-industrial recycled rubber.
  • Clay and Slate Tiles: Natural clay and slate have been used in the roofing industry for centuries, mainly because of their durability and long life. Tiles are eco-friendly in that they are fire-resistant, rot-resistant, insect-resistant and maintenance-free. The biggest drawback is that they are heavy and they can break easily under force. You may require additional support for your roof if you go with tiles. They do come in an assortment of colors and styles to match whatever building style you want to achieve. They may be more expensive than other materials, but their longevity more than makes up for the initial first costs.

 

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Benefits Of Green Roofs

Benefits Of Green Roofs (A-one)
 
Installing green roofs has numerous benefits to private, public, social, and economic sectors, as well as to both local and international environments. Green roofs provide similar functions, but every installation is unique. As such, technical performance depends on the building, climate, region, and type of green roof. Here are some of the general benefits of green roofs.

They minimize stormwater runoff

During heavy rains, runoff may overwhelm stormwater infrastructure, leading to considerable damage to fish habitats and waterways.

  • Green roof systems retain rainwater and, with the help of plants, return some of this moisture to the atmosphere via transpiration and evaporation.
  • Any stormwater that manages to leave the roof is slowed and decreased in volume.
  • The retention of runoff relieves the stress on sewers and stormwater infrastructure.
  • Decentralized stormwater mitigation enables cost savings that reduce the need to renovate or expand related infrastructure.

They are energy efficient

Green roofs cut back heat flux through the roof, providing significant cost savings as less energy is used for heating or cooling. Trimming the exterior surface of the building envelope is more productive than internal insulation.

  • During summer, the building is protected from direct solar heat by the green roof.
  • During winter, heat loss is minimized by extra insulation on the green roof
  • The resultant energy conservation leads to less greenhouse gas emissions

They improve air quality

Dust particles in the air are trapped by plant leaves, and ambient temperatures are cooled by evapotranspiration

  • Less heat + reduced ground level ozone = less smog
  • Decreased urban-heat-island profile
  • Reduced need for health-care services lead to societal cost savings

They serve as habitat

Rooftops are regarded as undisturbed areas can provide refuge for animals that are struggling to survive. These include ground-nesting birds like Killdeer, which use green roofs to nest and raise their young.

  • Vegetated rooftop habitats may work as stepping stones, creating corridors that link to other patches in the natural habitat
  • Natural habitats can work as templates for green roofs meant for biodiversity
  • Low-maintenance green roofs can provide refuge for species such as ground-nesting birds

Green roofs last longer

Green roofs protect the waterproofing membrane from UV rays and intense temperature fluctuations. As a result, the waterproofing lasts twice as long as with traditional roofing. This means that the lifespan of the membranes below green roofs is twice as long as that of traditional membranes.

  • Less material waste from re-roofing
  • Reduced frequent re-roofing, minimum costs over time

Life cycle expenses are competitive

A green roof costs more to install than a conventional roof, but it has a competitive life cycle cost.

They provide ‘extra’ space

Green roofs utilize unused space within our cities. The rooftops can be used for urban agriculture or serve as social/recreational spaces.

  • Amenity space for meetings, daycare, and recreation
  • Better aesthetic views of neighbors in adjacent buildings
  • Enhanced worker creativity and productivity
  • Potential to improve urban food security via food production and rooftop gardening

Job creation

Since the green roof industry is new in the market, it provides several employment opportunities:

  • Manufacture and supply of roofing membranes and drainage layers, root repellent layers, irrigation systems, curbs, landscaping cloth, and other specialty items.
  • Manufacture and supply of substrate, lightweight amendments, and soils, plants
  • Design and engineering contractors, professionals, and landscapers, as well as companies that supply maintenance contracts.

Additional Benefits

Some of the other benefits of green roofs include:

  • Helping us prepare and adapt to climate change by addressing the “Urban Heat Island Effect” and improving energy efficiency
  • Opportunities to recycle compost and aggregate
  • Providing natural views to hospital patients, thus reducing attention and medication needs
  • Potential for reduced wastewater/stormwater charges from utility or municipality
  • New projects can be approved faster
  • Potential for grants linked to green roofs and energy efficiency
  • Potential for larger floor area ratio/density bonusing
  • Potential to satisfy green space/minimum parkland set aside, needs

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