Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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Handling Utilities Requires Multi-Pronged Approach

A signature building at Mesa del Sol, a master-planned development in Albuquerque, N.M., is the Aperture Center, designed by the distinguished architect Antoine Predock. Besides attracting offi ce and retail tenants with sleek modern lines, the 78,000-square-foot building also offers a glimpse into the future of commercial buildings and the utilities that serve them.

The building is the subject of a four-year pilot project that integrates a solar power storage unit into the power grid operated by PNM, the local electric utility. When the pilot program wraps in 2014, the Center for Emerging Energy Technologies at the University of New Mexico will take custody of the project and use it for continued research and development.

For all its promise, the renewable smart-grid technology being tested at the Aperture Center is years away from becoming a daily fact of life for most property managers and owners. In the meantime, real estate managers are continuing to seek ways to make dealings with utilities as effi cient and effective as possible. Recent studies suggest that aggressive steps by owners of multiple commercial building types, and sometimes by tenants, are helping to keep utility costs down.

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