Energy Information is Key

July 16, 2001

Once a tenant has felt the sting of paying energy costs allocated on the basis of square-footage, they get pretty testy about the idea of doing it again, explains Linda Bender, operations manager for Stag Investments, the owner of Airport Commercial Center in St. Louis. “Brokers just don’t want to have to tell a tenant he’s going to pay utilities on a square-footage basis,” adds Don LaBrayere, Stag Investments’ general manager and principal.

So when Stag started retrofitting the 75,000-square-foot Airport Commercial Center, it faced the prospect of installing a lot of meter bases. Management felt it was costly, but worthwhile for lease negotiation.

The solution, however, turned out to be both less expensive and easier after consulting with AmerenDMS metering expert Marshall Sidwell. “We learned a way to use existing wiring and give individual tenants accurate information about energy cost without installing meter bases,” LaBrayere explains.

Ameren Abacus, an Internet-based energy information system that provides 15-minute interval readings for electric and natural gas utilities, monitors each suite at theAirport Commercial Center. “We set the building up with eight gas submeters, and six electric submeters. We’re submetering within each tenant’s space,” says Sidwell. “We read the submeters with a telephone-based recorder that captures meter pulses and sends the data to the Abacus central database. Data can be viewed by management over the Internet and turned into easily understood reports for tenants. The system is really flexible and expandable.” Ameren Abacus by AmerenDMS, St. Louis.

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