Modern Management

by Katie Lee

Historic farmer’s market overhauls its electrical infrastructure — reducing energy usage and tenants’ utility bills.

By Tom Leonard

More than a century old, the York Central Market occupies nearly a sprawling city block of downtown real estate and is one of the oldest farm-to-market operations in the country. Located in the heart of York County, Pennsylvania, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the market is the bustling commercial home to a range of fresh produce, seafood, meat, deli product and specialty vendors, many of whom operate seasonal businesses and move in and out as their sales cycles change. With more than 50 vendors preparing everything from subs, sandwiches and paninis, to those selling fresh fruits, vegetables and other delicacies, the Market serves the community as an iconic gathering place enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike.

Historic Market Gets Fresh New Look

As part of a $1.9 million revitalization project to modernize the market’s farmstand-fresh appeal, property managers at the two-story, 35,000-square-foot complex updated the interior with a new lighting system, energy-efficient boiler, overhead fans, ADA-compliant push-button wooden doors and fire suppression sprinkler system. As the renovation plans developed, facility managers at the Market recognized the need for an upgraded electrical distribution system to help management get a handle on the Market’s electrical costs and provide a way to accurately invoice tenants for their electrical usage.

Old System Creates Accounting Headache for Management and Detracts from Market’s Décor

The electrical infrastructure posed an accounting headache for management: Some vendor kiosks were utility company-metered while others weren’t. The patchwork system created an inequitable situation among vendors. Some paid the utility company directly for their usage. Others were billed by property management based on allocated usage. This disparity made it difficult for management to get a handle on its electrical consumption or implement energy conservation measures.

Also prior to the reconstruction, vendor kiosks were powered via a jumble of wires that ran overhead to electrical meters mounted on the walls behind vendor stations. The exposed wires were not only unsightly, but created an electrically unsound condition and potential liability for property managers.

Making the Smart Choice for an Energy Management System

Upgrading the electrical distribution system was a key element in modernizing the Market’s décor and creating a more appealing and eco-friendly environment for vendors and visitors alike. Property managers decided to replace the Market’s patchwork electrical distribution system with a submetering solution and tenant billing system.

The new system eliminated the exposed wiring and increased the marketability of the tenant space. All wiring was run beneath the flooring and terminated at submeters tucked away in utility closets off the sales floor to enhance aesthetics. 

A Robust Energy Management Solution with Built-In Tenant Billing

The new submetering and communications system now provide the Market with a robust energy management platform that enables easy tracking, monitoring and verifying of real-time energy usage in monthly, daily and 15-minute time intervals for each vendor. The icing on the cake: the system seamlessly integrates with the billing software. The software automatically generates monthly electrical bills for each vendor based on actual usage.

The new electrical distribution system and tenant billing platform hit the “sweet spot” for property management and tenants. “By replacing our old patchwork system with [the new] solution, we can monitor our energy use and invoice tenants for the electricity they actually use,” says Casi Babinchak, the Market’s chief operating officer. “Our billing process is streamlined and we’re able to run a more energy-efficient operation.”

— A 25-year veteran in the electrical, lighting and control industry, Tom Leonard is vice president of marketing & product management for Melville, New York-based Leviton Lighting & Energy Solutions, which provides a comprehensive range of solutions to help customers create sustainable, intelligent environments with its lighting energy management systems, submetering solutions and electrical wiring devices that deliver savings in energy, time, and cost for retrofits and new construction. Email [email protected].

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