Utility costs for commercial rental space?
August 1, 2012 6:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm working on the business plan for a "Maker Space" we're trying to start in Rochester NY. I'm trying to estimate utility costs (heating, cooling & basic lighting) for different size spaces (5,000, 10,000 & 20,000 square feet) that we might rent. I know that asking what you pay may not be too helpful because utility rates, climate, building construction and use can vary greatly. But that's what I'm asking -- how big is your building or rental space and how much do you pay on the average each month for utilities? I'd also like to know if there's a good rule of thumb to use or if there is some other way to find out what we need to know.
posted by 14580 to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Can the local utility company tell you the (average?) costs for the last few years? I know that people looking at residential rentals can usually get this info fairly easily.
posted by rtha at 6:32 AM on August 1, 2012

They can only tell you if there has been a recent tenant and most of the places we've been looking at have been vacant for awhile.
posted by 14580 at 6:45 AM on August 1, 2012

Can you ask the neighboring tenants?
posted by COD at 7:17 AM on August 1, 2012

Contact local real estate agents that deal with commercial properties; knowing the various ultilies cost is a normal request. Due the volume they see they should be able to average pretty accurately.
posted by saucysault at 7:21 AM on August 1, 2012

Utility costs are not a fixed thing. Daylighting, passive solar design, and so on can dramatically reduce them (while also making the place generally more comfortable). As I understand it, unlike residential rentals, industrial or commercial space is routinely altered prior to move in. Passive solar is best done at the time the building was designed but if you have to do some design work anyway, that would be a good time to incorporate some limited passive solar elements. It will pay dividends in the long run.

I used to have a subscription to a solar energy magazine. I recall one commercial building designed with daylighting and passive solar which had a monthly utility bill of around five dollars. And it was not a small space. (Compare this to the $200 to $300/month I was paying at one time for electricity for a 1000 sq. ft. apartment in SFBA.)

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 7:34 AM on August 1, 2012

The Milwaukee Makerspace might be willing/able to give you the information for a similar situation.
posted by drezdn at 7:40 AM on August 1, 2012

I have a 4k s/f art studio. Our costs are 200/ month electricity (we are good about not leaving lights on), about 35 water, 50 internet, and in the winter about 300/ month on coal for our heating stoves.
posted by amcm at 8:03 AM on August 1, 2012

NYC Resistor in Brooklyn may be able to help, too. Obviously NYC isn't Rochester, hopefully to your benefit. Best of luck!
posted by Sunburnt at 8:03 AM on August 1, 2012

Your utility should be able to give you a close enough average whether or not the space has been rented recently. There has to be similar buildings with those approximate sizes in their sales area.

If these places have been vacant for awhile that most likely means there is going to be a need for furnace/AC upgrades. You could talk to some sales reps for HVAC systems who may be able to help you out with costs for newer energy efficient systems.
posted by JJ86 at 10:34 AM on August 1, 2012

While the geographic location is not the same, I suspect in terms of understanding how much of the monthly costs go to different utilities/categories, and how the space is used to even know whether you'd need 5,000, 10,000 etc... old-school MeFite Mars Saxman could help, as he might not see this thread. If I'm not mistaken, he's [co]started at least one maker space here in Seattle.
posted by hincandenza at 3:50 PM on August 1, 2012

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