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July 25, 2011 -
Today's tip from Building Operating Management: A new, free handbook can help facility managers track and improve building performance for energy and building systems.
The Building Performance Handbook offers advice on tools that can be used to monitor the energy and system performance of buildings. Performance tracking is aimed at continuous improvement of building systems and operations. There are four elements to performance tracking:
• Collect data and track the performance of the HVAC and lighting systems, plus energy use data.
• Identify performance problems.
• Diagnose problems and identify solutions.
• Fix problems and verify results.
To help facility managers build a business case, the handbook identifies a range of benefits from performance tracking, including enhanced occupant satisfaction, reduced energy costs and increased property values.
There are three basic tools for performance tracking: energy benchmarking, utility bill analysis and the building automation system, which can help to collect and analyze data, identify and solve problems, and track results. In addition, the handbook identifies advanced tools for energy and system tracking that include energy information systems, building automation systems, and fault detection and diagnostic tools. But none of those tools can be most effective unless the appropriate management framework is in place. The handbook identifies six elements of an effective management framework:
1. Allocate resources, including making time for staff to analyze and act on performance data and providing training.
2. Identify a team, which should include both top management and operating staff, along with a champion.
3. Set specific performance goals.
4. To motivate staff, consider incentives ranging from creating recognition programs to linking bonuses to energy performance.
5. Ensure accountability with well defined reporting policies.
6. Include performance tracking goals in contracts.
The handbook was written by PECI, a non-profit organization devoted to energy efficiency, and funded by the California Commissioning Collaborative.