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Green Programs Provide Facilities Education

green, leed, maintenance and operations, energy, energy efficiency, benchmarking

July 12, 2010 - Maintenance & Operations

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is taking action to better understand your buildings.

How well do you know your facilities? What types of activities do you undertake to expand your knowledge and better understand the intricacies of building operations?

Pursuing certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), allowed an engineer I spoke with recently to take an in-depth look at one facility's maintenance and operations activities.

The experience has provided him with lessons he can apply to other buildings pursuing LEED certification or undertaking initiatives to improve their environmental responsibility.

"It was a huge learning curve," the engineer said of the LEED-certification effort. "It felt like I was doing a giant book report on the campus. I had to learn about transportation. I had to learn about recycling. I had to learn about purchasing. It was very educational for me to get (familiar) with the campus."

While talking with managers about energy benchmarking recently, the book-report comment seemed applicable yet again. Benchmarking facility energy use forces managers to delve deeply into the performance of buildings and equipment.

Without generating an energy baseline, managers and technicians too often operate on assumptions related to building efficiency or do not realize the improvements they can make, sometimes without expending a lot of time and money.

Whether through benchmarking energy use or pursuing LEED certification, becoming more familiar with facilities operations is a practice managers and technicians undoubtedly should seek out if the opportunity presents itself.


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