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Building Operating Management

Advice To Improve Maintenance Focused On Energy Efficiency





What general advice do you have for facility managers who wish to establish or improve a maintenance program focused on improving energy efficiency?

Education is a key factor in the design and development of any program. I suggest first that the facility manager assess his or her current understanding of how energy is consumed by equipment in facilities and then determine how much help is needed to develop an energy-focused maintenance program. Facility managers must address not only the energy-consuming equipment and systems in their facilities, but, in many cases, landscaping, janitorial/custodial requirements, and furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E).

And the preventive maintenance, more often than not, focuses on ensuring that downtime is minimized, rather than optimal performance. This is due to the fact that occupant health, safety, and comfort are paramount, especially in facilities where high rent is being paid.
Since this can be a daunting task, given the myriad responsibilities of a facility manager, my suggestion would be to start small: Begin by addressing one component of a PM program and spend time understanding how it consumes energy.  The Internet is a great resource for this information, as are training programs supported by the Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI) and other such organizations, geared specifically toward facility managers.

The next step would be to accumulate data on that system or piece of equipment and track progress. In order to do this with a whole facility, a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is crucial to an energy-focused maintenance management program, but only after a thorough understanding of the equipment and systems is achieved.

Answers provided by John J. Lembo, CEA, LEED AP. Lembo is vice president of TRC, an engineering, environmental consulting, and construction management firm.


posted on 8/4/2015

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