Building Operating Management

Best Approach To Take With Antiquated Equipment

You have mentioned seeing so much outdated equipment in your many building visits. What is the best approach for facility managers to take with antiquated equipment, and how does this relate to a good maintenance program?

First and foremost, if a facility manager is tasked with a building or campus that has aged equipment, the first step is to ensure that it is being maintained properly. Tear it down and build it back up again. “Outdated” doesn’t mean broken. I just visited a chiller plant with machines from the early ’70s.  The plant was in operation with minimal downtime — the efficiency of the machines was significantly lower than that of today’s equipment, but a good plant operator will get the most out of what he or she has available by optimizing the operation of the plant.

The next thing to do is begin planning for replacement of the equipment. Decide on what needs to be replaced first and budget for it in the capital plan – justify this by citing a standard like ASHRAE or ASHI that represents the useful lives of equipment. Perform a cost-benefit analysis using the enhanced energy savings of the new equipment (it may be necessary to engage a consultant to assist in the analysis). Investigate local utility and state incentive programs that buy down the cost of the equipment replacements.  A good rule is to always seek out the most efficient piece of equipment for replacement and use the incentive to buy down the incremental cost.

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

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  posted on 8/4/2015   Article Use Policy