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The underlying goal of every great facility manager is to provide and manage services that ensure all occupants of a building can live or work in a comfortable environment. This requires facility managers to stay on top of advancements and innovation in current and new systems to make sure they are maximizing savings and getting the best performance out of their facility.
Over the last decade, the implementation of sustainability programs has become a key tool in achieving those goals. Many institutional and commercial facilities are actively working toward meeting a host of energy-saving goals with new and retrofit projects involving lighting, HVAC and water consumption, among other areas.
While these projects can be complex and expensive, facility managers don’t have to do it alone. Many have turned to their energy service companies (ESCO) for help. Not only can ESCOs help identify the most effective projects for a facility, but they can also help to secure funding. Sustainability grants and rebates from utilities and the government can help save money on energy-saving projects and get facilities closer to meeting their sustainability goals.
There are a number of reasons why organizations are interested in going green. Whether it is for marketing, true cost savings, or to combat the rising challenges of climate change, updated and modern facilities are a great way to achieve both sustainability and efficiency goals. And for today’s building owners and facility managers, the opportunities have never been greater.
As buildings, their systems and equipment age, organizational leaders are navigating a host of challenges, while at the same time calls for carbon reduction and elimination are strong and growing rapidly. By embracing new technologies and taking advantage of ever-increasing funding opportunities, building owners and managers have a chance to not only transform the built environment’s current state, but also its contributions to positively affect climate change, says Leslie Larocque, vice president of Energy & Technical Services, mountain region, at McKinstry.
“Buildings and their systems are responsible for about 40 percent of carbon emissions, which is why more and more state and local governments are implementing legislation requiring more efficient and less harmful building systems. It is time to quicken the pace and think bigger to decarbonize our built environment,” says Larocque.
In August, the Biden Administration passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to directly address global warming, in addition to lowering prescription drugs costs, raising taxes on some billion-dollar corporations, and reducing the federal deficit.
The bill, which is projected to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030, provides $369 billion in funding for initiatives such as cutting emissions, manufacturing clean energy products and advancing environmental justice initiatives.
With the passage of this law and its associated funding, Larocque says facility managers “have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to implement transformational projects tailored to the building owner’s situation and desired outcomes like programming needs, climate impact goals, cost savings, elimination of deferred maintenance and resiliency.”
But beyond the public and legislative pressure, the construction and building systems industry has seen significant innovation in recent years and overhauling and/or retrofitting a building is more accessible than ever.
“Organizations can implement projects that will transform their facilities and keep their focus on their mission at the same time; there is a path to reaching efficiency goals without compromise,” Larocque says.
Amy Wunderlin is a freelance writer based in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
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