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Dan Hounsell: Ensuring Long-Term Facility Performance
Top executives in your organization are counting on you, and they might not even realize it until it’s too late.
As with so many issues in institutional and commercial facilities, executives tend to focus on the latest and greatest. Newly announced construction projects, newly opened facilities, and newly installed, cutting-edge technology inevitably get their attention.
Then the lights fade, top executives turn their focus elsewhere, and it quickly falls to maintenance and engineering managers and their departments to ensure the new building or system performs as intended during planning and design.
Over time facility operations, occupants, conditions and activities change. Technology can break down. As a result, the initial parameters a building or system operated under eventually shift.
For example, facilities establish setpoints for HVAC control systems during the LEED certification process or system commissioning. But those parameters can begin to drift and eventually become outdated unless technicians update them in response to changing operating conditions in facilities. Unless managers and their staffs pay attention and take action, the result is likely to be wasted energy dollars.
As demonstrated by new-generation control systems on display at Lightfair in Philadelphia in May, manufacturers are addressing this challenge. Tapping into the power of the Building Internet of Things, they are introducing more intuitive control systems that put more power in the hands of technicians and more data in the hands of managers.
While top executives are not likely to notice changes in facility performance at first, they will notice rising energy costs. Technology advances are helping managers catch the drift of facility and system performance before they create bottom-line problems for organizations.