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California remains mired in one of the worst droughts in its history. The situation is dire enough that institutional and commercial facilities face fines for unnecessary water use.
Consider the pressure maintenance and engineering managers face to reduce their water use. Harry Hobbs, director of engineering for the InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco, understands the hotel's responsibility to the state during the crisis.
"We as a hotel and company understand that we need to be stewards of the environment," he says. "It's a core value in the company and culture we have here. The Johnny-come-latelies started (reducing their water consumption) now that there's a problem. I wish they would have joined us earlier and maybe we wouldn't have the problems we have now."
Hobbs already had been trying to save water when the hotel opened in 2008 — four years before the drought started. His efforts resulted in savings of more than 3 million gallons of water annually.
The situation in California is a reminder to managers about the wisdom of educating themselves about environmental and energy issues, as well as developing and strengthening relationships with local utilities, government agencies, and their peers, all with the goal of addressing large-scale challenges before they become full-blown crises.
By being proactive, managers can realize a host of benefits. They can enhance the public's perception of the organization and, in the process, deliver bottom-line savings that top management will appreciate. In addition, managers also can benefit professionally by burnishing their image within the organization as leaders. The key is to get on board as early as possible because when the rest of the crowd jumps on, there might not be a good seat left.
Dave Lubach offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in commercial and institutional facilities.
Agree? Disagree? Have something to say? We want to hear from you. Visit myfacilitiesnet.com/davelubach, and start a conversation.
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