Talking Points Column: All that Glitters is not (LEED) Gold

By Dan Hounsell, Editor  

Among the lessons learned by the maintenance and engineering managers and staff at the Modesto (Calif.) Medical Center is one that applies to much more than just facilities:

If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. When the 670,000-square-foot center opened in 2008, it was intended to be a green laboratory for future green-building projects for Kaiser Permanente, the health care organization with more than 600 medical facilities.

As I discovered when I revisited our 2008 article on the medical center, things have not gone as hoped, despite the best efforts of Ed Gonzales, the medical center's chief engineer, and his staff. Though the installation of permeable pavement in the center's parking lots has proven to be a successful sustainability effort, numerous systems and components in the facilities have not performed as intended and, in fact, have created major maintenance and operations headaches.

"We've discovered from the original building that there were many systems that were value-engineered, which means two things," Gonzales says. "One, sometimes things look good on paper when in reality, it's the end user that has to find ways to keep a system running. Two, saving money at the beginning will always cost you more in the end." You can read more about the ongoing maintenance and operations challenges facing Gonzales and his staff in my online-exclusive article at: http://bit.ly/19y12JF

Dan Hounsell offers observations about trends in maintenance and engineering management and the evolving role of managers in facilities.

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  posted on 2/24/2014   Article Use Policy

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