Common Sense: Using Occupant Ideas For Efficiency

  August 18, 2017

By Greg Zimmerman

One of the first scenes in the new Netflix thriller Ozark depicts Jason Bateman’s character and his business partner walking around in a downtown Chicago high-rise, trying to decide if they want to lease office space for their successful financial advising firm. Bateman’s partner loves the space – it has stunning views of the lake and the Class A cachet he’s looking for.

Bateman’s character isn’t quite sold yet. He points at the glass wall and asks the leasing agent what kind of windows they are. They’re south-facing, he says, and if the windows aren’t efficient, their energy costs could be 15-20 percent higher.

The scene is good insight into Bateman’s character in the series. But it also holds a lesson for facility managers: Sometimes, it can be pretty surprising and amazing what your non-technical building occupants know about efficiency and sustainability – especially when there’s money involved.

In an earlier QuickRead, we looked at why it’s important to keep occupants informed about your building’s performance and long-term goals. But it’s also important to check with them periodically to find out if they have any suggestions. You never know where the next great idea for improvement might come from.

There are many ways to solicit advice, of course. From the good old-fashioned suggestion box, to fliers around the office with your email address, to a place on the FM’s website asking for feedback, to holding lunch and learns and encouraging everyone to come to the meeting with one idea. What’s most important is that occupants feel like their voices are being heard. So if you do look for suggestions, make sure you consider them carefully – and if they’re good, put them in place!

This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on the how sustainability and resilience complement each other.


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