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An Editor's View of High-Performance Buildings + Workplaces
Building Operating Management Executive Editor and HPB+W Ambassador, Greg Zimmerman brings more than 13 years of experience and knowledge to the facility management field. He discusses the changes and trends he’s seen in the quickly evolving occupation. With technology rapidly influencing the profession, facility managers can expect to see the effect in their everyday jobs and the overall performance of their buildings.
Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management
What misconceptions do people have about smart, sustainable buildings?
A common misconception I hear is high-performance buildings or smart buildings must be super expensive and complex. That’s simply not true. Even small buildings that are easier to operate can be smart, high-performance, and sustainable. Most buildings in the United States are smaller, so we can really start making a dent in energy use if we concentrate on smaller buildings. You can have a building with a smaller footprint and have it be high performance.
Looking ahead, what excites you about the future of the facilities business?
The rate at which high-performance building technology is being implemented is really encouraging. The Internet of Things — IoT — is one example. We have adopted IoT technology in our personal lives, and now we’re doing that in our professional lives. People have been using smart phones to remotely control things like their thermostats and smart TVs, or even to close the garage door. This has migrated to the workplace, and it’s changing the facility management landscape. There is also an influx of young professionals moving into this industry, and it’s really exciting to see. The face of the industry is changing. Today, you can get an undergrad or post grad degree in facility management. People who went to school for engineering and went back to get their MBA are now becoming facility managers. It’s a new trend we are seeing, and it has really impacted the industry positively.
What advice would you give to facility managers who are just starting out?
One thing to focus on is learning about what’s going to be important in the future. The biggest topic in facility management right now is high-performance buildings and sustainability. Technology is second nature to young professionals just coming in. Understand and learn the technology. Be the “go to” person for your building. Make yourself the expert. Educate those that didn’t grow up with technology at their fingertips, like you did. Never stop learning.
What do people need to know about HPB+W?
This is really the only show of its kind, covering such a wide range of topics. It concentrates on energy and water efficiency, air quality, IoT, technology; all falling under the umbrella of high-performance buildings. This is our third year of the show and we are really hitting our stride. Not only is this a unique event for the industry, it’s also the only one that’s free. You get all the sessions, all the exhibitors, networking opportunities, at no cost! As a bonus, the Rangers are in town that week! Come for HPB+W, stay for baseball!
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