Technology, Operations and Maintenance Are Keys To Sustainability Efforts

By Bill Conley  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Why Facility Managers Make the Best Sustainability ExecutivesPt. 2: IFMA's Sustainability Programs Can Help FMs Meet Sustainability GoalsPt. 3: Areas For FMs To Master In Sustainability: Planning, Project Management, Communication, Real Estate, FinancePt. 4: This PagePt. 5: A Guide To Greenbuild 2013

To become recognized as sustainability experts within an organization, facility managers need to understand that technology, operations and maintenance are keys to sustainability efforts.

10. Technology

Facility managers must be familiar with all manner of technology both to support the facility operations and their close interaction with the IT department. Software programs such as integrated workplace management systems (IWMS), building information modeling (BIM), computer assisted facility management (CAFM) or computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) should be implemented for streamlined operations and cost savings. Measuring, monitoring, and adjusting based on technology output are valuable actions that ensure efficiency.

11. Operations and Maintenance

The core of a facility manager's job is to provide the means for achieving energy efficiency, conserving water, managing resources, and delivering optimum indoor environmental quality. These tasks deal with cause and effect — amending and improving processes that aim at high performance workplaces. These responsibilities and the management of these operations serve as a microcosm for an overall sustainability program. A full-fledged sustainability effort on the facility level will serve as a starting point for a comprehensive corporate program.

Planning for the Future

Sustainability is becoming inextricably woven into the fabric of business. This has created the need for executives who can lead an organization down the right path. Business as usual is no longer just about isolated efforts relegated to development or distribution of products and services. It is about systems and their impacts on employees, communities, and customers. It embraces an understanding of social issues as well as environmental ones; strategic approaches along with tactical expertise.

The concept of organizational sustainability is changing. Today's leaders need diverse professional skills and wide-ranging experience. They must be able to navigate complex systems and relationships while maintaining a focus on society's ever-shifting expectations. They also need to effectively engage and empower the new generations of employees for whom sustainability is a prime prerogative. Facility managers are best positioned to accomplish these goals.

The ongoing experience and education of facility professionals creates a tailor-made fit for an organization's sustainability program. It is their charge to manage the built environment and be care-givers to all the stakeholders in any endeavor. The satisfaction of criteria to reap the benefits of the triple bottom line (people, planet, and profits) falls neatly into their bailiwick. Corporate executives should recognize the success that facility managers can bring them in this new and volatile arena and embrace them as a valued partner in the C-Suite.

Bill Conley CFM, SFP, FMP, LEED AP, IFMA Fellow is owner/CSO of CFM2, a facility management and sustainability consulting company based in Orange County, Calif. Conley has more than 35 years of experience in the facility management profession and has been a proponent of sustainable operations for more than 20 years. He has managed facilities for both large corporations and smaller companies. He has worked on LEED projects as well as assisted businesses in implementing and benefitting from sustainable practices. Conley can be reached at bill@cfm2.net.

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  posted on 11/15/2013   Article Use Policy

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