Dashboards Display Environmental Success Stories

  August 3, 2017

By Greg Zimmerman

If your building is performing at a high level, but you’re the only one who knows it, does it really “make a sound”?

Luckily, FMs have more options than ever to make that sound – to show both occupants and upper managers alike how well both the building itself and the organization as a whole is doing in terms of environmental performance.

Dashboards that show facility data — and in a format that makes sense to someone who doesn’t have the first clue what a kilowatt-hour is — are an increasingly valuable tool in an FM’s belt. And as technology continues to improve, especially new IoT technology devices that can feed data to a dashboard wirelessly, FMs have more options than ever about what to display and the format in which to display it.

The U.S. Green Building Council has recently been touting its Arc system — a dashboard that displays information on a facility’s energy and water use, waste rate, transportation, and “human experience” (which is basically occupant satisfaction). You may remember the LEED Dynamic Plaque. That’s what Arc is – a rebranding to be more inclusive (buildings can use Arc whether they’re LEED certified or not).

Skeptics say Arc is really just an expensive version of Portfolio Manager with a few occupant surveys added. But Arc delivers what it promises — it provides valuable data in a visually stimulating way so that occupants understand what they’re seeing and how the building is performing.

One final question facility managers need to address, though, is do occupants care? You may have the highest performing building in the state, with a fancy dashboard showing off your accomplishments, but your occupants simply bustle in and out every day without a thought to the space they inhabit. So if this the case, is your building really making a sound?

Ways to remedy that, if that’s the case: Hold lunch’n’learns for occupants explaining how they can help with environmental goals. Stage competitions between departments on reducing energy use. Give prizes for recycling rates. Show occupants they have a vested interest — and maybe soon you’ll see occupants congregating around the dashboard each morning to find out how they’re doing.

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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