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The Green Side of Deferred Maintenance

Maybe without realizing it, institutional and commercial organizations could make their facilities greener in a hurry with a single step.
Given the buzz these days surrounding anything to do with environmental friendliness, why wouldn’t organizations give this step more serious consideration? Surprisingly, it’s been available for decades, but most people within these organizations have chosen to overlook it day after day, even though it’s in plain sight.
So what single step could provide these benefits and make facilities greener? Investing in deferred maintenance.
Many maintenance and engineering managers probably abandoned hope long ago that their organizations would properly fund the seemingly endless backlog of overdue repairs to key facility systems and components.
But what could it hurt to revisit the issue of deferred maintenance and make the case for funding repair projects as an investment in sustainability?
After all, repairing or replacing leaking roofs and fixing damaged interior surfaces would reduce or eliminate further problems with mold, improving the quality of the indoor environment and the health of occupants and visitors.
Upgrading or replacing inefficient chillers would curb organizations’ energy use and costs, and replacing chillers that still use ozone-depleting refrigerants certainly would fit in well with any organization’s green strategy.
And retrofitting old or leaking plumbing fixtures with low-flow fixtures or waterless urinals would help conserve the nation’s dwindling water supply.
Managers would need a little time to reframe their funding requests in these terms, but they wouldn’t need to go it alone. Manufacturers, green-issue groups and a host of other interested parties certainly would be willing to provide the needed facts and figures to back up any request.
And in the end, whatever the tone of the request and whatever larger strategy it dovetails with, the goal for managers is finding the funding to do the right thing for facilities and their occupants. So if green can make it happen, join the movement, and go green.


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