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Cutting Costs: Four Tips For Facility Managers

By Robin R Zoufalik

A key role of facility managers is meeting budget requirements and keeping outlays on utilities trim. Most facility managers are acutely aware of the challenge, especially if strategies are not in place or there's a lack of technology to help.

Here are four tips to help managers cut building operations costs:

1. Utilize Technology: The most significant change in facilities management within the last decade was the advancement in technologies around the concept of the Internet of Things.

While many managers still view these technologies as an added cost, the ease of operation and installation available to operations and facilities management pros today is impressive.

Often the buying decision for upgrading to automated buildings tech comes downs to the cost savings in the medium and long terms. When a company has the budget to invest in, for example, solar panels or intelligent lighting, big reductions in energy waste and cost will follow.

2. Communicate and Grow A Green Culture: In commercial or institutional facilities, communicating with tenants can help save on costs. Working together at becoming more energy efficient and greener can help reduce costs while ensuring everyone becomes more environmentally conscious.

Education is the key here. Managers must work with their HR department to foster a greener company culture. Simple tasks like switching to LED lights, lowering the heat or AC when tenants leave their space or getting retail spaces to shut their night lights off are all active ways to cut down costs with tenants’ help.

3. Work with Nature: Instead of turning up the dial on the heating system in the winter, why not let more natural light into the facility to enable the sunlight to naturally heat up the space. In the summer, closing some blinds or curtains can help keep facilities cool and decrease energy use of air conditioners. In addition, shrubs and trees can also provide great natural shading to help cool a space. If the facility is in a mostly sunny climate, consider adding solar panels to the roof.

Managers should jot down a short list of how to utilize nature to reduce costs. Managers might be surprised how many simple ways nature can play a role. Remember, it’s not only good for the  facility, but also the environment.

4. Don’t Overlook the Little Things: There are tons of smaller things managers can do to cut costs. You might overlook them because you’re concerned with the bigger picture, but the fact is, these things are all part of a bigger picture. Examples include: turning off vending machine lights; changing filter screens; making sure refrigeration units are kept at the proper temperature; checking windows for leaks; and leaving office computers on. By proactively seeking out and dealing with these small things, you can cut your costs by more than you originally thought!

Zoufalik is the VP of the Sales and Marketing department at CleanAlert, the award-winning air filter tech manufacturer and distributor based out of Ohio. Zoufalik's core experience is within the the built environment (analysis, design, construction, and maintenance) including professional services (architects, engineers, contractors), real estate development, property management, and maintenance. Robin is an engineer by education and a people person by experience.

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posted on 7/8/2016