Maintenance Challenge: Sustaining Sustainability

  February 6, 2012

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, sustaining sustainability.

A LEED-certified, sustainable facility, combined with high-performance operation and maintenance, is an admirable accomplishment, one that can help lower capital and operating budgets, improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction, and minimize the facility's impact on the environment.

But what about years from now? How will managers balance all of their ongoing maintenance and engineering challenges and still properly maintain LEED-certified buildings?

According to Michael Cowley, a facilities management consultant with CE Solutions, the key to maintaining certified buildings in a like-new condition is fairly straightforward. But it requires an organized strategy, along with a long-term vision and master plan. This strategy will enable the facility management team to continually monitor the facility and make simple course corrections to keep the operation and maintenance on a sustainable path.

Among the essential components of Cowley's strategy are these items:

Management vision and culture. This component is by far the most important and has the most enduring ability to ensure an organization has a consistent vision and culture of sustainable buildings and operational practices.

Proper staffing and organization. No matter how good managers are at facility management and maintaining LEED-certified buildings, they will continue to struggle to maintain the systems they were given during the commissioning process if they do not have the proper organization or staffing complement. They must have the right number of tradespeople and must have them deployed in the proper roles to perform up to the levels of the building's design.

Asset history and data management. This is one of the foundation components of a high-performance building. The ability to collect, store, and manage all of the assets is essential to the long-range goal of having and maintaining a sustainable building. It is imperative to be able to sort by asset the complete cradle-to-grave cost to maintain each asset.

Work-order management. As a sub-component of the asset-management process, a work-order system is essential in helping to track the actual cost to maintain each asset, as well as provide vital information and statistics about labor loads, labor costs, and work distribution by craft.


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