Conservation, efficiency and an eco-friendly operation are all goals that facilities strive toward. Whether your goal is environmental, or you're driven by a different sort of green motivation, efficient and sustainable operation have become integral to the facility management industry.
This means that there are nearly as many strategies for improving efficiency as there are types of facilities in the first place. Regardless of the size, type or budget of your facility, there are a few key strategies you can implement to help you keep resource consumption low and operating efficiency high.
1. Focus on prevention
As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Facility managers likely know this better than most, but did you know that a preventive maintenance strategy can also help you keep your efficiency up as well?
You know that preventive maintenance and regular audits can help you identify problem areas in equipment and essential infrastructure. However, combining this proactive, preventive approach to building maintenance with the tracking, reporting and long-term planning afforded by a CMMS can have significant benefits to your efficiency as well. According to FacilitiesNet, "high performance" facilities are those that maintain a high degree of operational efficiency, including energy and water consumption. The key to operating a high performance facility is preventive maintenance, as it reduces the amount of operational budget lost responding to maintenance concerns. Similarly, it enables you to plan in the longer term, not just from a maintenance standpoint but from a budget one as well, which will make planning future retrofits even easier.
2. Submetering and other maintenance compartmentalizing
As a facility manager, you're likely already very familiar with your building's general consumption patterns and resource usage. But what you may not be familiar with is which areas of your facility specifically are more resource-hungry than others. After all, your building may be decades old, featuring some equipment that is only a couple of years old next to pieces of infrastructure that have been there since the building's construction. These differences in age, manufacturer or other similar factors can lead to uneven resource usage.
One thing facility managers have been doing to get a better idea of a more itemized consumption pattern is submetering. As FacilitiesNet pointed out, this involves installing submeters across various parts of your maintenance and service network, rather than just at the service entrance line. The benefit here is that you can get a clearer picture not just of how much water or power you're using, but which parts of your facility are using more than others. This is crucial if you want to better focus and direct your repair and replacement efforts.
3. Keep up with industry regulations
It's likely that you already stay on top of changes to government and industry guidelines regulating consumption and efficiency, but it's worth reiterating the importance of doing so if you want to improve your facility's overall efficiency.
Knowing not just the current regulations, but also what the past standards have been, can help in a variety of ways. For example, water fixtures can vary wildly in consumption, even among similar pieces of equipment - this is largely due to a change in water usage regulations in 1992. This may seem like esoteric information, but it can help you establish which pieces of equipment may be less efficient than others - knowledge which can further guide your efforts at planning and budgeting for preventive maintenance or even an all-out retrofit.
If you do identify equipment that you deem too old or inefficient, your replacement efforts should similarly be guided by these regulations and standards. In almost all cases, opting for newer, more efficient equipment can save far more money in the long run than less expensive infrastructure that may be far less efficient.