While facility managers' primary concern is keeping up with building maintenance and the life cycles of their essential infrastructure, there's more to managing equipment than just repair status. Deterioration and breakdown may be the most common reasons for retrofit or even outright replacement, but there's more to the story than that.
Especially with a recent industry focus on environmental stewardship, sustainability and energy efficiency, facility managers have had to reassess older but otherwise functional infrastructure for environmental reasons rather than maintenance ones. It's essential for FMs to keep abreast of these federal and agency mandates when they're updated and know what their responsibilities are as a result.
New electrical standards provide new guidance for facilities
Large-scale environmentally focused efforts such as LEED and ENERGY STAR are well-known, but there are other initiatives in place that can offer either mandates or advice on how facility managers can adjust their infrastructure to perform better. One such example is the annually updated Electrical Standards and Products Guide from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. As Today's Facility Manager noted, NEMA's guide not only outlines the new electrical standards, highlighting any changes - if any - but also offers a list of product manufacturers so FMs can make informed retrofitting and purchasing decisions.
Some of the topics addressed in the NEMA guide include standards and specifications that LED lights must adhere to, both physical and electrical. Lighting has been a major issue throughout the industry in recent years, and as FMs make the decision to retrofit or upgrade, having such information available can be invaluable.
What do facility managers need to know?
Knowing the standards is one thing, but it's also crucial to keep a close eye on your current infrastructure to know how it stacks up with changing regulations. For example, changes to LEED, ENERGY STAR or NEMA may impose new efficiency guidelines that could require an FM to take a close look at his or her facility's output.
The best tool a facility manager has for staying on top of changing maintenance standards is thorough and regular monitoring of existing structures. Fortunately, building automation tools like a CMMS can add a layer of convenience to energy efficiency management. Centralized software dashboards provide a single location where equipment life cycles, work orders and other maintenance concerns can be tracked or updated in real time. This can be useful when it comes time to plan operations and capital budgets in the wake of an update to a regulation.