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26 Jun 2018
Why FMs Are Taking the Lead in Building Product Selection
Facility management is full of pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later quandaries, and the product selection process offers a couple of great examples. The one most facility managers probably think of first is initial cost vs. life cycle cost. But there’s an equally good example involving an investment of hours, not dollars. It’s the question of what role the facility management team should play in the product selection...
23 May 2018
Get Ready: New Energy Star Scores Are Coming
Ever since new market data on building energy performance became available in 2016, staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program have been working to update the rating system. It’s no small task, but the end is in sight: On August 26, recalibrated statistical models that determine Energy Star scores are scheduled to be released. Most buildings will get new scores, even though their...
30 Apr 2018
Big FM Data: Help Wanted
Whether the numbers involve energy consumption, equipment performance or occupancy patterns, buildings are a rich source of data. But getting the value from Big Data, like mining gold from a lode buried deep in the earth, takes some doing. One person whose help you’ll need is a data scientist. That’s the person who can figure out how to crunch the stream of data available from sensors and building systems...
3 Apr 2018
Six Technologies for Tomorrow - Or Today
Facility managers have always been consumers of technology. More and more, I think, facility managers should become students of technology as well. As technology consumers who are selecting products that may be in place for decades and that can help or hinder the organization to achieve its mission, facility managers have to scrutinize new offerings with very critical eyes. It’s essential to cut through the sometimes...
27 Feb 2018
New Owner, New Beginning
Thirty years ago, a new team took control of Trade Press, the company that publishes Building Operating Management , as two top managers bought out the previous owner. The sale began a new era for the company. The goal of our CEO, Bob Wisniewski, was to grow the company, and he succeeded. Under his leadership, Trade Press built itself from being publisher of two magazines into a diverse media company with an array of...
29 Dec 2017
What's Next for Enterprise Data Centers?
That’s an easy question, right? More use of colocation or cloud facilities surely means that legacy data centers are being downsized if not decommissioned. And that you can forget about building a new enterprise data center. Well, maybe. It all depends. At the recent C ritical Facilities Summit , I got a sense of how complex that question is. For example, when Hennepin County completed a major data center renovation...
17 Nov 2017
Coming Attraction (I Hope): Certification for Smart Buildings
The launch of a building certification program can be powerful driver for change. Consider Energy Star and LEED . Both arrived at times when the opportunity for gains was significant. Both helped to transform the facility market by providing sought-after stamps of approval. Smart buildings is another arena that could benefit from a widely accepted stamp of approval. An abundance of smart technology exists to reduce...
30 Oct 2017
Energy Star, Green Lease Leaders, Offer New Support for Tenants
Over the years, Energy Star has steadily expanded its reach. Today, a wide spectrum of buildings can use the program to score energy performance on a scale of 1 to 100 and to gain certification for energy efficiency. But one segment of the real estate market has been left out: tenants. Congress sought to change that when it passed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, which authorized EPA to expand Energy Star...
26 Sep 2017
Who's on Your Energy Efficiency Team?
Imagine that your organization decides that the summertime cooling set point will be raised by several degrees. The goal is to make a significant dent in energy use. Your job is to get people to buy in to the plan. What would you do? This is more than a hypothetical case. The Japanese government did exactly that more than a decade ago, requiring higher summer temperatures in government buildings and encouraging the...
21 Aug 2017
With New Technology, Think Big, Start Small
Is now the time? The time to move to a cloud-based, Building Internet of Things platform to link the facilities in your portfolio? Or to install low-flow toilets? Or tubular LEDs? Or an advanced rooftop unit? Or smart windows? The range of new technology options for facility managers can be dizzying. Facility managers who are considering whether to take the plunge might want to keep in mind two pieces of advice. These...
24 Jul 2017
Survey of FMs Shows Good News, Bad News on PUE
For all the number crunching that goes on in a data center, one number is often conspicuous by its absence: PUE (power usage effectiveness). PUE is a metric that shows how much of the power supplied to the data center is being used by IT equipment. While PUE has its critics, it remains a good benchmark that can help improve the energy efficiency of the data center facility infrastructure. PUE was introduced in 2007...
28 Jun 2017
FM Leaders Should Act on Climate Change
Amid the disparate day-to-day challenges facing facility managers, the long term agenda increasingly revolves around the pressing need to transform buildings. Many forces are driving that transformation — developments in technology and behavior that are altering the way people use the built environment; efforts to improve human health, learning, and collaboration; the need for resilience, the subject of the cover...
5 Jun 2017
Wellness Is FM Opportunity
Facility managers have argued for years that the physical environment can help employees be more productive. The rub is quantifying the financial impact of factors like indoor air quality, comfort, daylight, and so on. There are plenty of studies showing that various facility-related measures have produced benefits in other organizations, but those studies don’t make it possible to project gains from specific measures...
25 Apr 2017
Know Any "Facility Investment Analysts"?
It was a small, hand-lettered sign on the grassy strip between the eastbound and westbound lanes of a boulevard: “Real estate investment trainee wanted. Earn $10,000/month.” I have no idea whether anyone called the phone number on the sign, but if anyone did, it was surely in the belief that big money can be made by selling buildings. That opinion has a solid basis in fact. Plenty of people do very well...
27 Mar 2017
Tell Congress You Support Energy Star
At a time when the federal government is debating a drastic shift in budget priorities — changes that would affect billions of dollars in appropriations and have a direct impact on the lives of millions of Americans — the fate of the Energy Star program might seem like a small issue. But Energy Star, one program that may be cut in the new budget, is a vital tool for making organizations more efficient by reducing...
28 Feb 2017
Nitty-Gritty Details Can Provide a Clearer View of Smart Buildings
It’s often said that the devil is in the details. I’d like to propose a revision: The answer is in the details. The question, in this case, concerns the proliferation of smart technology for facilities. These days, smart technology isn’t just coming from building automation companies that have been talking about smart buildings for years, even though BAS vendors have improved their own usability and...
16 Jan 2017
FMXcellence Session at NFMT: How Data Is Improving FM Performance
Some ideas are just born to be buzz words, and big data — or Big Data — is certainly one of them. While no one would deny that vastly more data is now available than ever before, the phrase “big data” is sometimes used in a way that suggests vast amounts of data exist in readily usable form. As facility managers are only too well aware, the quantity of data is no guarantee of its being helpful...
19 Dec 2016
Give Your Company A Performance Review
Most companies have a process for reviewing the performance of employees, to gauge whether the individual is meeting the needs of the organization. Maybe it’s worth adding a twist to that end-of-the-year ritual: a beginning-of-the-year review of the organization, to see if it’s meeting the needs of the individual (i.e., you). Take one common topic for a review: productivity. The question for an individual...
7 Dec 2016
FM Got More Money in 2016
In the wake of the most recent presidential election, now might not be the best time to put a lot of faith in polling data, but I think it’s worth noting that three broad indicators in our annual FM Pulse salary survey are all pointing in the same direction: up. The FM Pulse survey aims to do what its name suggests: take the pulse of the field of facility management. To do that, we ask not only about salaries...
25 Oct 2016
Cyber Security: Time Is Right To Talk To IT
At a good conference, you often get bonus sessions in the form of hallway conversations with speakers and attendees. That happened at this year’s Critical Facilities Summit . The topic was one that’s been much in the news recently: cyber security. Fred Gordy of Intelligent Buildings LLC and David Quirk of DLB Associates were talking after a session about BAS cyber risks. Gordy pointed out that “edge”...
29 Sep 2016
Building Product Selection Advice From The Experts: FMs
Over the years, facility managers have shared a lot of valuable advice about selecting building products. As a way of kicking off October's special technology issue of Building Operating Management , I highlighted some of the recommendations you’ve offered: One common piece of advice is to speak the language of top management. That includes ROI, of course, but it also might mean HAI — healthcare acquired...
27 Sep 2016
A Message For FMs To Take To Top Management On Cost Cutting
I was cleaning out my attic recently when I came across a copy of the first feature article I wrote on my first job. The article had to do with budgets, and one of my sources drew an interesting distinction between discretionary and consequential costs. Despite their names, discretionary costs aren’t less important than consequential costs. The former is simply money you can choose not to spend. On a facility...
13 Jul 2016
Capital Renewal: Don’t Let Management Be Caught Off Guard
It is never good when capital renewal makes the headlines, and that has happened twice lately here in Milwaukee. In one case, capital renewal actually became an issue in a local political race. Falling chunks of concrete from one of the county’s horticultural domes — three 85-foot-tall beehive-shaped glass domes constructed in the 1950s and 1960s — caused the local landmarks to be closed for repairs...
25 May 2016
With BAS and IoT, FMs Should Ask: How Will Data Be Shared?
In the world of building systems, where things that ain’t completely broke are lucky to get a bandage, decades can go by pretty fast. The results of a recent Building Operating Management survey offer a case in point: 27 percent of respondents have a building automation system that is 20 years old or older. Twenty years ago, BACnet and LonWorks represented disruptive technology innovation. Systems using those...
26 Apr 2016
Getting Ahead of the Curve
Experience is a big deal for facility managers, and rightfully so. Experience can help you make the best decision on a building system you’ll be living with for a long time. Experience can make it possible for someone on your staff to detect problems just by listening to equipment run. And experience has shaped the ways that workplaces balance employee preferences with business needs. But what happens in times...