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30 May 2019
Finding the right path to big energy savings
I have a lot of opportunities to learn from experts on the topic of planning energy upgrades. Lately, I’ve been listening for ideas about making deep cuts in energy use. It’s clear the best route to the greatest savings varies from one organization to the next. But there are some common themes for finding the right path. One is that there are plenty of easy opportunities for small energy gains. Switch to...
26 Feb 2019
Don't Let Facility Cost-Cutting Backfire — Keep an Eye on Long Term Costs
You have no doubt heard the old knock on value engineering — that it’s a way of engineering the value out of a project. And you have likely seen more than one case where cost-cutting reduced the price tag of a construction or retrofit project but added years, even decades, of higher operating expenses. So you can relate to this horror story: The initial price of a flooring project in a medical facility was...
29 Jan 2019
These Four Myths Increase Risk that a BAS Will Be Hacked
Talk to any cybersecurity expert, and you’ll hear the same thing: almost all building automation systems have vulnerabilities a hacker could exploit to gain access to the system. The good news is that facility managers themselves can address many of those vulnerabilities. Part of the solution is adopting good practices, like changing passwords regularly. But before you can do the right thing, you have to know what...
2 Jan 2019
Spirit of Improvement Guides FMs, BOM Editors
For the past few years, Building Operating Management has surveyed facility managers about changes in capital budgets and staffing levels. Step by small step, those numbers have improved. While the changes from year to year have not been dramatic, the cumulative shift is noteworthy. In 2012, the first year we asked about capital budgets, 30 percent of respondents reported increases in the previous year, and 30 percent...
29 Nov 2018
Progress made, more needed, on carbon emissions
As many facility managers know by now, the Energy Star scores for most buildings dropped when the program plugged in newly available national data on average facility energy performance. Although Energy Star is reviewing the mathematical models on which the 1 to 100 ratings are based, the underlying facility energy consumption numbers haven’t changed. And those numbers offer good news: The new national performance...
26 Sep 2018
FM Actions to Address Climate Change Bring Bottom-Line Benefits
With retreat at the federal level, the role of facility managers in tackling the challenge of climate change has never been greater, as Greg Zimmerman’s cover story makes clear. Fortunately, the actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions also bring other significant benefits that can help facility managers win funding for steps to reduce those emission. The most familiar benefit is also the most important...
11 Sep 2018
Speed Becoming a Strategic Tool for FMs
The concept of just-in-time manufacturing — revolutionary when it began to spread across U.S. factories in the 1980s — sought to reduce inventory to a very low level. The idea was to save money and reduce waste by making inventory more timely. A just-in-time philosophy has now taken hold across the real estate and facilities industry. It was once taken for granted that corporations would hold enough inventory...
24 Jul 2018
Study offers flood warnings
The disastrous series of major hurricanes that hit last year — Harvey, Irma, and Maria — gave facility managers good reason to revisit their emergency response plans, with a particular eye on preparations for floods. A recent study from the University of Bristol in England offers more reason for concern: The risk of serious flooding across the United States is significantly greater than generally realized...
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...