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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...
18 Apr 2016
Why FMs Should Consider High Performance Buildings
Is your organization a good candidate for a high-performance building? Here are some reasons to consider that approach. See if any of these benefits apply to you and your organization: • Achieve green goals. At last year’s climate change negotiations in Paris — known as COP 21 — building energy efficiency drew a lot of attention. My bet is we’ll see a greater focus on buildings in many organizations’...
1 Mar 2016
The Move to Mobile In FM
Do you know any Luddites? In the early 1800s, the original Luddites destroyed power looms and spinning frames, then-disruptive new technologies that threatened jobs in the British textile industry. Nowadays, the term refers to people who oppose new technology. It’s easy to get the impression that facility operating staffs are filled with Luddite Baby Boomers — skilled mechanics and technicians who aren’t...
2 Feb 2016
FMXcellence Awards Recognize Leaders in Facility Management
Burned out lights, clogged toilets, balky dampers, leaky roofs, etc., etc. With all the opportunities for problems in a building, it’s no wonder that the “facility” side of facility management sometimes overwhelms the “management” part of the job. Indeed, the wonder is that so many facility managers do such a good job of managing their buildings in ways that add value to their organizations...
2 Feb 2016
FMs and Occupants: A Beautiful Friendship?
It's advice you've probably heard before: get to know your occupants a little better. And with all the tasks on the typical facility manager's agenda, you can be forgiven for asking: Why bother? Well, how about energy efficiency? Plenty of facility managers have seen the pay-off from efforts to engage occupants in energy-saving strategies . And as building systems become more energy efficient, plug loads...
21 Dec 2015
Facilities Are Awash In Opportunities To Save Water
Water shortages have occurred so often in California, and are now so severe, that the state has good reason to practice water conservation. With that in mind, it’s interesting to look at the results of a new Building Operating Management survey...
17 Nov 2015
What a TV Detective Has in Common with FMs
I recently saw a rerun of the old television show Columbo. Columbo, you may remember, was a rumpled detective who just kept asking questions. He got no respect from each episode’s criminal, usually a person in a position of power. But wee...
23 Oct 2015
Training Goals Give FMs Edge
How important are goals? Not general goals, like do more or spend less, but specific, numerical targets? That question occurred to me because Building Operating Management’s recent training-budget survey asked facility managers if they had goal...
5 Aug 2015
FMXcellence Recognition Pays Off Three Ways, Winners Say
Every year at NFMT Baltimore , the new FMXcellence honorees and Building Operating Management editors get together on the night before the opening session. This year, the conversation turned to the benefits of FMXcellence recognition. Of the three rea...
30 Jun 2015
ASHRAE Legionella Standard Issued
The long-awaited ASHRAE standard on Legionella is now available. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems establishes minimum legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems. ...
29 Jun 2015
Tenant Star on the Way - But No Need for Tenants to Wait
In a welcome act of bipartisanship, Congress passed and President Obama signed a measure that authorizes a new Tenant Star program to recognize tenants for their energy efficiency efforts. As the name suggests, the initiative is modeled after the hig...
26 May 2015
Does Workplace Suit Culture, Work, Business Goals?
It’s not really a surprise to see the Wall Street Journal reporting on trends in workplace design. But when I read about office design in an airline magazine, or see it on the local news, I start to wonder whether something is up. What’s up, I think, is interest. It’s no secret that work patterns are changing. Easy mobile access enables many employees to be productive outside the office. And when...
19 May 2015
FMs See Need For Action on Climate Change, Survey Says
Buildings offer substantial opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And that fact puts facility managers on the front lines of efforts to address the issue of climate change. Which got me wondering: What do facility managers think about climate change? When we’ve written about climate change, we have inevitably heard from a handful of readers who deny that human activity is causing changes in the climate...
4 Mar 2015
NFMT Launches ‘High-Performance Buildings’ Event
For facility managers who are aiming to achieve a high-performance building, one challenge is deciding exactly what a “high-performance building” is. There’s no single industry-wide definition. But that doesn’t mean that the term lacks substance. One good way to understand the concept is to say that you know it when you see it. A high-peformance building is extremely energy efficient in operation...
3 Feb 2015
Changing Of The Guard
When things change, the lion’s share of the attention goes to what’s new. Think of the shift to new office designs, to outpatient facilities, to megawarehouses. But what stays the same — occupant comfort, energy efficiency, support for the organization’s mission — remains essential. Both aspects are evident when veteran personnel retire, as many facility managers know well. New staff bring...
2 Jan 2015
Defending BAS Against Hackers Is Facility Priority
When Target’s point-of-sale network was breached by hackers, who then stole millions of credit and debit card numbers, some early reports said the hackers had gained access to the Target network by way of the building automation system. As it turned out, that wasn’t true . But if hackers are interested in breaking into an organization’s network, the BAS could be a starting point. And a recent Building...
24 Nov 2014
U.S.-China Agreement on Climate Change Is Big First Step
What would it mean for greenhouse gas emissions, if the whole world used air conditioning the way we do in the United States? Consider that, according to one study, India would have 15 times the demand that we do. For China, the multiplier would be five. The answer, of course, depends on how efficient the cooling equipment is, and how the electricity that powers it is produced. I’m not suggesting that more air...
21 Oct 2014
Advice For Dealing With Top Management: Shrug It Off
When the subject of top management comes up in conversation, you can divide facility managers into two categories: the eye-rollers and the shruggers. I’m only half kidding. Top management makes more than a few choices that, to a facility manager, seem to fall somewhere between short-sighted and foolish. Confronted with one of these decisions, some facility managers roll their eyes and shake their heads in evident...
23 Sep 2014
Small Market Sports Teams Hold Lessons For Facility Managers
With pro basketball season approaching, things are looking pretty good for small-market teams. The defending NBA champs — the San Antonio Spurs — are the sport’s long-running small-market success story, with five titles under the current head coach. And this year’s title favorite is another small-market team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, which lured the league’s biggest star, LeBron James, back...
23 Sep 2014
Aging Infrastructures Could Push Water Costs Higher
When I see the words “water problems” and “California” in the same headline, the first thing that comes to mind is drought. But what made the headlines recently is the water main break in Los Angeles, which cost the city millions of gallons of water. When I hear “water problems” and “Lake Erie” in the same newscast, my first thought is pollution. And it was in fact algae...
22 Jul 2014
Who Cares What FMs Do?
I’m sure there are times most facility managers feel that way. When your budget has been cut again. When you’re the last one to find out about a change in the way the facility will be used. When the umpteenth ludicrous complaint hits your inbox or voicemail. Well, the fact is there are tens of thousands of people who care about what you do. That’s because they do the same thing. And tapping into the...
1 Jul 2014
Justifying Funds For Training: Survey Numbers May Help
How many times have you heard someone say, “people are our biggest asset”? Maybe you’ve said it yourself. It isn’t news that people play a critical role in getting buildings to perform efficiently. For example, Energy Star numbers have shown for years that older buildings can perform just as well as newer ones, on average; what matters for performance isn’t how new the building systems are...