The potential of data-based facilities maintenance is expanding. Augmented intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data, Analytics, and SaaS are changing how Facilities Managers handle everything. Meanwhile, inflation continues, and Facilities Managers are faced with budget cuts. As the world prepares for the colder months, Facilities Managers have an even more significant challenge. They need to make sure their facilities can handle the coming cold and how it will affect all building occupants. Fortunately, data-based facilities management can reduce energy use and help change energy use behaviors to save money, and Facilities Managers need to know how.
The 2018-2019 Winter Will Bring Higher Energy Costs
Last year’s winter brought the highest fuel costs and energy costs to date, and that record is on track to be broken once again. As noted by ETF Daily News, a late-September report on available natural gas inventory alludes to a higher-than-expected surge in heating and energy costs just ahead of winter. This will lead to increased facilities spend, resulting in the placement of other proactive measures on the back burner in facilities management. For departments with stringent budgets, the need to devote more capital for energy costs could mean adding another item to the maintenance backlog through deferred maintenance, which will increase maintenance costs exponentially.
Data-Based Facilities Maintenance Prevents Winter Disruptions and Added Expenses
Energy use costs during winter are often discussed in fuel rates and utility bills. While reducing energy consumption sounds excellent, it may be ineffective with poorly outfitted facilities. Drafty windows, a jar entrances, icy sidewalks, and occupant-controlled thermostats all increase energy use in some form. Even assets that do not require electricity or fuel will affect energy costs.
For instance, Facilities Managers may need to store ice remediation chemicals above freezing temperatures so another closet or area of the facility will require heating. However, data-based facilities maintenance can be used to reduce energy consumption costs directly through reduced heating system use and indirectly by encouraging energy-conservation behaviors among building occupants. Moreover, a data-based performance measurement of facilities management professionals and asset condition can ensure all maintenance needs are met on-time, reducing disruptions and its effect on energy consumption during the winter months.
Additional Steps to Reduce Winter Energy Use and Impacts
Facilities Managers should also follow a few tips to reduce winter energy use and encourage energy conservation, including:
- Simplify maintenance procedures to eliminate redundancy.
- Encourage proper work order reporting of maintenance needs.
- Collect the right data.
- Inspect the HVAC system, says Steve Fountaine of Facility Executive.
- Eliminate wasted heat.
- Inspect the roof.
- Check gas lines.
- Plan for snow and ice removal.
- Maintain clean and clear entrances.
Act Now to Reduce Winter Energy Costs in Your Facility
Winter energy costs can be among the most significant expenses for a facility, and with commercial facilities using up to 40 percent of energy during the colder months, reports the U.S. Department of Energy, data-based facilities maintenance is essential to controlling facilities spend. Put the power of data to work in your facility by understanding energy use and the factors contributing to it. Ensure your facility is well-insulated, and make sure you have a plan in place for addressing snow and ice accumulation on your grounds as well.