Building Management

From Energy Enthusiast to Energy Expert

begining of mountain pathHave you ever approached a learning curve so steep it felt more like a mountain?  Whether you are a facility manager being asked to develop energy programs for the first time, or, as in my case, a product manager from the world of Building Management Systems being introduced to the elaborate world of Power Monitoring, Energy Management can feel like one of those mountains. In my company, I am lucky to be surrounded by Energy Experts who have helped me to start my way up the learning curve. I am here to share what I have learned with you.

The role of facility manager is evolving. Facility managers are now being asked to develop new ways to stretch the lifecycle of old equipment, maintain cost-effectiveness, and become more energy efficient. Fortunately, this new found focus on finding a better sustainability strategy coincides with the development of innovative tools for building automation and energy control. It’s human nature for people to want to stay with what they know, and stepping outside your comfort zone can be daunting. The fact is, you don’t need to be an expert to make a difference in your organization!

Tips for Starting Your Energy Management Journey

New tasks and responsibilities can lead to a steep learning curve. If this is where you are at today, not to worry. You will get there. You can’t cram several decades of knowledge and experience into your brain at one time. Here are some tips for getting started and staying motivated.

  1. Start with what you know
    This is much easier than it seems. Start with assessing your current knowledge. What do you know about your building management system? What tools or equipment do you have at your fingertips? Do you have any trusted partners or experts that could help you define a plan for incremental improvement? Make a list of your findings, including a list of things you know and a list of knowledge gaps you need to fill.
  2. Determine what you want to do
    What have you been asked to accomplish? Each priority will have a slightly different course of action. Do you want to make a plan for predictive maintenance? Do you want to lower your costs? Scope out a small, but meaningful issue to address.
  3. Make a few small changes
    Based on what you know and what you want to do, what changes can you make immediately? Is there data you can start to compile and analyze from any meters currently installed? Can you assess your current energy bill? Can you add energy metering to your current system? Can you invest in dashboards and reports? Choose one course of action that makes sense for your situation.
  4. Take a moment to absorb all you have learned
    Celebrate your successes and capture lessons learned. From here, you start addressing the next challenge on your list, but with newly gained knowledge. The road ahead seems less steep than it did only weeks before.

You cannot climb the learning curve mountain all in one day, but step-by-step and project-by-project, you will make meaningful, documentable progress in your energy management program. It may take years to become an energy expert…but all it takes to become an energy enthusiast is a willingness to learn and take action.

What are your energy management challenges? Let me know, and maybe we can learn something new together!


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