3 Tips for Driving Operational Cost Reduction in Small to Medium-sized Buildings

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Current market conditions dictate that many building maintenance teams are understaffed and, as a result, are behind in the execution of their maintenance plans. Such working conditions make it difficult to implement the improvements that building tenants expect. Although this situation is not the same for all facility maintenance staffs, most building managers are faced with a three pronged challenge when it comes to building maintenance and operations:

  • The cost of maintaining the building plant keeps going up
  • Tenants want more modern services, but the maintenance teams don’t have the tools or time to give it to them
  • The building energy costs are high, but no one can get organized enough to figure out how to lower those costs

Tight budgets aren’t allowing for much flexibility. A typical small to medium building maintenance budget, for example, would amount to about 1-2% of the buildings total construction cost. The solution to the “quality of service vs. budget dilemma” is to introduce methods that allow for more efficient maintenance and operations work.

These days, efficient building operations translates into data. In fact, three aspects of data management can drive modernization improvements:

  1. The ability to gather data about the facilities
  2. The ability to interpret that data through comprehensive and simple to use dashboards,
  3. The ability to convert dashboard information into actions that save money and improve building services.

Architecting such a data driven infrastructure from the ground up is costly, however. Fortunately, new, affordable services are available that allow small building owners to address these challenges. One of these new services is called Facility Advisor (a Schneider Electric offering).

Here’s how it works: First a site assessment is conducted and a proposal delivered to the facilities team. Meters are then installed to collect the relevant building physical infrastructure data. The information is sent to a cloud platform that drives the display of the data. Certified experts analyze that data, and then deliver detailed savings recommendations.

Examples of how such a tool can be applied include timely prioritized maintenance (what equipment is experiencing or about to experience faults), asset performance (what is working well so that best practices can be shared with other facilities), and reduction of energy costs (shift to a less expensive utility contract, efficient lighting controls, more efficient approach to HVAC).

Those who have utilized such tools identify the following benefits:

Maintenance cost reductions of up to 8%* – The tools allow for planning and management of maintenance from any location. Maintenance work is also performed at the right time. All maintenance events on all equipment are tracked. Fault detection and diagnostics capabilities allow for a migration to predictive maintenance.

Downtime reductions of up to 9%** – As a result of the active data gathering, various building sites can now be benchmarked. Abnormal conditions on equipment are identified ahead of time so unanticipated breakdowns can be avoided. Tenant activities and appropriate cost allocation are easier to manage. Comprehensive reporting (monthly, year to date, yearly consumption, daily consumption, zone and usage consumption) powered by analytics allow for accurate reviews of progress.

Energy savings of up to 18%*** – These tools are capable of detecting abnormal consumption such as wasted energy, over heating or over cooling and water leakages. By interpreting utility contracts, the certified experts can propose plans to cut costs and to avoid power factor-related consumption penalties. Energy performance indicators can first be defined and then tracked so that effective improvement plans can be put into place.

Click here to learn more and discover how both Schneider Electric end users and local partners can leverage the suite of “Facility Advisor” building efficiency solutions.

* Manufacturer Publication, CIAT and Trane, **The Service Council publication, *** Navigant Research publication

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