Facilities management is the body of knowledge and practices implemented to ensure the functionality, comfort, and safety of the built environment. Facility management and UEM seek to leverage operational initiatives designed to identify and act to improve the efficiency of energy use across buildings and locations.
In view of the current rise in energy prices, organizations have no choice but to accelerate the implementation of corporate sustainability programs and find ways to cut their energy and utility expenditure through accurate Utility Expense Management. Facilities management teams play a critical role in an enterprise-level strategy.
This short article draws from the RadiusPoint UEM team’s experience in helping organizations generate enterprise-level costs savings through tracking, analyzing and reporting energy consumption at meter level across multiple locations.
Facility management: 3 plans to yield energy savings
Whether energy savings are being pursued as a part of an organization’s corporate sustainability program, an operational investment strategy, or simply to a plan to cut utility expenditure, the following 3 action plans will yield energy efficiency gains in short order:
- Implement planned preventive maintenance
- Reduce after-hours energy consumption through automated controls
- Gain Insight Through Standard Energy Procedures and Regulations Internally
Implement planned preventive maintenance
Regular planned preventive maintenance of air handlers, HVAC units and windows will yield measurable savings. In the first place, it helps identifying energy leakages. Measuring actual vs. theoretical energy usage in a facility may reveal HVAC equipment is working overtime. Monitoring energy usage and detecting abnormal spikes through Utility Expense Management services will also help zero in on heat waste and water leaks before they become significant expense items. Fixing heat leaks or sub-optimal cooling impacts energy savings immediately, usually at a lower cost than the cost of energy waste.
Secondly, as maintenance gives insight into equipment performance, it also detects what repairs and replacements are required. When HVAC maintenance is not carried out on a regular basis, equipment becomes less efficient (i.e., it underperforms its SEER), and asset damage may ensue. In fact, HVAC technicians often talk about “cascading failures”: an overworn part increases the wear-and-tear on other parts, leading to multiple system failures. Timely part replacement results in significant cost savings, decreases energy usage, and extends the life of operating equipment.
Over the course of our work in supporting Facility Management teams in the framework of Utility Expense Management missions, we use the data analysis capabilities of our SaaS platform ExpenseLogic to detect abnormal energy usage across locations. This helps Facility Managers in their facility benchmarking efforts. ExpenseLogic also helps them track equipment maintenance calendars, vendor contracts, and Service Level Agreements.
Reduce after-hours energy consumption through automated controls
Monitoring how human resources use buildings after hours helps uncovering energy inefficiencies. A systematic, enterprise-wide approach to Utility Expense Management in multi-location organizations typically generates substantial energy savings.
Facility managers can reduce energy waste by setting up occupancy/vacancy sensors to adjust energy usage throughout an entire building. Likewise, building automation systems will maximize energy savings, notably in exterior areas: parking lots, loading docks, courtyards, entrance gates, fire exits, stairwells, etc.
Older HVAC systems often use single speed motors to regulate temperatures, and do not offer zone management. Although replacing a commercial HVAC system is a very large investment, the energy savings yielded by variable speed motors and zone management more than justified the investment even before the worldwide rise in energy costs.
Utility Expense Management services provide data usable in facilities management benchmarking. Monitoring utility billing at meter level in hundreds of remote locations will pinpoint abnormal energy use even when these facilities are not already equipped with energy control systems monitored through IoT.
In other words, even if a facilities management program has not yet been implemented at an enterprise level, UEM services will detect abnormal utility costs as they occur and allow for an optimized implementation of the program. Instead of deploying building controls and IoT across hundreds of locations —a massive endeavor— an organization will be able to select where investment is most critically needed. Immediate, tangible cost savings will result from such pinpointed interventions, and the cost of implementing the latter through UEM best practices is significantly lower.
Create energy saving procedures & track utilities expense
The OKRs of facilities management reconcile 3 challenges: limiting energy costs, increasing occupant comfort, and maintaining critical equipment adequately. A corporate sustainability program will also cover issues such as emergency and disaster mitigation, space planning and usage, safety issues, energy supply reliability, etc. All these aspects have a place in the scope of a facilities management mission.
Facilities managers widely acknowledge however that they can’t succeed in their mission if both management and custodians don’t fully engage with them in the creation and implementation of internal procedures for energy use and savings. It starts on the C-level floor and goes all the way down to custodial service teams at remote locations.
Software tools such as a CMMS will provide the monitoring functions necessary to control the successful implementation of these procedures. However, the efficacy of these platforms needs to be backed up by the deployment of a full-scale utility expense management platform.
A UEM SaaS platform like ExpenseLogic gives facilities management specialists and C-level executives full reporting insights over energy use across hundreds, even thousands of locations. For facilities managers, this is a valuable tool to benchmark facilities and pinpoint abnormalities. Considering that, at a macroeconomic level, buildings absorb 22.5% of the world total primary energy supply, corporate sustainability programs can hardly overlook the carbon footprint of their built environment.
For financial management teams, monitoring the cost of energy can’t be done only on a consolidated basis. Efficient decision-making and cost-cutting measures must rely on a granular metering of energy use. This is the level of business intelligence that our SaaS platform ExpenseLogic provides: it tracks and reports on all utility billing at the meter level. Contract asset digitalization enables CFOs and their AP departments to compare rates and usage, manage peak/off-peak consumption, and renegotiate with vendors as necessary.
Scope of RadiusPoint’s Utility Expense Management services
RadiusPoint’s UEM services back up our clients’ corporate-wide sustainability programs by:
- Verifying service connection and disconnection
- Tracking utility billing and to the meter level
- Flagging utility billing discrepancies
- Disputing overcharges and recovering credits from vendors
- Locating resource waste (water leaks, power overuse)
- Providing big data-like business intelligence through granular reporting
To learn more about our services and how RadiusPoint© can support your organization’s facilities management function, and your cost reduction and avoidance programs through technology and utility expense management (TEM/UEM), follow these links and contact us at your earliest convenience.