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What Role Does Building Maintenance Play in Energy Saving?

What Role Does Building Maintenance Play in Energy Saving?
29 June 2022
 

Steve Tomkins, Director of Product and Business Development at SFG20, talks us through the energy impact of correctly maintained facilities.

Steve is a chartered engineer, with over 20 years of engineering maintenance and management experience working in the FM, construction, rail and automotive sectors. Steve has worked in both small and multi-national organisations delivering complex projects and solutions.

 

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Picture: a photograph of Steve Tomkins. Image Credit: SFG20

 

"Facilities teams should always look to optimise their approach to maintenance to ensure they can provide healthy, safe and sustainable workplaces, buildings and residential spaces."

 

HVAC Not the Only Focus for Energy Consumption

 

Buildings use a significant amount of energy, and regulation is tightening as the UK government strives to reach its net-zero carbon target.

A large share of any building’s energy consumption will be due to heating, ventilating and air conditioning, so optimising the performance of these systems and assets should be a key focus for facilities professionals.

But there are additional areas to consider too. Take the circular economy, for example, which is a framework of three principles: eliminate waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use and regenerate natural systems. It is based increasingly on renewable energy and materials, and it is accelerated by digital innovation. This affects maintenance professionals, as they need to consider issues such as disposal of old equipment; the carbon footprint of materials used in maintenance; and how the business uses equipment to support waste reduction.

Maintenance is a key driver in helping to support businesses to meet health and safety standards, energy savings and sustainability goals. Facilities teams should always look to optimise their approach to maintenance to ensure they can provide healthy, safe and sustainable workplaces, buildings and residential spaces.

It’s worth noting that maintaining buildings and assets correctly is not only a moral obligation, but a legal requirement, too.

 

The Drivers for Optimised Maintenance

 

It is a well-known fact that employees are often one of the most expensive investments made by businesses, so optimising their working environment to support productivity is now a key area of focus. The impact of correctly maintained ventilation systems and air filtration has been widely reported on, due to COVID-19. Another factor is that we now have more detailed insight into the impact of a work environment on occupants due to the revolution in digital tools and data collection.

Ensuring the right maintenance systems are in place is rightly a major focus for facilities and building managers. This includes more flexible building services such as lighting, cooling and heating – often provided on the back of increasingly complex building management systems (BMS).

Another key focus is climate change. For example, some buildings are in high-risk areas which are more prone to flooding on a regular basis, which means extra safety measures must be put in place. Or, if average temperatures continue to rise, maintenance teams will have to consider how they can ensure their occupants are comfortable while balancing their carbon emissions.

 

Good Energy Management

 

Good energy management practices include maintenance, monitoring and audits, all of which aim to help save energy consumption. Maintenance approaches for energy consumption reduction should be carefully considered and include the implementation of effective maintenance practices, energy-efficient technologies and enhancement of operational management. 

Some benefits of implementing innovative technologies are that they can help reduce energy usage, waste disposal, environmental compliance costs and enhance workplace safety by digitising systems.

Sustainability and net-zero emissions have been a key focus for many organisations for a long time, with various large and SMEs promising to reduce emissions. For maintenance and facilities teams, this requires careful consideration of how to optimise maintenance systems and implement the best sustainable solutions.

This includes targeting issues such as the disposal and replacement of old equipment, the carbon footprint of materials used, and how the business is optimising use of equipment to reduce waste.

Having an industry-approved, planned approach to maintenance should include the use of digital tools that can integrate with systems used by other building professionals – from the architect to the facilities teams, while strategically implementing sustainable working practices.

The digitisation of buildings allows facilities managers to use digital information for commissioning, handover and ongoing maintenance practice, making it incredibly easy to analyse and report on data, in real-time.

With all these drivers pushing the maintenance sector forward, SFG20 provides a robust base on which to build an optimised maintenance regime. SFG20 was developed by BESA, (the Building Engineering Services Association), in response to a need for a best practice standard for maintenance.

The SFG20 cloud-based system has been designed and developed over three decades to keep pace with the changing maintenance profession and to provide a technically robust and standardised system that is also highly customisable to match individual building needs.

Picture: a photograph of some colourful high-rise buildings. Image Credit: Pexels

Article written by Steve Tomkins | Published 29 June 2022

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