Five Steps For Facility Managers to Avoid Big Data Paralysis

You’ve done it. As an FM firm for a large client portfolio, you have installed smart meters throughout the buildings you manage. Where available, these smart meters feed into a building management software systems giving your facility teams a constant flow of information on building performance – so that they can make data-driven decisions to improve the profitability of buildings under management. But now that all of this data is available to help FMs, how do you overcome the risk that it is too much, too fast with no direction as to how best to use the available data? Verdantix research helps inform processes facility managers can use to manage the risks associated with data-driven action paralysis.

1.       Understand what your objectives are. Aligning corporate objectives with local facility operational objectives is paramount to achieving corporate energy and facility management goals. FM firms should work with their clients to devise strategies that all employees can get behind and understand how their actions impact the final outcome. This is achieved through the setting of policies, targets and systems of accountability that all employees across an organization can buy into and support consistent management decisions for success.

2.       Manage building lifecycle costs. Normal operations involve wear and tear to building systems. This is unavoidable, but manageable through the appropriate use of data captured from smart meters and BMSs. Performance data can be used to analyse and adjust maintenance strategies to reduce operational costs while minimizing utility expenses through reduced use of excessive energy by equipment operating outside of accepted parameters. FMs can also better manage when equipment replacement costs are encountered for improved budget forecasting. Nomura International revised its reactive maintenance strategy to a condition-based strategy and saved $426,000 after the first year.

3.       Invest in the appropriate tools. FMs can improve the odds of achieving a successful optimization strategy implementation by selecting the appropriate tools to help them deliver on objectives. Let’s face it, the data coming from various BMS and smart meters across a diverse building portfolio can be unruly and difficult to fully grasp without the right tools to put it into context. Australia-based GPT Group collaborated with Envizi to develop the appropriate software tools to help them deliver on their ambitious zero carbon strategy across a portfolio of commercial office, retail and logistics facilities.

4.       Use data as for both decision and validation. Budgets for energy management are not expected to see much growth in the next year. FMs responsible for identifying energy efficiency opportunities will need to substantiate business cases – through analysis of forecasted savings versus actual savings, initial expenses and ongoing operations and maintenance expenses. This will help FMs to understand the impact of different initiatives and to understand the context that enables the most beneficial ROIs.

5.       Set up processes to maintain achieved efficiencies. Maintaining optimal operational performance is the unspoken challenge of facility management. It’s not enough to achieve a certain level of performance, FMs need to maintain that achieved level of performance through employee change, building energy profile change and building tenant change. This is difficult, but not impossible. Maintaining energy performance involves implementing appropriate maintenance strategies, diligent consumption monitoring, continuous use of the right tools and putting the appropriate processes in place to enable employees to clearly understand what objectives they need to achieve.

Facility optimization management is a difficult job that FM firms will have to approach carefully. But it can be worth it. Consider that GPT Group has spent the last 10 years implementing a strategy that has seen the firm achieve $18 million in utility energy savings in 2015, as well as achieve a 44% reduction in water use intensity, a 57% reduction in carbon emissions intensity and increased its recycling rate from 29% to 43%. In 2015, GPT’s property portfolio was externally reviewed and had its valuation increased by $320 million. To learn more about GPT Group’s facility optimization journey, be sure to check out the Verdantix report GPT Partners With Envizi To Boost Performance Of Premium Real Estate.