BusinessDay

A look at the energy crisis (Part 2)

In the previous article published earlier on the same topic, the focus was on the possible solution to energy efficiency through renovation and refurbishment by ensuring energy systems are well maintained.

However, to fully understand the prevailing energy crisis itself, there is a need to consider what we are working with. It is a known fact that buildings rarely perform as originally designed because most of them are not really energy efficient. Despite efforts by energy professionals, there remains a performance gap between what is designed and how buildings really function.

It has long been advocated that greater resilience is designed into buildings and facilities managers are allowed a more integral role in decision-making at the design stage. This requires addressing the lack of engagement with the technical FM service providers who have the delegated responsibility for managing and controlling energy consumption in a built environment. The risks are known to those responsible for energy efficiency and maintenance delivery but the problem remains.

Again, the current energy crisis points to an opportunity for the facilities management sector to demonstrate its value-add role to its clients and end users. Gaining a sound understanding of how a facility is meant to operate at both strategic and detailed level will identify areas requiring improvement.

Read also: A Look at the energy crisis

In the prevailing circumstances, the immediate steps to take will be how to balance short term measures and the long-term ideas requiring more capital expenditure. The advice to facility managers is to focus on what they have control over and get it right before looking at the medium to long term plan which may include repairs, replacement and other investments.

The rise of hybrid working is proving that productivity need not be affected by adapting the workplace and what this means is that if staff do not come in on certain days of the week, there can be an immediate gain in energy savings. Helping to introduce behavioral change of end-users and occupiers can also lead to energy savings.

Other energy reduction priorities should include ensuring that there is sufficient metering and monitoring to save on energy cost. To achieve this, it is important for clients and end users to fully understand the significance and implications of the actions being taken by facility managers.

Dealing with a sudden and unprecedented energy crisis means facility managers need to act quickly to mitigate the spiraling costs yet continue to deliver the levels of service expected of them but understanding and working towards solutions of these fundamental building performance ensures they know where to start.

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