A better occupant experience

Relationships between technical building performance characteristics and human responses, such as productivity, absenteeism and health, have been confirmed. Based on a review of more than 1,500 studies, the Center for Building Performance at Carnegie Mellon University confirmed that indoor environmental qualities including lighting, ventilation and thermal comfort significantly impact employee productivity and student performance. When critical building system performance declines or deteriorates, personal contributions suffer as well.

Occupant health and welfare

A well-maintained indoor environment positively impacts the overall productivity of employees and can increase student test scores and patient outcomes.

  • Lighting levels are linked to increased productivity and can also be the source of investigations into safety issues. Inadequate illumination is linked to poor product quality and health conditions such as seasonal affective disorders (SAD).
  • Ventilation is so important to alertness and health that standards for fresh air are often incorporated into building codes.
  • Proper acoustics and background noise play an important role in student achievement. Students attending schools in poor condition score 11 percent lower on standardized tests than students who attend schools in good condition.

Mission-level results

Whether an organization is striving to raise student test scores, reduce safety mishaps, improve attendance or increase employee productivity, it pays to invest in occupant comfort. Specific metrics and benefits are unique to each organization and its mission. Nevertheless, in most cases, raising operations to high performance standards results in multiple benefits spanning several categories, and it can even mitigate occupancy code violations.

Reliability and uptime

Breakdowns can be devastating to some organizations. At the very least, they are a nuisance and a public relations challenge.

  • The cost implications can be significant for a manufacturer or data center that must maintain critical operating environments within strict parameters to maintain quality and productivity.
  • Healthcare organizations have zero tolerance for service interruptions that impact patient and staff comfort and put care outcomes at risk.
  • A broken boiler that causes an elementary school closure can result in lost funding and countless angry parents who must find last-minute child care.

Expected outcomes

Predictive maintenance saves 12–18 percent compared to a run-to-fail approach, according to the U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). In addition, the FEMP O&M Guide (August 2010) states that regular maintenance:

  1. Cuts unexpected breakdowns by 70–75 percent
  2. Reduces downtime by 35–40 percent
  3. Lowers equipment repairs and maintenance costs by 25–30 percent