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Using Technology to Help Facility Managers Maximize Budgets

July 27, 2012

The combined effects of a sluggish economic recovery, high energy prices and changing environmental requirements continue to put pressure on owners and operators of high rise buildings. Facilities teams are constantly looking for ways to save energy, reduce operating costs, improve reliability and shrink their environmental footprint, while also creating a comfortable, healthy and productive place for people who work, live or visit in their buildings. 

No wonder many organizations are taking a high performance building approach to operating their high rise buildings. But even the best designed buildings can underperform unless their heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) and other critical building systems are properly operated, regularly serviced and proactively maintained.

Advanced technology and access to unprecedented levels of system performance data give high rise facilities teams the tools they need to develop and implement effective maintenance strategies at a cost that makes sense for building owners and operators.

Technology and data access enable operating and maintenance improvements
Most high rise facilities teams use a preventive maintenance strategy in which they or their service partners perform prescribed tasks at intervals recommended by original equipment manufacturers.

However, today’s technology lets technicians gather and analyze system performance information so they can perform maintenance when needed, rather than when the calendar or hour meter says it is time. With fault detection and diagnostics, predictive modeling and other analytical tools at their disposal, facilities teams can address systems performance issues before they can cause series problems.

Lawrence Berkley National Laboratories (LBNL) researchers found that new buildings often fail to live up to performance expectations and that most buildings experience deterioration in performance over time. Building commissioning, re-commissioning and continuous commissioning can restore buildings to their original design specifications, often delivering better-than-new levels of performance, according to the LBNL.

Thanks to innovations in metering and comfort control technologies, the long-standing challenge of allocating costs to individual high rise tenants based on their energy use has largely been overcome. Advanced comfort controls allow tenants to control the temperature in their homes or businesses and metering technologies give building managers the usage information they need to bill individual tenants for the energy they use.

Up next: Part two - how Trane Intelligent Services delivers performance outcomes for high rise buildings.