Building Managers, and sub-contractors; an under-used resource?
In our efforts to reduce costs, increase sustainability and improve the economics of operations in commercial buildings, we sometimes bypass the people, who can help us the most.
Building Managers are a library of data.
Building Managers, being on the front line of operations, have access to a huge plethora of information as they deal with supplier’s subcontractors, plant equipment, and day-to-day operations. Building Managers see what performs, what is troublesome and what works.
The liaison between building managers and technical people, especially in the HVAC industry, is often at a higher level of detail than the sales people or property management. Building Managers have to live with and manage the tenants, the equipment and the building’s characteristics. Hence, a library of knowledge of the “quirks” and the idiosyncrasies of the building’s personality grows to assist their management of tenants and subcontractors for effective results. Consequently, this under used resource has information that is not in the Operation and Maintenance Manuals (even if they exist to being with).
The Sub-contractor’s technician, which performs the service agreements and responds to the corrective maintenance calls, also has a library of facts and remedies, which can help, improve your building’s performance. They talk to their peers, (whom might be working for the competitor) and they know how well the latest technology actually performs in the field. These technicians know where there are opportunities for energy conservation, but they cannot implement these strategies or repairs because there is no job number. The technician is not a salesperson.<
False Economies are the target
By accessing this bank of knowledge between both the building Manager and sub-contractors, we can make significant improvements by eliminating existing false economies. For example:
- Competing Heat/Cool zones
- Temperature zones very tight bands (e.g. PID Loops)
- Maintenance Issues, which decrease HVAC efficiency (e.g. clogged cooling coils)
- Lighting Zones and lighting Schedules (e.g. one circuit for the entire floor)
- HVAC schedules (HVAC runs on holidays or weekends)
- Major equipment optimization (delay chiller start, for example).
- Air leaking in Duct works
- Poor performing or poorly adjusted control systems
- And much more.
We can initiate these conversations during a service visit or follow up upon service dockets or e-mail.
B and C Grade Buildings:
Consider your smaller buildings; say 7 to 20 levels, B and C grade, these buildings need compliance to legislation and the “Building Energy Efficiency Act”. They have Chillers, Boilers, Common Lighting, basement car parks, pumps Air Handling Units, and all the other major energy consuming equipment. They usually have a building Manager whom is on site between 8 and 40 hours a week.
These buildings are an ideal situation to optimize the Building Mangers knowledge, they are sitting around 2 to 2.5 Nabers rating and they are too small to engage the services of a consultant. By accessing the Building Managers and sub-contractor’s there well may be discoveries of opportunities to improve without massive capital expenditure.
How can we improve without massive capital?
By developing the talents of the building manager and bringing together the knowledge of your building from as many differing site sub-contract suppliers as possible, we have a start.
Incorporating sustainability strategies into service levels agreements are a cost effective way to ensure the technician’s skills are maximized during their service visits, but these strategies may not exist in the current agreement.
Maximise the Talents of the Building Manager
We can ask the Building Manager to obtain the quotes and information from the various supplier’s sub-contractors whom have suggestions for improvements relating to energy conservation and sustainability.
To accessing the information of the Building Manger, we can bring them into the meetings to review the best strategies and the simplest strategies from the sub-contractors and gain from their knowledge upon the real world implementation of the strategy in the building.
Let’s do some Math Examples:
There is a meeting with the Building Manager and we discover a supply air fan runs two hours more than necessary every weekday as the new tenant has shorter hours than the previous tenant.
If the Supply air fan (just one) runs two hours longer than necessary, five days a week, then:
- Supply air fan is 22 kilowatts 3 phase
- 2 hours every day, 52 weeks a year, (52 x 5 x 2) 520 hours
- 11,440 kilowatt hours per year
- Lets keep it simple and say you pay 25 cents per kilowatt hour
- $2, 860 per year.
The Cost to rectify this may have simply been a service request, for a few hours labour from a service technician. For our math
, we will assume a four-hour service call say $750.
Savings – $2110 in the first year
We involve the sub-contractor and discover a function room, which is served by an Air handling unit that has four zones, has competing heating and cooling. One of those four zones has an area set to 25 degree for the room temperature space set point. Consequently, the Air handling unit is heating it up and cooling it down.
- Heat/ cool zone competing.
- (Cooling vale not properly functioning, or set point too low for the supply air)
- An 11 Kilowatts 3phase electric duct heater activates too often as a result, including in summer.
- To be conservative, let’s say 5 hours a day for say 200 days (summer/spring) when it should not operate.
- 5 x 200 = 1000
- 11000 Kilowatt Hours at 25 cents per kilowatt-hour.
- $2, 750 dollars per year
- Add to this the cost of the cooling energy, which you have paid for, but may have not been required.
The Cost to rectify this may have simply been a service request, for a few hours labour from a service technician. For our maths, we will assume a four-hour service call say $750.
Savings – $2000 in the first year
No GST in these costs, figures are estimates only.
In these two examples, in the same site, we have an annual savings of circa $6,000 after costs of the first year.
Expand this across multiple floors and larger equipment and we start thinking about annual savings of $40,000 or $50,000.
These are very simple examples, however we have found them in our Audits, another example was a shopping centre where all the supply air fans run 24/7, 365 days a year, yet the center is only open 12 hours a day. The energy Bill was almost halved, post our submission of the report.
Generally, there is a host of simple strategies Property Managers in these B and C grade buildings with limited budgets can do. Let common sense prevail, and we are sure there will be some savings somewhere, which can be implemented. If you are unsure, call us, and/or engage a consultant and include some measurement and verification processes to confirm results.
Forte Asset Services