NYR: Healthy Year, Healthy Building (Part 5) – Plan, Goals, BOP
Now that we assessed our buildings, it’s time to evaluate and make a plan.
What is the overall thing you need to focus on to get your building healthier? Does your IAQ need improvement? Is your energy consumption too high? Do you want to raise your Energy Star number by several points? Try to clarify this overall goal and make it both measurable and attainable.
Now that we know our end goal, let’s make some smaller goals to help us reach it. These goals will probably be in one, if not all, of these 3 areas: building operations, preventative maintenance, and upgrades.
By using the information you gathered during your building assessment to answer the questions below, it may help you identify where to focus your efforts. Before diving into any project, make sure that you’ve taken the time to evaluate what the assessment results revealed about the way your building is operating.
Is your building running well? Do you have a building operations plan in place? If not, that is an essential component to making sure that your building is running as it should. When you have a building operations plan, it is easier to identify when something is not working correctly.
A building operations plan (BOP) should include:
- Occupancy levels
- Desired indoor conditions or set points; i.e. temps, relative humidity levels, CO2 levels
- Duct static pressures
- Day vs. night
- Occupied vs. Unoccupied
- Lighting levels
- Seasonal variations
By tracking these many variables, it can help you determine the settings at which your building is at peak operation and can help you determine the cause of any building issues.
Planned and Predictive Maintenance
Part of the BOP should include maintenance schedules and task lists for each piece of equipment. By documenting these, you will create a standard procedure that everyone follows. This will help lessen the uncertainty of how the equipment is being taken care of, should there be any question from the owner or tenants.
Maintaining new equipment is just as important as maintaining old equipment. Maintenance helps extend the life of your equipment, decreases unexpected failures, and overall is a way to protect your investment. Further, maintenance can help you fulfill your overall goal for a healthier building. Whether your focus is improving your IAQ or cutting down on consumption, well maintained equipment will be instrumental in helping you achieve your goal.
To create a PM schedule for your equipment, talk to your mechanical contractor. They will often know what the manufacturer’s recommendations are for maintenance or can easily access that information. Depending on the size and experience of your in-house engineering staff, maintenance can be performed in-house. Otherwise, have your mechanical contractor perform the maintenance for you. Both options can be equally as effective; the important thing is that the maintenance is done in a complete and timely manner.
Another key element to maintenance is to make notes of any operational anomalies that could indicate a problem with the equipment or the system. As you performed your assessment on your building, you may have begun to note some of these anomalies. These inconsistencies may be cleared up through your new or improved maintenance plan, but continue to stay attentive to them as they could be indications of necessary upgrades.
When you keep an up to date BOP and properly maintain your equipment per manufacturer’s recommendations, you will be able to plan and budget for equipment upgrades.
During your building assessment you took notes on the age of your equipment and its repair history. These factors can also help you plan and determine when a good time for upgrades is. Consult your mechanical contractor to help you decide on the right equipment for your building. Your mechanical contractor should also calculate the ROI (Return on Investment) and/or how it will affect the NPV (Net Present Value) of your building.
With an overhaul of, or slight changes to, your building operations plan, goals, and budget for equipment upgrades based on your assessment, you will be able to reach your goal of creating a healthier building for your occupants, your company, and you! Cheers to a healthy year!