Resource management may not seem like the most exciting topic, but we’re currently in a very transformative time, and that does make it abundantly relevant (and dare I say exciting?) to both the public and commercial sectors.
Resource management can help reduce resource consumption and spend, meet corporate responsibility goals, and give you more insight into the performance of your resource-consuming capital investments. While tracking facility-level energy data can help you establish a general resource consumption baseline, the key to achieving the benefits above is asset-level benchmarking.
Ecova’s own 2016 Energy and Sustainability Predictions: Findings from Leading Professionals report showed that facilities management professionals value asset-level benchmarking in order to:
- Ensure facilities are normalized even during peak demand times
- Reduce maintenance costs and extend asset life
- Take action to minimize energy waste
- Quantify the impact of assets to make a more sustainable impact on the environment
First, it should be clear that benchmarking—and the technology investments that enable it—does not alone reduce resource consumption. It’s the actions taken to reduce resource consumption and improve asset performance –enabled by benchmarking—that drive the return on investment. Asset-level benchmarking is part planning and part action. Today I’d like to speak to some of the best practices for planning and management of resources: outlining goals and opportunities.
Plan, communicate and iterate: Installation of hardware and software for resource management involves a certain degree of disruption. It’s imperative that work schedules are planned well in advance and continuously communicated among project and facilities managers and integration contractors. Plan on hiring or assigning a dedicated project manager for coordination. The importance of clear, detailed, and documented work plans can’t be overstated.
Consider and budget for hardware and software: Depending on the size of your portfolio, the volume of resource consuming assets, and the technology chosen, asset-level monitoring initiatives can require a significant hardware and software investment. How quickly project funding is recouped through savings and rebates is dependent on up-front planning and effective communication of expectations with stakeholders and third parties. Choose vendors that implement scalable options and “future-proof” technologies that won’t become obsolete after only a few years.
Research outside funding or incentives: Budgeting for resource management might include leveraging utility rebates available to organizations that employ asset monitoring as a means to reducing resource consumption. Understand the requirements for these rebates at the onset.
A successful resource management program is only as good as the initial asset-level benchmarking data. With this, you will be on your way to developing an effective plan to monitor energy-consuming assets, account for changes in local energy rates, identify available rebates, and implement retrofits and upgrades to meet your internal resource reduction goals.
Watch for my next installment in this series, when I will discuss realizing ROI in your asset-level benchmarking plan.