There has been a significant shift in the design, construction and service offerings of buildings in recent times, leading to a simultaneous change in the way these buildings are managed and maintained. Let us look at a few ways that the FMs (Facility Managers) today have brought in innovative procedures and practices for the maintenance of the Green and Smart Buildings respectively.

Green Buildings:

The main objective behind a green building is the use of minimum resources throughout the lifecycle of the project with a timed progression towards achieving zero-waste. Green buildings require FMs to manage the air quality, energy usage, water consumption and waste efficiently. Each of these parameters are measured and monitored in order to achieve an efficiency level that benefits occupants and owners in the long run. Some of the examples are – using an energy-efficient HVAC system, water-saving plumbing fixtures, solar and wind power, installing high-efficiency lighting systems and latest energy management controls and recycling. Low operating costs, low maintenance cost, low development costs, healthier indoor environment quality, and enhanced durability are the characteristics of a green building.

The SOPs for the maintenance for green buildings are derived from the below mentioned audits:

Energy Audit:

An energy audit is a detailed study of the building’s current energy usage through Thermography and Lux Level analysis. A conclusive report from this audit will help the FM and the tenants identify the most economical energy usage and saving strategies which would definitely result in cost savings over a period of time depending on the strategy implemented.

EHS (Environmental, Health, Safety) Audit:

EHS (Environmental, Health, Safety) audit is a systemic tool to determine the regulatory compliance of a building. This includes a survey to check whether the tenants are adhering to the environmental and safety requirements as per the required norms. An EHS audit will help identify the present and potential risks that threaten the environment, health and safety of the tenants and the building. It will also suggest the most efficient way to prioritize and control these risks. 

Facility Compliance Audits:

An audit of the facility helps create a baseline for the preventive, comprehensive and performance maintenance. This includes waste control and recycling, building assets and equipment, fire, security and risk management. Based on this audit, the FM then decides the maintenance system and frequency of tasks that are appropriate for the management of that particular green building.

The challenges an FM usually faces with the maintenance of a green building is that the building must have a LEED certification, it has to be 30% more efficient than other buildings and the HVAC system and other equipment should comply with the minimum energy efficiency standards. Nonetheless, facility managers have now developed the skills and knowledge to maintain and efficiently sustain green buildings.

A few tips for residents –

• Make more use of natural cleaning products such as baking soda, soap powder, lemon and hot water, vinegar, etc. They have the same effect and they do not add to the toxin levels of your house. Make more use of paper products as well since they are recycled from tree fibers• Wood and tile flooring are a really good substitute as they can be easily cleaned with water and a wet mop, if possible also use eco-friendly paints on your walls

• Using double-glazed windows, this will help control the indoor temperature reducing the need of air conditioners or ceiling fans. Also keep the temperature of the air conditioner around 24C – 25C, as this will optimize energy usage

• The latest models of the daily electrical appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines and others now developed with energy conservation in mind. So, replace the older models or upgrade them with the recent, energy-efficient ones

• Switch to LEDs from CFLs as LEDs are far more energy efficient than incandescent or fluorescent lights, which emit light in a much wider band of wavelengths

• To conserve and to have cleaner utilization of energy install solar panels for overall energy grid or even just for the water heater

• Replace tap water with rainwater that can be used for gardening, washing vehicles and other cleaning purposes

Smart/Intelligent Buildings:

By capitalizing on and integrating intelligent solutions with maintenance processes, FMs today have transformed a building into a flexible and smart structure that now adapts as per the environmental conditions and the tenant’s preferences. Let’s look at a few ways that have already been accomplished in this ever-evolving space:

Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI):

FMs are now solving a huge number of operational and maintenance challenges through IoT and AI. Data collected via occupancy and motion sensors, security systems, HVAC systems, lighting, and electrical patterns are providing valuable information with respect to consumption patterns which in turn is helping in a huge way with improvements. Tenant safety and security is a big measure that has now become simpler to monitor with the help of IoT and AI. 

Facility Management Software:

Capturing and analyzing data through training and operations audits, employee performance rating module which gives an accurate report of every employee on the basis of the quality of work, knowledge, attendance and training needs, are few of the processes that are already implemented. It also helps in keeping a track of equipment and machinery performance on site with respect to status, knowledge and the condition of the equipment/machinery which also gives an understanding of the service outcome at regular intervals.