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Facility Master Plans for Optimal Building Energy EfficiencySeptember 12, 2013
What’s your facility master plan? If you’re still working it out, now’s the time to build energy efficiency into it. Here are some qualities essential for successful, energy-smart facility management planning:
An eye toward improvement – One mistake made by many facilities is the tendency to automatically replace a failing component with whatever its modern-day equivalent might be. While that makes sense if you’re merely preserving the status quo, it probably won’t gain you anything in terms of energy efficiency. Instead, your facility master plan should call for replacement of dead or obviously wasteful components with new technologies that offer significant energy savings. A great example of this strategy is Cincinnati’s Deer Park School District, which saved $23,000 per year in energy expenses by upgrading to new and improved lighting systems instead of merely replacing “like with like.”
Long-range flexibility – A facility master plan aimed at building energy efficiency must combine long-term strategies with short-term adaptability — the ability to correct course as new options, technologies and requirements make themselves known. Oregon Health & Science University, for example, has a 20-year facility master plan overseeing all of the buildings within its campus (though each building has its own plan as well). As far-sighted as this strategy is, however, it is reviewed and amended as necessary every two years.
Comprehensive consideration – Don’t forget that energy efficiency is only one aspect, albeit a critical one, of a really well-considered facility planning strategy. A master plan must include a thorough explanation of existing facility conditions, proposals and designs for new and refurbished facilities, and short-term action steps as well as energy efficiency and sustainability goals. All of these parts must work together to turn your facility into a well-oiled, efficient machine.