Sustainability is a critical aspect in the management of many facilities, and implementing highly efficient technologies and programs can save money and increase property values. In facility management, efficient technologies not only save money, but they can also reduce maintenance hours and costs while improving the tenant experience. This article details an array of sustainable solutions for facility management, from low to high-cost systems.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting is a trailblazer in sustainable technology, standing out as a low-cost but highly effective solution. Compared to conventional incandescent and compact fluorescent lights, LEDs consume significantly less electricity and have a much longer lifespan— with some LEDs lasting over 25,000 hours. This longevity translates to fewer replacements, reducing maintenance time and costs.
The energy efficiency of LED lights translates to lower electricity bills, making them an economical choice for facility managers. LEDs come in various styles and brightness levels, offering flexibility to enhance the aesthetics, ambiance, and safety of different areas within a property, from hallways to parking lots. Moreover, reduced energy consumption contributes to lower greenhouse gas emissions, making LED lighting a win-win for both the environment and the budget. Utilizing LED systems in parking lots can be especially effective, as the increased brightness, reduced energy cost and enhanced longevity will make sure parking areas are well lit with minimal maintenance compared to traditional low-pressure sodium lamps.
On the more affordable end of the spectrum, advanced power strips are a simple yet effective solution to combat phantom energy use. Even when electronic devices are turned off, they can still draw power if plugged in, contributing to energy wastage. Advanced power strips eliminate this by cutting off power to idle devices.
While the savings on a single device might seem minor, across a large property with numerous electronic devices, the cumulative effect can be significant. This cost-effective technology is an easy way for facility managers to enhance energy efficiency without breaking the bank.
Occupancy sensors, with their price range varying from low to mid-cost, offer an economical and practical approach to automating energy consumption based on occupancy. By controlling lighting and HVAC systems in real-time, these sensors ensure that empty rooms do not consume unnecessary energy.
This adaptive technology is particularly beneficial in large and mixed-use facilities, where occupancy patterns can be diverse and unpredictable. The convenience and reduction in energy consumption afforded by occupancy sensors make them an invaluable tool in a facility manager’s sustainability toolkit, aiding in the judicious use of energy and reducing operational costs.
Positioned in the mid-cost range, smart thermostats are a smart investment for facility managers aiming for optimal climate control and energy savings. These devices are also intelligent; they are programed to learn from the occupants’ behaviors and adjust heating and cooling accordingly. This adaptability ensures that no energy is wasted on unoccupied spaces, thereby contributing to energy conservation.
Smart thermostats can also be controlled remotely, allowing facility managers to adjust settings from anywhere, providing convenience and enabling timely interventions to prevent energy waste or adjust tenants HVAC. Insights derived from usage data can further help in identifying patterns and optimizing energy consumption, ultimately leading to reduced utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint.
Water-saving appliances, ranging from mid to high-cost, are a critical investment in sustainability, especially for properties located in regions prone to water scarcity. Low-flow faucets, efficient irrigation systems in landscaping, gray and wastewater collection (for use in landscaping), and xeriscaping programs are all mid to high-cost solutions for saving water. These programs and technologies are developed to use less water without compromising performance.
By reducing water waste, these programs not only contribute to conserving a vital resource but also lead to considerable savings on water bills. For large facilities with extensive water usage, these savings can be substantial over time, offsetting the initial investment and supporting both economic and environmental goals.
Exploring the variety and capabilities of these sustainable technologies showcases the multitude of options available to suit different budgetary constraints. From the affordable and versatile benefits of LED lighting and advanced power strips to the intelligent functionalities of mid-range smart thermostats and occupancy sensors, and the considerable water through advanced landscaping techniques, each solution serves a unique purpose.
Facility managers, armed with this knowledge, can align the specific needs of their properties with the appropriate technologies, making strategic investments that yield long-term environmental and economic benefits. By integrating these technologies, they are not just managing properties efficiently but are also contributing to building a sustainable future and enhancing the overall quality of living and working environments.