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Operations & Maintenance for Efficient Buildings

Posted on June 28, 2016 by HSC


Tackling energy and water consumption in your buildings isn’t only about retrofits or equipment upgrades.

One area where you can have big impacts on your utility costs is in your operations and maintenance practices. By improving your O&M, you can reduce wasted energy, save time and money, decrease tenant disruption, and avoid early equipment replacement or repairs. O&M costs over a building’s lifetime can be much higher than the building’s initial construction cost. For this reason, you can see big savings from reducing your O&M costs and implementing green, energy efficient practices.

Having an O&M manual for your building is a key part of your asset and energy management practices. A manual helps streamline efforts and prevent duplication of work while also providing clear guidelines to staff on what needs to be done to keep your building running well.

If you don’t have an O&M manual, now’s the time to start. And if you do have a manual, it’s a good time to update it. Does this sound like a lot of work? Luckily, you don’t have to start from scratch! The following template can help you:

The template was created by Enterprise Green Communities to help social and affordable housing providers. You can use EGC’s tips to customize the template for your building and make checklists for staff. You will find the sections on Energy Conservation & Efficiency (pg. 32), Water Conservation (pg. 42), and Waste Reduction (pg. 46) especially helpful since these areas have significant impacts on your operational costs.

Remember, your O&M manual will be a living document that you will want to update as you complete retrofits or other major changes to your building. You can track the energy-related impacts of improved O&M by reviewing your UMP reports each quarter. Measuring and monitoring your energy and water consumption is an important piece of your overall energy management efforts and green asset management processes.

Green Asset Management Process Diagram
(source: Green Asset Management Toolkit for Multifamily Housing, Enterprise Green Communities, 2010)

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