A Greener Facilities Manager
Become a Greener Facilities Manager
The FM role has evolved immensely over recent years. In terms of the electrical requirements, a combination of increasing regulations, the pressure of sustainability and the need for ultimate cost-efficiency has made product specification a much more complex, considered process. This has placed the focus on long-term strategies rather than quick fixes. In light of this, electrical wholesaler Newey & Eyre has developed its very own division, solely dedicated to meet the daily challenges of the modern FM. Here, we talk to National Sales Manager for FM, Wayne Bridgehouse, to investigate further.
Sustainability, Legislation & Cost
The task faced by a 21st Century FM is by no means an easy one. As the all-encompassing issue of sustainability continues to dominate many aspects of modern life, today’s FMs need to go way beyond the traditional remit of simply providing a quality service and ensuring the correct availability of resources. They must meet these requirements in the most sustainable and environmentally responsible manner possible.
Legislation is another major consideration. More than ever before, FMs must allocate time and budget to keeping up-to-date with their legal requirements in order to minimise potential liability. As the electrical sector covers such a wide remit, including everything from waste management, outsourcing and health and safety through to energy management and security, this can bring with it a wide range of regulations to understand.
Then, of course, there is cost to think about. The credit crunch, as constantly reported in the national media, along with the added burden of rising energy prices, has brought about a heightened concern of the need to cut costs. As a result, facilities managers must be financially shrewd.
Collectively, this has brought about a greater focus on long term strategies rather than quick fixes and the adaption of a much more holistic approach. No longer can the core areas of environmental awareness, social responsibility and financial astuteness be considered separately, with cost typically being a deciding factor. In this new era, FMs are coming to realise the three are interrelated and the trio is integral to a high level of success.
…sustainable, quality solutions… can dramatically reduce energy consumption and maintenance requirements
Wayne Bridgehouse, National Sales Manager for FM
Achieving Cost-Effective, Sustainable Solutions
While these changes have undoubtedly made the specification process a more difficult and lengthy one, the end result for the FM can be highly beneficial. The need for more sustainable, quality solutions may take longer to source and incur a greater initial outlay, but it must be remembered these products can dramatically reduce energy consumption and maintenance requirements, therefore significantly reducing operational fees and massively improving the lifecycle cost of a building. Plus, in many cases, most energy efficient buildings see economic gains relatively quickly, often as little as 12 to 18 months.
Assess Energy Consumtion
For those looking to achieve sustainable and financial success, a good starting point is a thorough assessment of the building’s energy consumption. This will determine seasonally adjusted consumption levels and the energy efficiency of existing equipment. By gaining a full understanding of energy usage in this way, FMs can decide how best to manage it and recognise any key opportunities to implement energy saving products, technologies and behaviours.
Change Occupant’ Behaviour
Obviously, without the buy-in of the building’s occupants, it is impossible for the FM to achieve success. Therefore the next step is to address the behaviour and attitudes of site occupants, from senior management through to employees, towards energy efficiency. In many cases, it can help to set up a focus group to raise awareness of the importance of the issue, supported by posters, email and intranet messages and booklets containing tips for employees to use at home and work to reduce energy usage and ultimately save money.
Use Energy Efficient Products
With the building’s incumbents on board, product choice becomes the major consideration. To make life easier, the electrical industry has developed a plethora of resources that meet the complex demands of modern society. There are numerous highly advanced and intelligent electrical products, which are legislatively compliant and meet both UK and worldwide environmental aims, while also ensuring ultimate cost-efficiency.
Power Factor Correction (PFC), for example, is widely considered one of the best and most cost-effective ways for a company to reduce energy costs. In very simple terms, the correction process optimises the way that electric power is consumed by all apparatus within a building in relation to the structure of electricity tarrifs, to create a more efficient energy use and lower power bills. This can help companies save hundreds if not thousands, on wasted energy - much more than the outlay of the device.
Energy Efficient Lighting
Looking to the lighting category, there are literally hundreds of solutions designed to assist in the reduction of energy and, in turn, cost. Representing the most significant development in lighting in this generation, the latest range of LEDs combine the brightness of conventional lighting with a small footprint, long life (lasting anywhere up to 30 years) and high efficiency, consuming an average 80 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are another green choice, offering 80 per cent energy saving compared to incandescent lamps and an average long life expectancy of up to 15,000 hours.
Lighting controls, when used effectively, can dramatically increase efficiency and reduce energy bills even further. PIR sensors, designed to detect and activate when someone enters the room and switch off when they have left, can prevent lights being left on in empty areas of the building, helping companies to save an average of 80 per cent on energy wasted. Ultrasonic sensors are another option for FMs. Designed for areas with limited use, they are fully automatic, directional presence detectors with photocell, and save energy by switching off lights in unoccupied areas and by holding lights off in occupied areas that already have adequate natural light.
Variable Speed Drives
Variable speed drives are also growing in popularity, as yet another sustainable strategy which incurs savings. In some cases, testing has proven that where variable speed drives are applied to centrifugal pumps, fans or rotary compressors, energy savings of up to 50 per cent are regularly achieved, for a speed reduction of only 20 per cent.
Delivering Solutions with Newey & Eyre
With so much to think about, it is pivotal to have the correct level of knowledge behind each product. As such, electrical wholesalers have adapted to ensure they can provide a higher level of service. Many have gone so far as to introduce specific workforces to aid the sector and give guidance on the most effective and, in turn, profitable solutions, acting very much like a consultancy service. Newey & Eyre, for example, has a dedicated team of national and regional account managers who are totally focused on the FM marketplace and the needs of both the customer and requirements of the end-user.
In order to truly make the most of these products and services, FMs need to be much more holistic in their approach to product specification. By proactively taking the opportunity to meet with an FM market specialist at their electrical wholesaler in order to clarify a comprehensive strategy, FMs can see significant added value. If, for example, an FM is looking to replace a large quantity of lamps with longer-life models, their wholesaler will be able recommend a solution whereby the initial outlay is outweighed by the reduction of labour and maintenance so that, ultimately, the client has the best quality product and still saves money.
Recent cultural and economic changes have had a major impact on everyone and the challenges now faced by the modern-day FM can be daunting. This is why it is so important to make the most of the help at hand. Gone are the days of buying as required, forward-thinking and early engagement is now crucial. Only by taking the time to utilise the latest technologies and free services available from wholesalers, is it possible to ensure the most proficient electrical solution possible. By working together in this way, it is possible to adopt an integrated approach to building services that will deliver economic, social and environmental value for years to come.