Connectivity. The Internet of Things (IoT). Controlling Costs.
Maybe these are not such new ideas in building operations and maintenance, but every year they improve and it was all on display in San Antonio at BOMA 2018. It was a hot time in Texas! Touring the exhibit floor, I made a point to learn what’s new in these areas.
- We're seeing impressive continued improvement in programs that allow facility managers to see (and even control remotely) exactly how a building uses energy – right down to individual equipment or even devices – in real-time using the internet of things (IoT). The O&M department gets the information they need to optimize energy use. When implemented wisely, these systems can help minimize the added costs of reactive maintenance, which is considerably more expensive, and more disruptive, than preventive maintenance.
- Preventive maintenance also aims to cut down on employee complaints. Proper cleaning of air handling coils to keep them free from mold and fungi is one preventive maintenance strategy that continues to improve and should be more widely adopted. Studies show clean coils save money and keep employees and tenants healthier and more productive!
- The more connected your company becomes with IoT or any cloud-based applications, the more you must be vigilant about cybersecurity, and there were several such vendors at BOMA explaining how converged and connected systems are prime targets. The IT department and the Operations Department must understand the perils of remote access to internal systems and must work together with a qualified cybersecurity provider to close the potential gaps.
- At one talk I attended, I was surprised to find out how many accountants don’t employ specialized tax strategies such as cost segregation and 179D energy tax deductions. These can significantly reduce tax liability and increase cash flow. Be sure to ask your accounting team if they understand and use these tax strategies.
I was in San Antonio to present a seminar on “Transforming Existing Buildings into High-Performance Properties.” The standing-room-only crowed learned how Wayne State University in Detroit saved $20K per year on their utility bills by implementing some simple retrofits costing only $13,200. Thanks to technology, and the conference center’s IT guy, I was able to share a brief video interview with WSU’s Director of Utilities & Energy Management about the energy audit and retrofit project.
For more on this topic, request your copy of our guide “Why - and How to - Transform an Existing Building into a Sustainable Facility.”
San Antonio is a delightful place to visit. Of course the end of June it does tend to be a bit warm and humid (to put it mildly), but the Riverwalk and the restaurants, stores and cafes on both sides are very enjoyable. And, of course, the many parties thrown by vendors are always good places to meet and mingle – and sometimes even learn something.