Companies rely on sustainable facilities management practices, report shows

Companies rely on sustainable facilities management practices, report shows

A new energy efficiency and costs savings report is now available for the industrial sector, which demonstrates the increasing attention companies are paying to energy efficiency as a cost-savings method at their most energy-draining plants.

The Jones Lang LaSalle whitepaper, titled "Manufactured Energy Savings," shows that more than ever before, U.S. companies are dependent on sustainable facilities management methods to raise company value and develop  progressive solutions to lower both energy consumption and operational expenses.

"Industrial real estate dominates much of the energy consumption throughout the United States," said Brenda Crisp, senior vice president and national industrial property management lead in Chicago. "Management teams with solid knowledge of energy efficiency can help find energy savings in a number of systems and areas throughout an industrial building, often for no cost or low cost."

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook 2012, America's industrial sector consumes one-third of all delivered energy. What's more, the report forecast the sector will show the second-largest jump in energy usage between 2010 and 2035, making it imperative for facilities management professionals to develop and implement solutions to keep energy consumption down and reduce waste.

Bob Best, executive vice president of Chicago operations and product leader for Jones Lang LaSalle’s Energy and Sustainability Solutions Group, said industrial building owners can perform several maintenance projects to lower costs related to energy.

To start, facilities managers can make basic improvements to their HVAC systems, which can reduce energy expenses by 11 percent on average. Taking new approaches to lighting, such as installing LED lights, can also drastically lower energy costs in the long run.

Switching to renewable energy sources, such as rooftop solar panels and ground source heat pumps, can lower greenhouse gas emissions, in turn supporting company sustainability goals and complying with standards enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Reconfiguring air control systems at loading docks and reorganizing loading bays to keep out air and insulate walls can also greatly improve air quality in a facility. Other "venting strategies," as the report called them, can help regulate temperature and lower energy consumption. Improved processing controls, which includes auditing air systems, motor controls and water systems, can also improve efficiency and help managers discover new areas where costs could be cut.

According to the report, using these methods in conjunction with technologies that allow for "constant and continual commissioning" can improve processes even further. These technologies include predictive analytics software that measures, tracks and adjusts systems and assets to perform at their maximum efficiency.

Using these technologies can improve maintenance the efficiency of maintenance projects, and also help companies ensure they are in compliance with regulations established by agencies like the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

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