Editor's Letter

12/01/2015 | By Chris Olson

A Perfect Convergence of Opportunities

Two broad waves of opportunity are converging on the buildings industry. Can you take advantage of what may be a once-in-a-generation change in the way facilities are viewed and valued?  

One wave is building data. Many C-suite executives have traditionally viewed their facilities as the sum of their costs, i.e. the cost to lease or own, cost to maintain, cost to insure, cost for utilities and property taxes, etc. However, the data analytics of building performance and operation are not only providing new information but also a different perception of facilities. This month’s feature article on energy dashboards (page 22) is one example of analytics. Monitoring the energy consumption of lighting, HVAC and plug loads helps to identify equipment faults that otherwise would be invisible. The data can provide backward-looking information on what broke as well as forward-looking information on operations scenarios. An IFMA whitepaper, Redefining the Executive View of Facility Management, noted that such analytics capability challenges FMs to “transition from traditional rear view mirror, static benchmarking (i.e. what’s been done) to forward-looking, dynamic, innovation-oriented analytics.”

Building data allows facilities to adjust more quickly to the work routines of employees, a key bridge to the second wave of change, which involves employee wellbeing and its impact on productivity. Organizations increasingly recognize the link between productivity and employee satisfaction, even as they struggle to reduce facility costs and average square feet per employee. Their executives read such things as the World Green Building Council report that says workers with access to daylight are 18% more productive. They think about interactive office design when they read an article like the recent one in the Harvard Business Review with data showing that when salespeople interact 10% more with coworkers from other teams, their sales grow by 10%.

It is a great time to connect the dots within and between building data and occupant wellbeing. And who is better suited to do that than FMs?


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