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The Importance of O&M

These days, there are a significant number of options for advanced systems that supply and manage energy in commercial buildings and facilities. Since facility managers have an eye on the bottom line, it is recommended to look beyond the type of energy supply system chosen and to examine demand-side management systems, as well as maintenance methods employed throughout the equipment lifecycle.

The most effective and economical process to optimize a facility’s HVAC infrastructure, increase energy efficiency, and reduce lifecycle costs is by focusing on top-quality operations and maintenance (O&M).

O&M Program Basics

The proper methods for performing a thorough O&M program include diagnosing and inspecting equipment, identifying any necessary upgrades and repairs, and continuously monitoring all systems required. The goal is to effectively and efficiently support the life cycle of the facility by eliminating unplanned shutdowns, maximizing system operation, and realizing life-cycle cost savings.

Comprehensive and effective maintenance responsibilities include:

  • O&M plans for each piece of equipment
  • Equipment and system surveys, audits, and assessments (performance measuring and benchmarking)
  • Unique and successful troubleshooting strategies
  • Preventive maintenance (procedures and schedules)
  • Corrective maintenance (repair requirements)
  • Considered improvements and capital investment options

Many facilities have lost expertise in-house to perform the necessary analysis and diagnostics on their own systems to optimize O&M. If this is the case, owners should not neglect these areas and can chose to outsource optimization and involve energy management specialists.

Building owners who only apply minimal preservation practices to their buildings will be unsuccessful in maximizing the value of their investments. Buildings require a routine of continuous maintenance. When this is neglected, it can become more time consuming and expensive for improvements, installations, repairs, and replacements, which can compromise power generation.

By Matthew Guarracino, business development manager at J.M. Electrical Company and David A. Bovard, northeast regional manager director strategic partners at Spirax Sarco.  

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