In the present era, the focus of environmental protection lies in adopting energy efficiency in different ways while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings and their activities are responsible for emitting a significant share of greenhouse gas. Numerous trends like growth of population, migration to densely populated areas, and rising level of lifestyle had contributed to potentially increasing the level of pollution throughout the world.
It is quite evident that in many organizations the level of energy performance is below optimum. Before the pandemic struck us, it was found to aim around 70 percent of existing establishments that they are using more energy than normal levels. There are many reasons behind this and they can be found at all stages right from building conception to designing to delivery of services. In India, this scenario is not quite different. Problems like improper measuring, insufficiency in management, and lack of commissioning have caused poor facility management in most organizations. Also, in some businesses, the focus lies on construction and design mostly rather than on performance. This is because the perspective of the construction industry is taken into consideration and the end result is given emphasis rather than the procedure of service providing from scratch.
Integrated facility management for ensuring energy efficiency
Needless to say, facility managers refer to a team of experts that function as a critical resource in reducing energy usage and improve savings on utility in different business establishments. Here are a few things that the facility managers can do to ensure reduced energy consumption:
- Tracking energy usage: When the facility managers can track how the building is used after its regular hours, it becomes easier to track where the organization can reduce energy usage. For example, turning off the lights of the vending machine may seem to have no impact. But with the passage of time, it can have a huge impact on the energy consumption of that establishment. Other areas that need consideration include heating and cooling system and keeping off the lights of floors not in use. With the building automation system, different equipment can be automatically handled leading to energy efficiency.
- Planning preventive energy maintenance: Facility managers should always strive to create plannings for preventive maintenance in the HVAC unit and air handlers can help in finding out energy leakages. This gives an insight into the performance of different electric gadgets while showing means of improving energy efficiency by replacing or repairing them. For the proper establishment of energy-saving measures it is crucial to engage with the management, custodians, and other stakeholders of the business.
- Remote monitoring:When energy-saving programs are implemented, the next step is to evaluate and utilize the energy consumption report for further energy savings. In most establishments, this is where the gap remains. To bridge it, gadgets setpoints should be audited on a day to day basis to make sure that no equipment is overworking. This is of critical importance in the case of HVAC, lighting, and refrigeration. When set points are audited regularly with the help of a remote monitoring platform, the equipment can be reset as per the desired settings. With this, the facility managers can easily reach whether the equipment is running at the right temperature, and lights are not switched on unnecessarily.
- Evaluating and improving continuously: It is obvious that devising a strategic energy efficiency program would take time. And considering the current pandemic, it is not going to be achieved anytime soon. But offices should continue monitoring their energy usage for finding out where they can reduce costs and carbon footprint. When this is done, it becomes easier to find out energy-saving programs that can fit the needs and requirements if the business and help the integrated facilities management to achieve its goals in terms of reduced energy consumption.
The prime reason for the development of smart cities in India is to efficiently assess and save energy while promoting renewable resources. The United Nations habitat has estimated that urban areas account for around 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. According to TERI, The Energy and Resources Institute, smart cities will gradually come out as means of energy management which, in turn, can reduce pollution all across the world. With the emergence of COVID-19, the whole world has almost come to a standstill; the momentum with which the global economy was surging has paused. Businesses across industries are facing a never seen before challenge but this is also a passing phase. With government aid and other assistance, businesses will be able to overcome this situation. Some industries are having a hard time while others are carving means to thrive. There is hardly any sector that is not impacted by this pandemic.