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Energy Management as a Key to Facility Management

  • blog  -  2012. Május 24.
What is the essence of optimal facility management in a brief sentence? Quality service provided at the lowest possible cost. What does this fundamental rule imply in the case of commercial properties? Retailers can expend a certain part of their revenues on the property; that is, a limited amount. Consequently, cost reduction must be a prominent goal of facility management.

The first target of reasonable cost reduction is the largest cost item, as the biggest savings are expected to be achieved here. The largest cost item in the case of building operation is energy, which alone makes up for about two-thirds of the total cost. What is more, it can be taken for granted that due to the permanent increase in global energy consumption and the limited nature of all technologically employable and known energy sources, the energy prices will increase above the average in the future too, in accordance with the laws of market economy. It can be stated also that a major part of the known energy sources can only be transformed into consumable energy through damaging the environment. The community will need to limit such energy production in the future in order to protect the environment, which in turn will result in an even more drastic increase in the prices. Consequently, the key issue of facility management will certainly be the rationalization of energy consumption in the future. It is not by accident that this issue is addressed by the special programmes of ICSC as well.

The related mission of facility management is to
1 Decrease energy consumption; and
2 Establish a self-sufficient energetic system employing renewable, environmentally friendly sources.

The chief methods to achieve the first goal are
1 Decreasing the energy losses; and
2 Rationalizing the consumption.

The issue of the decreasing of energy losses is basically known. It is about minimizing the losses incurred during the handling and use of the energy consumed in buildings (thermal, light or other energy). Included here are thermal insulation, ventilation, and warming-up protection of the building; the efficiency of light production and control; and the proper utilization of other energy containing media (e.g. sewage-water), to mention only a few examples. This goal can be achieved through the use of proper building structures and the related development of building utilities systems.

The rationalization of consumption is connected with the issue of comfort ratings. In the past, energy consuming solutions have been used and even developed in order to increase the comfort level in many cases. While the energy market offered cheap energy in big volumes, these solutions did not mean a problem; actually, they met (and sometimes generated) market demands through the satisfaction of which the product (the building) became even more valuable. An excellent example is the issue of large-area glass-roofings they used to build for shopping centers. As a function of their design these structures have a great impact on the cooling energy consumption of the building. The facility manager?s responsibility in this relation is to consult with the architect and the investor (or, in the case of an existing establishment, with the owner and the user) on the compromise implied by the rationalization of energy consumption potentials. Organization and rationalization of the needs in time, space and function, along with the consequent formation of spaces can help to significantly decrease the volume of energy consumed.

András Makó

The author has played a leading role in the development and operation of numerous commercial properties; has chaired the Hungarian Council of Shopping Centers for years, and is presently a member of its board. The author?s consulting company, Makosz Kft., is aimed at addressing the new and altered challenges of property development and facility management.

to be continued...

  • source: Retail Yearbook
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