Operations and Maintenance
Your organization’s Operations and Maintenance department is one of the most overlooked opportunities to cut energy costs and improve indoor air quality. Energy efficiency measures adopted by this part of an organization can be very cost effective. The problem that can arise is that over time, staff members may not be as diligent as they were at the beginning in their energy-saving efforts. For this reason, keeping detailed, up-to-date records is very important.
When budgets are being set, often Operations and Management is put in the same category as utility costs. As a result, management (unfortunately) often cuts the O&M budget in an effort to find the funds to pay for higher fuel costs. This would be unwise, since deferring regular maintenance on equipment will actually lead to higher energy costs. Higher energy costs equals more cuts to O&M, and the downward spiral continues.
It is possible to break this vicious cycle, however. The role that O&M plays in lowering energy costs can be tracked and reported to management. This can be demonstrated by looking at the cost of energy efficiency training and the O&M time being used on energy-related tasks in specific locations. These costs may be thought of as the investment part of calculating a payback formula, in much the same was as equipment costs are considered.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait for a year to find out whether this strategy is working to your organization’s advantage. After a couple of months, compare O&M figures from the same time period from the previous year to see how the organization has benefitted.
Energy audits and commissioning procedures usually include needed O&M work relating to energy, so it’s a good idea to set up a log to keep track of these services. It will provide information to set up the priority for work based on the most cost-effective items. Detailed maintenance records for equipment will help your organization figure out when it’s time to replace items. This type of quality information will give your staff members a history of O&M work performed on any given piece of equipment, which will help to expedite further maintenance services.
These records can take the form of a simple log book or detailed computerized records, depending on your organization’s needs and budget. Whatever form it takes, the energy log should include the following basic information:
– The Job and location
– Name of the person the job was assigned to
– Time required
– Date completed
– Any comments
All are important in determining your saving potential. The energy expert has more information to help you save a considerable amount of money.