Are you aware of the upcoming infrastructure requirements in your facility? Using a comprehensive solutions development approach for facility improvements can allow you to identify all potential existing and near-term infrastructure needs in order to improve overall business performance.
To get started planning your comprehensive facility improvement, you will need a complete facility audit. A facility audit (or inventory) is an in-depth and complete review of a facility's assets. Facility audits help gather information about the components, policies, and procedures needed at your facility. It can also determine the "status" of the facility at a given time. Knowing how your various systems and components are operating is key to planning an accurate improvement plan.
A key objective of a facility audit is to measure the value of aging assets relative to the cost of replacement, along with the operating costs of the different systems within the building. By gathering this information first, a comprehensive facility improvement plan can be designed. This plan can focus on increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness at your facility while decreasing maintenance and OPEX costs into the future.
The comprehensive audit process should be led by an expert in facility operations and generally performed by individual experts for each functional system or component (i.e. mechanical contractor for HVAC, lighting expert, building envelope contractor, roofer). A total needs assessment is then composed of itemized investment and ROI data for each need requirement. This approach permits the decision-maker to evaluate each need and the financial impact on its own merit and prioritize them accordingly.
To understand the impact of these systems on the organization’s goals and performance, interviews with the facility occupants are conducted. This can further produce a broad statement of impact on opportunity costs such as productivity, health (absenteeism), and employee satisfaction (turnover). These statements can be factored into the financial analysis based upon actual impact or industry-accepted values. Additionally, this part of the analysis helps to prioritize the improvements and needs for the organization based upon a broader scope.
Prioritizing Facility Needs
To get the most out of any energy-efficient improvements across any facility type, it’s important to effectively prioritize your business needs. Use these criteria to help prioritize needs based on urgency or importance:
- Safety or comfort
- Existing failure
- Imminent failure leading to loss of use
- Importance to the building function and occupants
- Utility, operational, and maintenance costs
- Impact on peripheral systems
- Investment vs. ROI
Leveraging Solution Bundles
Once priorities are identified, the facility operation expert guides the development of the “solution bundle.” A solution bundle is a group of improvements that address the highest priority needs to maximize the number of improvements given while providing the maximum ROI within the established budget.
This is considered the "art of the science" and the value provided by the facility operation expert. Once the bundle is established, economies of scale can be developed, driving cost out of the implementation and resulting in a more attractive financial model. This also permits the creation of the implementation plan and the savings validation plan based on the IPMVP Protocol.
You may be wondering, what are the payment options for these improvements? Luckily, there are numerous ways to pay, including CAPEX or no cash upfront options. No cash upfront options consist of a capital lease (on the balance sheet), operating lease (off the balance sheet), multi-site leasing (bundle many facilities into one lease or energy program), efficiency as a service (EaaS), and an energy savings performance contract (ESPC). Each of these options provides its own value proposition to the client, and financing options should be presented in detail to show the pros and cons of each client's situation.
Adding Value With a Qualified Services Company
A qualified energy services company will bring savings opportunities to light, as well as identify appropriate technologies and renewable energy sources that will add value to the property. From additional building controls, energy conservation, and renewable energy sources your business will acquire savings and performance data to drive future successes.
Additional benefits can be achieved through the following services and technologies:
Networked Lighting Controls and Building Controls
Solar and Other Renewable Energy Sources
Networked Metering or Smart Metering
Each of these services and technologies can be leveraged with IoT-capable platforms for data analytics and AI-enabled optimization protocols.
Choosing the Right Partner
WESCO Energy Solutions (WES) is your partner for the best in energy-efficient offerings that will enhance your business performance and help you meet your current and future infrastructure requirements. Our full project management approach at WES has you covered – from overseeing the comprehensive audit process of all your current systems, designing your comprehensive facility plan, and mapping out an implementation schedule. At WES, we are committed to establishing long-term partnerships with our clients by providing a comprehensive customer experience that exceeds expectations from development to execution of your project and continues for the full life of your investment.
This article was developed as a joint effort by Todd Smith, Advanced Energy Solutions at WESCO Energy Solutions, and Tom Walther, Market Director of ESCO Solutions for WESCO Energy Solutions. Tom leads a team of professionals, supporting National and Regional ESCOs to deliver value-added solutions that complement the ESPC program. Tom has been in the commercial facilities maintenance, improvement, and energy efficiency industry for more than 30 years.