Routine Maintenance’s Role in Energy Efficiency
Save more energy with better maintenance: 4 proven strategies
You may be considering or already recently have invested in energy-saving solutions like LED lighting because sustainability is important to you and your company. But in order for your company’s facilities to run efficiently, all of your systems need to function properly, which requires regular maintenance.
Routine Maintenance’s Role in Energy Efficiency
For a large companies with many areas to manage, employees play a huge role in observing and providing feedback on lighting, equipment or other systems that might need attention. Facility managers and their staff oversee many large systems — electrical, HVAC, plumbing and more — and the more people who monitor and perform preventative or routine maintenance, the more costly replacements can be avoided if issues are reported and maintained early.
However, numerous on-site employees keeping track of each system are not always realistic for every company. In addition to diligent staff, here are four additional building maintenance strategies that will help keep your systems up and running and saving you time, cost and energy.
1. Establish an Electrical Preventative Monitoring (EPM) program
If you’re looking to save energy with modern electrical features like LED lighting and smart fixtures, you should optimize those items with consistent monitoring.
Though this may sound like another daunting task to add to the facility manager’s to-do list, EPM can be accomplished easily and efficiently by creating a simple routine that involves checking each system’s data on a daily or weekly basis. This way, one staff member can easily review the performance of a facility’s electrical systems—before any element begins to fail.
The article goes on: “By keeping a record of all maintenance and repair activities, facility managers can analyze trending data and better predict when a fault may arise.”
With an effective EPM program, data is a facility manager’s most powerful weapon against systems failure, and helpful ally in preventative maintenance.
2. Invest in an efficient, digital management system
This is another example in which data can increase efficiency in a maintenance program. Many organizations keep digital records of the performance of electrical and other systems, other information should also be digitized for teams so that they may more quickly and easily attend to systems issues with the most up-to-date data, tools, and equipment on hand.
In an article by Nathan Eichelberger in Facility Executive, the writer argues that maintaining updated information in the cloud—and not on paper or in large servers at workstations, as is traditionally done—is the only way to ensure that comprehensive, reliable information about equipment and repairs is always at your facility manager’s fingertips.
“By having the information well organized in the cloud, the ever-changing engineering information can be accessed simply and securely,” writes Eichelberger. “This is done by linking a CMMS system with the software for engineering schematics, sometimes known as Engineering Information Management (EIM). In doing so, no matter how much or how often the engineering information changes, maintenance will always have access to the latest, most accurate information…”
So instead of fumbling through mountains of paperwork to access the latest update to your LED lighting system to make a simple repair, with cloud-stored information, your facilities manager will be able to easily decrease maintenance time.
3. Consider Human Machine Interface (HMI) for real-time information
At this point in the article, you have likely already committed to an EPM program and an information-storing system in the cloud to increase the efficiency of your maintenance program. But how can facility managers take maintenance one step further, increasing energy efficiency by further greasing the wheels of an already-top notch maintenance plan?
With real-time monitoring from a human machine interface (HMI), facilities managers can have access to systems information at all times. HMI’s make it more efficient for operators and maintenance personnel to easily understand issues, and thus spend less time on maintenance – because they have data to point out what part of the machine isn’t working properly.
The thought process here is a simple but effective one: decrease time when deciphering the systems issue, and the facilities manager is that much closer to addressing the problem. This way, emergencies are quickly addressed, and even better, future issues can easily be avoided.
4. Know that reactive maintenance is not the best solution
Think of your facilities like a human body in need of care. Which would you prefer: a routine visit to the family doctor, or a midnight trip to the emergency room? Just like people, your facilities operate more efficiently and in better health when preventative maintenance is the core strategy.
In an article in Facility Executive, Hugues Meyrath notes that “According to a Schneider Electric report, 55% of the building owners and operators in the United States rely on reactive maintenance programs, the most expensive kind, to care for their equipment.”
Expenses that fall into the reactive category are off-hours and emergency visits, expensive parts, and additional, unplanned labor costs. With a routine maintenance plan that involves EPM, digital information management and HMIs, your facilities are that much closer to peak performance and optimal energy savings.
How can EarthTronics & LED Lighting Energy Efficiency Programs?
We continue to improve the design of our LED Fixtures by adding the ability to easily install sensors and other monitoring accessories. Our LED Lamps are a proven way to easily improve energy usage, including many of the “plug and play” linear LED bulbs we offer.
The bottom line is that lighting of a facility is a larger part of the energy consumption and operations budget for businesses of all sizes. We’re committed to manufacturing innovative and energy efficient LED lighting solutions for new construction, retrofits and the like.
Learn more about our products throughout our website or contact us for more information.