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Sustainable Building Maintenance Practices that Lower Your Bottom Line

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Laura Miller

Maintenance keeps equipment working and is an important factor in making a building more sustainable. But when maintenance is data-driven, it becomes even more powerful.

Sustainable building maintenance is critical for protecting the value of an asset. It helps keep building systems working efficiently, extends the useful life of equipment, and keeps buildings comfortable while cost-effectively managing operations. With a building management system (BMS) supported by IoT technologies and analytics, maintenance offers both sustainability and greater return on investment. 

Types of Maintenance

Several types of maintenance are necessary to create an overall building maintenance strategy. These include:

  • Corrective maintenance that involves repairing something that has broken. 
  • Scheduled or planned maintenance that is carried out regularly, such as changing an air filter in an HVAC system on a recommended schedule.
  • Preventive maintenance that is performed to keep equipment operational or extend its life, such as patching rooftops to prevent leaks. This includes predictive maintenance, which uses tools to collect and analyze data in order to identify possible defects before they result in system or equipment failure. 

A smart BMS assists with each of these. For example, it can issue reminders when scheduled maintenance should occur and keep track of previous vendors used for repairs. However, it is the data-driven preventive maintenance model where smart building systems particularly excel. 

What Is Sustainable Building Maintenance?

Building maintenance seeks to sustain the systems and equipment used within a built structure’s operations. Truly sustainable building maintenance, however, means much more. With the right strategy, maintenance becomes a meaningful way to reduce waste, achieve energy efficiency, and mitigate potential environmental issues

Sustainable building practices include: 

  • Using IoT devices and advanced analytics to continuously monitor and control systems.
  • Performing scheduled audits of energy usage to identify areas of potential improvement.
  • Testing smart sensors at control points regularly to keep energy efficiency at optimal levels.  
  • Reducing, reusing, and recycling materials to limit waste and keep it out of landfills. 
  • Replacing parts and equipment with more durable or efficient versions.
  • Training maintenance staff, facility managers, and tenants on protocols that minimize equipment and system failures.

Your strategy should be customized to meet the specific needs of your structure and locality.   

Using Big Data to Develop Sustainable Maintenance Practices

Modern smart technologies allow for detailed management and optimization of building systems remotely and at any time. This is achieved by adding analytics to your BMS, allowing for easy implementation of preventive maintenance strategies. 

By continuously collecting, organizing, and analyzing data from all connected systems, an advanced analytics platform identifies anomalies and inefficiencies and makes recommendations for corrective action. It also uses machine learning to predict future performance. With these insights, facility managers easily manage systems, first by enacting minor changes to optimize as needed, then scaling up sustainable maintenance practices as more data becomes available over time.  

Doing Away With Seasonal Maintenance

Historically, seasonal maintenance has been a core feature of building maintenance. However, these schedules were based on only a best guess of when issues would arise. If an issue emerged outside the schedule, it could go undetected until it becomes a major problem and requires costly repairs. 

Smart systems change this. 

When maintenance is guided by data, there is no need for arbitrary, time-based intervention. The data produced by building equipment offers great visibility into how that equipment is performing, eliminating the need for physical inspection and unnecessary intervention. With a system that alerts you only when problems occur, you avoid wasting resources on maintaining equipment that is already in perfect working order. You also gain the ability to take corrective action as soon as issues arise, long before they develop into catastrophic equipment failure, unexpected expenses, and occupant complaints. 

Eliminating Traditional Maintenance Plans

The traditional maintenance plans offered by service providers are interval-based, and the recommended intervals are extremely conservative. Callouts outside this schedule are considered emergencies and billed accordingly, inevitably costing more. Having data-driven, sustainable maintenance practices in place eliminates reliance on such plans. Instead, it becomes possible to perform maintenance only when needed and at a more predictable cost.

This fundamentally changes the relationship between building owners, facilities managers, and service providers. When you have real insight into how your building is functioning, you are empowered to make smart decisions about service contracts and manage costs more effectively. You are also able to verify fixes based on objective data to ensure you are achieving your sustainability goals and getting value for your money.

Buildings IOT Transforms Maintenance

Building IOT’s Jetstream allows building owners and facilities managers to achieve seamless integration of building systems, smart monitoring devices, and analytics software, enabling more agile responses to maintenance needs. The true centerpiece of this system, however, is onPoint. With onPoint, you gain a deeper understanding of how your building is performing in real time, reliable predictions of future performance, and the insights necessary to create a sustainable building maintenance plan. By harnessing your building’s data, onPoint allows you to streamline and optimize building maintenance for meaningful cost savings and a greener future. 

Buildings IOT offers state-of-the-art solutions for sustainable building maintenance. Contact our team of experts to learn more about what we can do for you.

 

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