Five Steps to Achieve Your Facility’s New Year Resolution

It’s never too late to work on your New Year’s resolutions! Today, we’re going look at how you can determine your facility’s resolution and make 2020 a year of success.

Step 1: Identify what your facility is trying to change. We all have the best intentions, but it’s important to articulate a specific goal that is measurable and can be achieved within a certain time period.  Attaching a metric to a goal is key for staying on track for success. There are many variables that can be used to measure facility performance. It’s important to narrow your focus and select key metrics that matter most this year.

For example, one of the most common metrics for building energy performance is Site EUI. When major changes are implemented, like controls modifications or equipment upgrades, you will likely see the results in the EUI. This puts you in the driver’s seat to affect positive change. Other examples of key metrics could be: cost per square foot, equipment up-time or availability, number of occupant complaints, square foot per FTE, or number of work orders addressed.

Step 2: Establish a baseline. Before you launch new initiatives, reflect on your facility’s performance and get an accurate understanding of your current state and challenges. Always gather a full year of information, whether it’s a calendar year or fiscal year, so that you can see how your facility operates during each season. Compare your data and identify what has changed during that year.

Ask yourself:

  • Has the campus’ square footage changed?
  • Are any recent changes impacting energy consumption?
  • Are there any expansions planned during this upcoming year?

The answers to these questions will impact your metrics and need to be considered as you’re setting goals.

Next, collect and compile data for all of the major items you want to track. Utility bills, CMMS data, and your O&M budget are all great places to start with data collection. It’s important to establish one key place for this information to live. This may be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or as complex as a real-time analytics dashboard. Adapt this process to your needs to make sure your baselines are accurate and work for what you want to achieve.

Step 3: Make those changes! Much like in our personal lives, there isn’t one resolution that fits every facility.  Once you understand your recurring challenges and the metrics you want to impact, then you can develop a strategy to solve them. Your strategy will be unique to your facility, your staff, and your budget. Some examples include controls upgrades, equipment replacements, or specialized staff training. The building automation system is one place to check for “low-hanging fruit” changes that you can implement like room ventilation schedules or energy-saving sequences of operation.

If you need help identifying energy savings measures, Bernhard can help identify areas that need improvement and what savings you can expect from your upgrades.

Step 4: Measure your progress. Regular measurement and verification of your metrics is key to make sure the changes you implement are bringing you closer to your facility’s goal. There are different methods for measuring savings and tools of all kinds to help you.

  • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an easy way to get normalized data that factors in weather conditions or days in the month along with your energy consumption. After uploading your information, the site will calculate a score that indicates your performance compared to your peers.
  • Third party consultants to provide measurement and verification reporting that is tailored to your facility and project.
  • The International Performance Measurement & Verification Protocol (IPMVP) provides parameters for facilities to quantify their savings depending on the project complexity and expected savings.
  • Track savings on your own using the same types of data you’ve already collected in this process.

The frequency of your reporting is another consideration when measuring energy savings. Annual, monthly, and daily reporting all have their own benefits, so choose the method that best supports the business case for your initiatives.

  • Annual reporting provides a long-term look and year-over-year comparisons to the baseline.
  • Monthly reporting is a financial tool that can validate your changes by looking at actual consumption as shown on utility invoices. It gives you time to adapt strategies and make sure the facility is making progress.
  • Daily reporting is an operational tool that looks at what is happening now and answers the question: “Did the choices we made yesterday help performance today?”

Always be sure that key facility metrics, like gross square footage, FTEs, are correct because these numbers can skew the accuracy of your results. You’ll also want to normalize data over long periods of time to account for fluctuations like extra days in a month or unusual weather patterns.

Step 5: Celebrate your wins and lessons learned! Keep your team informed by sharing your results and lessons learned. You can use reports and progress of key metrics to give your team and leadership hands-on feedback on the facility’s performance. By openly discussing what works and what doesn’t, you can continue to try new strategies to optimize operations and move the needle of building performance.

Want more?
To learn more about measurement and verification options and other ways Bernhard can help with energy optimization at your facility, you can reach us at