Cost Savings Ideas for Reducing Maintenance and Operating Costs
Due to the ongoing crisis we are experiencing, cost reduction initiatives are sweeping all industries. To provide some useful information for the coming months, our team compiled a list of our top 20 cost saving ideas for facility management. The global pandemic has had a drastic impact on building operations and building maintenance, and many are left wondering how to make ends meet. This list contains strategies for reducing maintenance costs, increasing your facility management energy efficiency, and reducing operating costs as a whole!
Top Cost Savings Ideas for Facility Management
1) Think long term.
Our first facility management strategy for reducing operating costs requires long-term thinking. Facility management professionals should view each of their decisions as an investment for the future. When comparing your options, make sure to consider the long-term ROI (return on investment) of implementing whatever decision you come to.
Consider this: You have 10 pieces of production equipment, each running 15 hours per day. Historically your equipment is down 5 percent. When the equipment is down, it costs you $100 per hour (cost of the downtime per hour).
Let’s say the cost of a management software is $5,000/year. Using this data, if you can reduce downtime from 5 percent down to 4.5 percent — a reduction of only 10 percent from current downtime levels — the ROI after one year is $22,375. That is profit over the cost of the software. If you could cut your downtime daily to 3.75 percent, the cost savings would be $63,438 per year.1
2) Seek continuous improvement.
If you are serious about reducing operating costs in your facilities, then you should be consistent in your efforts. Implementing cost saving ideas and strategies to reduce maintenance costs often requires continuous process improvements and new research. This can be a daunting task, but the payout can be immense in the long term. Make sure to develop a plan, set key metrics, and follow through to execution. This process can be simplified by splitting up your activities into smaller tasks and projects.
3) Take a look at your indoor air quality (IAQ)… it could save you thousands.
Indoor air quality has become a growing concern over the years for facility management and their occupants. Long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality has been shown to increase risk of respiratory illness, heart disease, and even death.
In additional, poor indoor air quality can have a negative facility management efficiency.
Monitoring and optimizing your IAQ is not only being responsible to your tenants, customers, and workers, but can mean thousands of dollars in energy savings each year. One west coast university we worked with saved $7,000.00 in their athletic facility alone by taking control of their indoor air.
Strategies for Reducing Maintenance Costs
Understanding how to reduce building maintenance costs can lead to significant facility management costs savings. Building maintenance is a large part of any facility management professionals daily operations, which means that there is significant room to put cost-reducing strategies in place to helping bring down your overall expenses. This list of cost savings ideas for facility management is sure to help you reduce maintenance costs within your buildings.
4) Create replicable maintenance procedures (and cut unnecessary ones).
One way to reduce your labor costs is by simplifying your maintenance protocol. Creating standard, replicable processes internally for each stage in your operation will not only reduce facility management efforts but could significantly reduce labor hours needed.
5) Utilize a preventive maintenance plan (PMP) for operating efficiency.
Implementing a preventive maintenance plan has been proven to:
- Reduce maintenance costs and machine failures
- Decrease downtime for repairs
- Increase service life of parts
- Increase production
- Improve operator safety
- Raise your company’s bottom line
You can use a predictive analytics platform like qlair to analyze and monitor the data associated with your HVAC system. This will ensure the efficiency of your heating, cooling, and air conditioning efforts throughout your facilities.
6) Implement an occupancy-based ventilation schedule.
Gone are the days of the “set it and forget it” mentality. The data is clear, and the value is immense—occupancy-based ventilation is a viable solution to cutting unnecessary energy expenditure. This was illustrated when a local casino used our predictive analytics to discover times of the day where ventilation could be reduced. We wrote a case study about it here.
7) Implement software to make your job easier, and more productive.
There is various facility management software out there, but how do you know what to choose? Using a CMMS is a good place to start but adding a Building Automation System (BAS) is where you will see the most bang for your buck. These highly intelligent systems have API integration options that will truly make your easier as a facility management professional. Qlair easily connects to your Building Automation System to track and monitor your indoor environment and HVAC performance.
8) Retrofit existing building systems.
Retrofitting often involves modifications to existing commercial buildings that may improve energy efficiency or decrease energy demand. Energy-efficiency retrofits can reduce the operational costs, particularly in older buildings, as well as help to attract tenants and gain a market edge.
9) Utilize an IoT-enabled monitoring system with your CMMS.
If you are using a building system to report changes after implementing energy savings initiatives, then your equipment needs to be audited regularly to make sure that the equipment is not overworking itself.
This is critical to categories of equipment like HVAC. Auditing set points daily through a remote monitoring platform allows you to automatically reset your equipment set points. This ensures your HVAC is running at the correct temperature. You can also use qlair to track and monitor the efficiency of your HVAC.
Ideas for Facility Management Energy Efficiency
10) View energy efficiency as an investment strategy.
Over 50 percent of managers and business leaders in mid-to large-sized commercial facilities view energy efficiency as a proven operating and investment strategy, according to dnvgl.com.
Over 80 percent of those who have taken steps to save energy reported at least one positive business benefit, such as lower operating costs or higher worker productivity.
11) Analyze your current energy consumption.
Know how much your spending where and when now, so that you can plan and adjust for the future.
12) Itemize your building’s energy usage.
It is crucial that you know exactly where your energy consumption is coming from in order to find areas to optimize.
13) Seek out stable, long-term energy costs.
If you have control over which energy provider your facility uses, make sure to do your due diligence when researching potential options. The differences may seem minuscule, but over time these can add up to large cost savings for your facilities.
14) Upgrade your lighting, yesterday.
Upgrading to LED light bulbs is a no-brainer. These highly efficient light bulbs have been shown to use at least 75% less energy, and last up to 25x longer, than incandescent lighting.
These light bulbs have such an impact on energy in your facilities that energy.gov states:
“Widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.”
15) Pool the costs of multiple facilities together.
If you manage several (or more than one) facilities, it may be in your best interest to leverage economies of scale to cut back on operating costs. If you send out multiple facilities to bid each year, you are likely to achieve the best prices for things like electrical, mechanical, maintenance and more.
16) Use variable frequency drive on your equipment.
Utilizing a variable frequency drive (VFD) is a good way to realize significant savings by operating equipment motors more efficiently. VFDs are motor controllers that varies the frequency and voltage supplied to an electric motor.
17) Monitor your HVAC system very, very carefully.
Replacing an HVAC system for a large facility can mean tens of thousands of dollars in operating costs. It is arguably one of the most expensive pieces of equipment that you will manage in your buildings, so it is important to treat it as such. It is recommended that you set up continuous monitoring of this asset using a BAS and IoT remote monitoring device.
Additional Cost Saving Best Practices
18) Seal up your ducts.
Sealing and insulating your air ducts can reduce up to 20% of a cooling system’s energy consumption.
19) Train your employees and technicians correctly.
Structure your maintenance processes in a manner that will lead to a streamlined and efficient operation. In addition, make sure you train your employees are trained properly to avoid repetitive maintenance.
20) Ensure safe work practices.
This just makes sense. If your technicians and maintenance workers are handling their tasks with care and caution, they are much less likely to hurt themselves or the machine. Both of which can be very costly.
These are proven facility management strategies to reduce operating costs, and can be implemented to save on energy, labor, and material costs.
At qlair, we strive to do all three of these while improving the health and comfort of your indoor environment. If you have any questions, please reach out to us here.