Broken buildings and the power of people

By Switch Automation • January 12, 2018

Ever heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child? Well, it takes one to manage a building too. Each one is unique, from its use to its occupants and its systems to its operators. In this first post of our three-part series, we examine broken buildings and the power of people who manage them. 

Those tasked with managing facilities are often unsung heroes who spend their days preventing catastrophes, saving money, fulfilling tenant requests and ensuring that large portfolios operate smoothly. Whether you’re the onsite facilities technician, regional energy manager, director of sustainability or CEO, chances are you juggle a plethora of building challenges. Perhaps it’s fielding space temperature complaints. Or maybe you’re managing excessive utility bills.  You might be planning the next big CapEx project. Whatever your role, you have your hands full. 

Here’s the good news: You have the power to make a significant impact. Consider these statistics:

The Impacts 

Buildings significantly impact our lives in a multitude of ways, and that’s exactly why it’s important for them to be well run (more on this in our upcoming blog, “Broken buildings and the hierarchy of needs“). A successfully operating building contributes to: 

  • Lower operational costs 
  • Reduced capital expenditures 
  • Occupant health & wellness 
  • Tenant retention 
  • Increased revenue and commerce 
  • Energy efficiency 
  • Environmental stewardship

The Challenges 

When it comes to broken buildings and the power of people, your access to data and systems varies based on your relationship to buildings. And your role comes with its own unique set of challenges. For example: 

Commercial Landlords

You care about your tenants’ satisfaction, but the many disconnected, on-site, legacy building automation systems (BAS) make it difficult to proactively manage service issues. You need a single, easy-to-use solution that highlights potential problems BEFORE your tenants notice.

Commercial & Corporate Tenants 

You’re paying for operational expenses, but since you don’t have access to the building management system (BMS), you have no way to control your environment, costs or performance. You need a hardware-agnostic solution that connects all your data and systems to help achieve your unique corporate objectives. 

Vendors and other building professionals 

You manage remote assets but have no access to the data. You need a solution that extracts real-time data from hardware in remote locations and delivers it right to your desktop. 

Operations & facility managers

You are responsible for managing HVAC, security, lighting and other key systems. You’re expected to drive operating costs down while adopting innovative technologies and approaches. Whether you’re the Facility, Building or Portfolio Manager, you need an enterprise-grade centralized command and control center.  

Senior leaders 

You’re tasked with driving costs down across the enterprise, including those from real estate. You’re expected to drive technological transformations that will better the business for customers, employees and shareholders. You need visibility into performance data so you can make strategic, data-based decisions on investments, performance and people. 

Energy & sustainability professionals 

You’re challenged with reducing energy costs and improving sustainability performance. With Energy Star, LEED, Carbon Disclosure Project, NGERS, NABERS, GRESB and the WELL Building Standard requirements, you handle everything from complex reporting to creating energy efficiency programs. You need an enterprise operations platform to effectively and efficiently manage this landscape. 

The Industries

Every industry utilizes its buildings differently. Specific use cases dictate how resources are managed and applied when it comes to broken buildings and the power of people. Consider these examples: 

CRE 

There’s a wealth of data in commercial buildings, and most of it is siloed and underutilized.

In an industry driven by tenant preferences, Commercial Real Estate (CRE) companies are searching for new ways to build brand equity and boost net operating income (NOI).

Retail 

The retail industry is undergoing a massive shakeup. With the rise of e-commerce and omnichannel shopping, retailers must find new ways to cut costs and drive value through their brick-and-mortar stores.

You need an Internet of Things (IoT) integration and analytics to create connected, smart stores that improve retail performance, streamline vendor management and identify cost and time-saving opportunities. 

Financial Services

The status quo of decentralized bank facilities management causes hidden inefficiencies and inconsistent operations.

Whether you manage a network of bank branches, a portfolio of office buildings or both, you want remote insight, analytics and automated control systems to drive bank facility optimization with a single user interface.  

Grocery 

With razor-thin margins, the growth of e-commerce, and shifting consumer trends, brick-and-mortar grocery companies must find innovative ways to cut operating costs and boost sales.  

A single grocery store spends about $4 per square foot on energy, adding up to 15% of overall operating costs, so energy efficiency measures are a key piece of the puzzle. Typical energy management systems (EMS) and siloed smart devices can only get you so far. You need a comprehensive solution that helps you manage all your stores remotely and resolve time-sensitive issues before they dent your bottom line. 

Broken buildings and the power of people

When it comes to broken buildings and the power of people, operations teams hold the keys to success. It’s important to empower your organization to succeed with best-fit tools and technology for your unique business needs. Speaking of needs, we’ll talk about those in more detail in our upcoming blog, “Broken buildings and the hierarchy of needs.”  

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