Business Case: Enhanced Operations and Maintenance


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Investment in effective operation and maintenance (O&M) is the most economical way to achieve reliability, safety, comfort, and energy efficiency in your buildings. Energy wasted from common problems such as air and water leaks, poorly adjusted controls, running equipment when not needed, and manual overrides of automatic control can substantially increase your energy bill. The good news is that an O&M program focused on operating performance can fix these problems at low cost with long-lasting benefits.

What is the Best Way to Spend Your Money?

To cut energy costs, most building owners first look for cost-effective equipment upgrades such as lighting retrofits, variable-speed drives, higher efficiency cooling, or advanced controls. These can be attractive investments with paybacks of 3-10 years. But capital upgrades may not be the best way to spend a limited budget.

Consider O&M Improvements First

Some of the advantages of O&M measures are:

  • Fixes are low-cost or even no-cost
  • Many can be implemented by in-house staff
  • Payback periods of 0-18 months are typical
  • Unbudgeted costs from early equipment failure can be avoided
  • Increased system capacity may help avoid the need for new or added equipment

What are the Main Components of Better Building Operating Performance?

The BetterBricks approach looks at two main components of improved operating performance: Enhanced O&M and Building Tune-Up.

Enhanced O&M is routine actions and practices that improve the operation of building systems and sustain performance over time. This could include:

  • Tracking building energy use
  • Adjusting operations and performing preventive maintenance
  • Improving documentation
  • Monitoring key indicators of equipment and system performance

Building Tune-Up is a periodic process intended to fix problems and to identify the most cost-effective operational improvements. This could include:

  • Systematically diagnosing and repairing problems
  • Optimizing controls
  • Scheduling equipment
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