Category Archives: Green Roofing

Top Priorities For Facilities Managers

Being a facilities manager (FM) is one of the most difficult jobs in any company. The reason for this is that the job is particularly wide-ranging, and encompasses everything from asset management and pest control to safety and security. Fortunately, FMs specialize in prioritizing, with the emphasis on energy management, health and safety, maintenance, new technologies, interiors and workspaces, and security.

Maintenance

There are different types of maintenance of which a FM should be aware, but the two that are most likely to take up his or her time are predictive (or planned) maintenance and reactive maintenance. Most FMs try to spend more time on predictive maintenance, although the reactive type sometimes unexpectedly diverts their resources. Predictive maintenance entails scheduling tasks, including repainting, roofing, paving walkways and other structural work, while reactive refers to taking immediate action because, for instance, a car damages a wall, requiring emergency maintenance. Ideally, FMs aim to deal only with predictive maintenance, but because some disasters can’t be predicted, they should also have a budget and a plan for reactive maintenance. Sela is always here to help you with planned and unplanned maintenance.

 

Energy Management

The world is becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, and this attitude directly affects most companies’ sustainability policies. If a firm doesn’t have a dedicated sustainability manager, energy management often becomes the FM’s responsibility. The energy-sapping ‘culprits’ are usually obvious: lights left on at all times of the day and night, even if the building is unoccupied; air conditioning or heating set too high; computers and other office equipment absorbing power, even when they’re not needed; or tap water being unnecessarily boiled.

 

Health and Safety

A company’s health and safety policies are usually the domain of the FM, unless the firm has a dedicated health and safety officer. Although many people deride health and safety regulations because they sometimes appear to be too stringent, there’s no doubt that when health and safety becomes an issue, a company’s FM department can find itself in deep trouble. FMs need to ensure they’re continually abreast of the latest health and safety legislation, and that they do everything possible to ensure building occupants and visitors adhere to the regulations.

 

New Technologies

Few employees embrace innovative new technologies as eagerly as FMs. The reason for this is that they, more than many of their colleagues, are acutely aware of the possibilities offered by technologies such as asset management programs, building management systems, and wireless monitoring products. There’s no doubt that in a fast-changing world, early adopters of innovative technologies have an immediate advantage over their competitors. But there’s also a more practical consideration behind many FMs’ interest in new technologies: products that can save energy, such as wireless utility monitoring, can have an immediate impact on the amount of money a FM can save his or her company.

 

Interiors and Workspaces

An often underestimated part of a FM’s job is his or her responsibility for the inside of the offices, including the décor and furniture. In some companies, the FM can play a direct role in the wellbeing of staff by ensuring the décor contributes to a more productive office environment. Acoustics is important, and can be installed on an ‘ABC system’ — the absorbing, blocking or covering of noise. It’s been discovered, for instance, that while normal ceiling tiles in a building absorb less than 30% of noise, other types of tiles can absorb as much as 95%. So-called ‘soft walls’ also absorb echoes. Space planning is another important part of effective workspaces, particularly if the FM is able to demarcate areas such as meeting rooms.

 

Security

A FM may be cognizant of all the aforementioned priorities, but if he or she overlooks building security, then all their efforts will be for nothing. Most FMs know they can’t afford to ignore security, even if the area in which the building is situated is regarded as safe from crime. One element of security is man-guarding — ensuring there are security personnel to monitor access into and out of the building. Fortunately, FMs today have plenty of technological assistance in the form of CCTV cameras and sophisticated access control barrier systems. CCTV cameras can operate independently of local power systems and produce far sharper images than they could in the past. There are additional benefits to CCTV, such as the ability to link back to automated fire-alarms, and as evidence-recorders when a company is forced to disprove false claims.

Will Minneapolis Force Commercial Buildings Green?

In a report in the Star Tribune today, city leaders in Minneapolis are thing about forcing commercial building to receive a public “green” rating for their energy efficiency. The proposed ordinance would require all commercial buildings with more than 50,000 square feet to submit their utility usage and other information to Energy Star, the national program that calculates energy use. The city would then publish a 1 -100 rating in hopes of getting owners and tenants to cut their energy consumption.

We are all for going green, but is this the best way to do it?

 

From the StarTribune.com:

The local building owners association warns this could have detrimental effects on the marketplace, pinning low scores on buildings whose owners may lack the funds to retrofit or have tenants with high energy demands.

Kevin Lewis, executive director of the Greater Minneapolis Building Owners and Managers Association, said requiring disclosure means “it’s not a level playing field anymore.”

City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, who authored the change, said the proposal falls in line with the city’s pledge to reduce its overall emissions. The city’s target is to cut greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent from 2006 levels by 2015. She said there would also be opportunities for job creation.

“We know when you’re working on buildings and doing energy-efficient improvements — very nuts-and-bolts kind of work — that is green jobs,” Glidden said.

Green Roofing Trends for 2012

The folks over at GreenRoofs.com put together a great list of the top trends in green roofing for this year. We think our favorite highlight of the year is Chicago’s green initiatives!

So without further ado, here is the top ten trends!

The Greenroofs.com Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design for 2012:

10) Client Specific “Boutique” Greenroofs
9) Green Museums: Art Living Inside & Out
8 ) Educational Facilities as Green Living Laboratories
7) Upward Spirals of Green
6) Hospitals Healing through Living Architecture
5) Gardens in the Clouds: Stacking & Stepping with Vegetation
4) Sky Farms on the (High)Rise
3) Singapore: A City within a Sky Garden
2) Green Elevated Walks: Bridges, Railways & Promenades
1) Chicago’s Trend-Setting Style: A “Miracle Mile High” City of Plants & Leadership

Read more here.