Even before COVID-19, those in facility management had a tough job. They work hard to ensure systems are efficient, exceed life-cycle expectations, maintain low budgets, and keep everything running. At the same time, they want to make sure the healthcare facilities can keep their moneymaking operations online without worrying whether building systems are going to break down. COVID complicated everything.
Here are 4 expert engineering tips on how to tighten your belt without suffocating your systems.
#1 Tip: How to know if you can add more isolation rooms
It’s hard to know what systems have additional capacity without a Facility Condition Assessment. It would be prudent to evaluate existing assets to determine conditions and capabilities. For example, if an exhaust fan is operating at 50%, it may possibly serve more rooms if its condition is known and necessary repairs/upgrades are identified and performed.
#2 Tip: How to keep systems running and save money at the same time
It’s tough to improve efficiency without impacting operations, but not impossible. A quick solution is to make sure your systems are properly balanced. Also, make sure preventative maintenance is on, or ahead of schedule (this includes filter cleaning, coils, fans, belts, lubricants, etc). A really practical solution would be to perform an Energy Audit. This would give you a succinct baseline of which equipment is not running at peak efficiencies and help provide solutions to accomplish your energy-saving goals. There are many financial incentives for energy savings provided by utility companies and federal agencies you can explore at www.dsireusa.org.
#3 Tip: How to stretch resources made thin by COVID
In trying to improve indoor air quality, maybe you ramped up your HVAC system which increased energy costs. A proactive facility management tip would be hiring someone test the equipment and controls to ensure they are operating as efficiently as possible. If you need a professional to perform this service, think about Existing Building Commissioning. A competent Commissioning Agent will perform an analysis of the system to verify system capacity and controls capabilities and can provide recommendations for repairs of programming changes to maximize performance.
#4 Tip: How to monitor the negative pressure spaces
A temporary solution would be to add point-of-use temperature and pressure sensors to your systems. Or semi-permanent sensors could be affixed to the wall for testing and evaluation and tracked manually with an iPad that pulls in the data. This data could be rolled up to a dashboard in the Building Automation System (BAS) for the spaces that require critical monitoring. If the facility doesn’t have the resources available, consider a pro-tip for facility management which is integrating your facility data into a dashboard that would provide monitoring and customized individual control so you have an accurate and up-to-date view of the critical spaces.
COVID has forced Facility Managers to tighten their belts while also providing higher indoor air quality across the country. Synergy is able to come alongside you with any of the above suggestions. Our goal is to help you find easy ways to increase efficiency in your systems and give you more peace of mind that you’re helping to keep the facility, and its employees and clients, safe.