Green Software: The world's best friend
FMs will soon start to feel the heat of sustainability pressures
Causeway’s James Atkinson says FMs will soon start to feel the heat of sustainability pressures
Sustainability is the name of the game for the Middle East, a game that FMs are central to. Causeway, IT supplier for the construction industry recently announced the launch of an FM arm, alongside which it launched its set of support services software for the Middle East, aimed at assisting FM service providers, maintenance contractors and sustainability managers with their day-to-day operational roles.
With the Middle East holding the reputation for the worse carbon emissions record, the race is on to improve. In 2010, the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait all signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions.
More recently, the Dubai Centre of Excellence revealed plans to offset 5 million tonnes of carbon each year. However, water consumption, waste management, transportation and many other factors are also coming to light, explains Causeway’s James Atkinson, executive vice president for sales and marketing.
“All of which means there is more pressure on building operators to manage these key sustainability metrics. Much of the responsibility will fall on the facility management department, as so much FM information impacts on sustainability.”
Causeway’s software services comprise the FM Facts facilities management suite, the Vixen maintenance management package and the Sustainability iQ sustainability management system.
“Facilities management is becoming increasingly sophisticated in the Middle East, and making a more significant contribution to corporate performance.”
But it’s sustainability that Causeway has the hope to really drive forward in the industry. While at the board level, the goal is to drive down costs and consumption in line with sustainability, it is actually at the FM level where the pressure really falls.
“Facilities and estates managers are expected to deliver on those aspirations. Clearly this is good for the FM department’s status within the organisation but it also presents a number of practical challenges. These include an increased workload, often without extra resources, as well as the need to source, gather and analyse huge volumes of data,” says Atkinson.
“A sustainability management system needs to be able to gather information from internal areas and departments within the business, including CAFM systems, as well as from the external supply chain. It must also be able to analyse that information in real time; something that takes a significant chunk of time to do manually.”
The product launched by Causeway is intended to import data from a wide range of sources, including FM software, supply chain partners’ systems and from spreadsheets – with the ability to input data directly into the system as well. Following validation, evaluation and reporting it should also maintain a full audit trail of origins and any changes.
“Historically, many organisations have shied away from gathering and analysing sustainability data because it is time and resource intensive, he says.
Time, cost and moral benefits
“Software company Sage was also spending a great deal of time and resources collating sustainability data from a wide range of sources and in many different formats before using Sustainability iQ. Now the company needs just two people to measure sustainability relating to 2,500 people in 24 buildings across the UK,” says Atkinson.
Understanding energy consumption at a granular - and more useful- level requires more detailed data, which in turn means much more information to gather and manage.
Furthermore, that information will often reside in many different places. Some may be in internal systems, some may be gathered by maintenance contractors. A large organisation may even have different maintenance contractors working on different buildings.
In parallel, the consumption data may need to be combined with information from other sources. Obvious examples include carbon emissions from vehicle fleets to calculate carbon footprint, or HR data to understand energy consumption, per head, of staff.
Machine over man
An organisation relies on various people remembering to submit the data, which ultimately could lead to data omission and a lot of time spent chasing that data.
Energy consumption provides a good example of how a sustainability management system can play a key role in understanding sustainability performance – which is the first stage in managing it more effectively.
When a team member books his/her travel arrangements, the carbon footprint of that journey can instantly be measured and thus alternative travel options explored. This also helps with the calculation of how much the energy consumption has changed in a building and can monitor and detect unexpected rises in energy usage.
In addition, while automatic meter readings were traditionally fine for measuring bulk consumption, they wouldn’t break that down for you to see how much of the consumption was a result of ligting or AC.
But it’s not just the moral benefit one gains from such a software. Accurate data on energy and waste cost can identify where businesses can save on their bottom line.
“Whether energy or another sustainability metric, if you can’t measure it, you can’t gain a clear understanding of how it can be improved.
As the issue of sustainability begins to impact on building operators in the Middle East this is the ideal time to implement the right processes, backed by a software system that delivers complete control,” concludes Atkinson.