How Masdar manages its FM
Buildings in the Masdar City meet some of the world’s most stringent energy codes, managing them comes with an equally responsible know-how
Cofely Besix Facility Management (CBFM) is responsible for carrying out the FM works at Masdar City which includes in excess of 30 buildings in the master community. CBFM won the contract to provide integrated facilities services 18 months ago and it has ever since worked on optimising the sustainable city’s energy usage.
Bart Holsters, Head of Energy Services at Cofely Besix Facility Management says: “We put in an ISO 50001 energy management system in place [at Masdar City] because it enables us to standardise everything with regards to energy management and with direct links to our CAFM system.
The ISO system guides us to controlling and monitoring the energy from one site, and also drives continuous improvement. We have managed to get extremely good results from energy efficiency improvements here at Masdar City, bearing in mind this city is already built on the highest sustainability standards on the planet.”
He adds until date, the CBFM has invested AED200,000 in the project. “We have also invested more than AED600,000 in specialised tooling and equipment to drive our programme,” Holsters says.
CBFM’s Rob White is the energy engineer at Masdar City and the Masdar Institute. He says that the client is well informed about energy efficiencies and “reducing the number of lamps in a fixture” does not qualify as a legitimate example of energy management. “They understand it requires a specialist approach and a world class standard of energy management. Masdar has made a conscious effort to work with us to deliver energy services alongside the FM agreement. This is good because 95% of our engineers and technicians’ work has a direct impact on energy consumption.”
Buildings within Masdar city are built to the best possible sustainable standards, LEED Gold/ESTIDAMA Three Pearl is considered the minimum standard. White says: “The technology is in place so obviously we have to come up with another approach to get savings and benefits. Our job is to ensure buildings are operated to optimum standards over a prolonged period of time, which is often the difficult part.”
Holsters also points out that savings achieved until date have come at no capital cost to the client. He explains: “We have achieved an average energy savings of 22% across multiple facilities by optimising existing systems and a rigorous operational control plan. We haven't invested in other technologies yet, or replaced any equipment, which is an achievement by itself.”
Masdar City is an all-inclusive master community with provisions to live, work and play. It is an example of how to build a city in an eco-friendly way, harnessing the elements of nature to power complex mechanical and electrical systems. Nonetheless, a few systems that technicians deal with on a day-to-day basis remain the same.Holsters explains: “You can compare, obviously, the MEP equipment which remains more or less the same. But what drives sustainability in Masdar City is the nature and interest of our client, who fully understands the importance of working in close partnership to achieve challenging energy efficiency goals. Over here energy management goes beyond a clause included in the contract. They know as much about energy management as we do, and we have stepped in to put it into practice.”
White sheds light on the process that CBFM follows to select its partners. “We follow the ‘best of breed’ approach, which means we identify what we can spend, and then find the best company within that budget to work with. For example, we haven't sourced our BMS system from a particular company, or any other systems for that matter. We have mass grouped systems to allow companies to throw a decent amount of innovation in the project. We have now applied this principle of customisation to other projects as well,” White says.
CBFM has more than 400 technicians, engineers and staff working on the Masdar City project. All of whom receive thorough training in ISO-certified energy management. The firm has also developed a stringent operational control plan which is updated based on critical feedback from the firm’s technicians. “There is decent feedback that goes into the operational plan and it’s always two-way communication,” White says.
Masdar City awarded the integrated FM contract to CBFM in 2016, and 18 months into the contract White gives an assessment of its challenges and achievements. “When we took over a few systems weren't optimised to their maximum potential and space use had changed over time. We invested time into getting a deep understanding of the systems operations before we could start implementing improvements — however the results show that it has been worthwhile.”
Looking at the future, Holsters says: “We would like to bring in innovation at the site and launch concepts such as 'Energy as a Service' (EaaS), bring in data acquisition software and start to drive BMS systems with our Machine Learning and AI technologies. The introduction of the new model will further align financial value creation with high environmental performance for our customers. The transformation towards a truly sustainable FM service has become a mainstream priority for us at CBFM. Energy management is no longer a simple matter of reputation, it will be a huge transformation which will positively impact on the entire industry.”