Energy Management and Lighting, Heating and Cooling, Maintenance and Operations

The 5 Aspects of Facility Energy Management

It is important for facilities professionals to learn not only how to manage energy but also how to incorporate conservation and sustainability into their facilities.

James Myers, P.E., ProFM, principal of Myers Services, recently gave a webinar on the “5 Aspects of Energy Management,” sponsored by Avetta and ABM, for Facilities Management Advisor. He has more than 40 years of experience in energy, facility management and infrastructure, engineering, education, and business and was the director of the Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute, where he developed and implemented programs to reduce energy use and cost and increase sustainability.

According to Myers, the five aspects of energy management are the following:

1. System Costs

These are not just initial costs but also the life-cycle costs of a facility’s assets, such as electrical and water systems.

Stages of life-cycle costs include:

  • Plan and design
  • Construction
  • Renewal, operations, and maintenance (including repair and energy costs)
  • Refinement and disposal

Myers described the 1-10-100 rule, which states that “1 is the initial cost of the facility or asset, 10 is the cost to maintain and run that during its lifetime, and 100 is the cost of the programs in that facility,” adding that costs between the three types could vary, but the initial cost is usually the smallest of the three.

2. Maintenance Costs

These costs allow for the safe, reliable, and efficient operation of a facility’s assets and include cleaning and checking various components such as those found in a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.  

Types of maintenance include:

  • Reactive maintenance: Run it until it breaks.
  • Preventive maintenance: This is scheduled maintenance to sustain or extend the useful life. An example is changing the oil of a car at regular intervals.
  • Predictive maintenance: This detects the beginning of degradation so it can be fixed before significant damage occurs.

3. System Controls

Today’s system controls include controlling, monitoring, analyzing, and reporting capabilities inside automated building systems and collect energy measurement data that can be viewed on a smart device and a smartphone.

“This is the piece that usually comes to mind when someone says energy management. It’s certainly part of the equation but not necessarily all of it,” Myers said.

Some of the largest capabilities of control systems include:

  • Integration and optimization of HVAC, lighting, fire, and security systems paired with alarms and notifications;
  • Load-shedding strategies that could be driven by facility occupancy, demand, and schedules; and
  • Data collection and analytics with graphic user interfaces (GUIs).

Some of the largest challenges with these systems include cost, complexity, personnel, and the replacement of older systems that can no longer be updated.

4. Procurement

This is the supply side of energy. Procurement matches energy-purchasing strategies with the physical systems in the facility. Businesses can shop long-term agreements for natural gas and/or electric markets where it is permitted, or they can visit Electric Choice to compare rates, plans, and providers. Shopping helps to reduce future costs using the facility’s historic energy management data.


  • Electric: Shop for generation and transmission through a supplier.
  • Natural gas: Shop for production (from the well) and transportation (from the hub).

In both markets, only the local utility company sells the distribution service.

5. People

It’s important to have the right people, so facilities managers should maximize productivity and improve their people’s skills by having formal classes on the newest technology.

Some of the most popular energy management-related positions include:

  • Energy manager
  • Facilities manager
  • Project and construction manager
  • Maintenance tech and mechanic (HVAC, electrical, and plumbing)
  • Maintenance engineer
  • Control tech
  • Software tech and IT specialist
  • Equipment operator
  • Energy procurement specialist
  • Business analyst

Facilities can control their energy costs by researching how people work with technology to get information about their facilities’ energy use and how it can be lowered through motion sensor lights, shopping for energy suppliers, and proper maintenance of current equipment.

To view the “5 Aspects of Energy Management” webinar on demand, click here.

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