The growing importance of the building-operations manager in commercial real estate

August 28, 2012

Although much of the discussion about energy efficient buildings is centered on the technology and products that help to lower costs and emissions for commercial structures, one major part of the process is often left out of the talk: the building-operations manager.

According to HPAC Engineering magazine, there are many titles that are given to the person who operates buildings and controls the various tenants located within the structure, but these individuals are often left out of the equation when upgrades are made to the commercial real estate that they oversee.

These individuals need to be on board with any changes that occur, as they can, and should be a critical component of a building's successful operation. The human influence on the situation is often lost in the shuffle, and the management of tenants by this individual can have a much broader impact than any specific installation.

According to the news outlet, along with the human component, people in the industry should also consider maximizing the efficiency related to new technologies such as iPads, smart phones, building-automation systems (BAS), advanced HVAC control systems, web-based interfaces and maintenance management systems. A small upfront expenditure can help to minimize the potential for human error, as the building-operations manager should be equipped with the latest devices that help them monitor energy use and allotment of resources.

This type of all-encompassing approach to greening commercial real estate – working from the ground up and from people to technology – is what the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) is trying to distribute around the industry.

The EEB Hub is one of the many efforts sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to try and reduce consumption levels in the country. Innovation Hubs like this are used to create private-public partnerships and to expedite the transition to more efficient practices across a number of sectors.

According to Next American City, these innovation Hubs are part of how an entire sector can be influenced by the successful implementation of technology combined with joint federal, local and private funding.

Because the private sector is likely to avoid any large upfront expenditures in areas that may offer limited short-term results, it is increasingly necessary for these projects to receive government funding and public support.