This page contains document links to Construction Criteria Base

Optimize Operational and Maintenance Practices

by the WBDG Sustainable Committee

Last updated: 09-04-2014

Overview

No matter how sustainable a building may have been in its design and construction, it can only remain so if it is operated responsibly and maintained properly. Ensure operation and maintenance personnel are part of the project planning and development process, including the establishing of commissioning criteria at the onset of a project. The use of toxic cleaning products can deteriorate indoor air quality; failure to test sensor control points on a regular basis can compromise energy efficiency; and poor training can lead to early system failures. Buildings must be operated and maintained with the security, safety, health, comfort, and productivity of their occupants in mind, and with an understanding of the next generation's need to reuse and recycle building components. To the extent possible, select systems that are easily maintained.

Throughout the building's life cycle, operations and maintenance should seek to:

  • Train building occupants, facilities managers, and maintenance staff in sustainable design principles and methods;
  • Purchase cleaning products and supplies that are resource-efficient, bio-degradable and safer for both janitorial staff and building occupants;
  • Use automated monitors and controls for energy, water, waste, temperature, moisture, and ventilation;
  • Reduce waste through source reduction and recycling to eliminate disposal off-site; and
  • Minimize travel by supporting telecommuting programs and enabling teleconferencing.
  • Perform periodic energy audits and re-commissioning of systems.

Recommendations

Train Building Occupants, Facilities Managers, and Maintenance Staff in Sustainability Principles and Methods

  • Implement a comprehensive, preventive maintenance program to keep all building systems functioning as designed. See WBDG Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM).
  • Install meters and track progress of energy, water, and waste systems to ensure the highest performance levels possible. Without meters to monitor and verify performance, it will be difficult to determine if building systems are operating as designed.
  • Provide operations support to facilities managers and maintenance crews to answer questions and offer additional information.
  • Engage building occupants through education, clear signage, and incentive programs.
  • Maintain a Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®) on staff to monitor systems, energy costs, and energy conservation initiatives.

Employ Environmentally Preferable Landscaping Practices

Purchase Resource-Efficient and Safer Cleaning Products and Maintenance Services

  • Use safer cleaners, such as EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) labeled products
  • Look for products that are concentrated, using less packaging.
  • Use integrated pest management (IPM) practices in facilities and landscaping to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides. IPM has been mandated on federal property since 1996 by Section 136r-1 of Title 7, United States Code, and is cited in Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations (102-74.35) as a required service for agencies subject to the authority of the General Services Administration (GSA).
  • Use non-toxic pest control for indoor spaces and plants. See also WBDG Evaluating and Selecting Green Products.
  • Keep air ducts clean and free of microorganisms through a structured program of preventive maintenance and regular filter changes.
  • Janitorial staff knowledge and training are important to meeting IEQ goals. Janitorial Service Contracts should meet ASTM E1971-05(2011) Standard Guide for Stewardship for the Cleaning of Commercial and International Buildings.

Use Automated Monitors and Controls for Energy, Water, Waste, Temperature, Moisture, and Ventilation Monitors and Controls

Reduce Waste through Source Reduction and Recycling

  • Develop and implement a waste management policy for building operation, including an initial waste generation and recycling assessment, targets for recycling rates, occupant incentives, and verification on an annual basis as to whether reduction goals are being met. The following materials should be targeted for recycling in the policy: consumer products (e.g. computers, electronic equipment, office supplies, plastics, glass, paper, aluminum); routine maintenance items (e.g. fluorescent and HID lamps) and items from renovation (e.g. acoustical ceiling tiles, carpet tiles, and furniture).
  • Use on-site composting of organic materials.
  • Adopt green meeting practices. Evaluate potential hotel and conference center venues that are sustainable in that they recycle, purchase recycled or recyclable items, use nondisposable food and beverage service, have bottle deposits, a plan for leftover food and meeting materials, and practice water and energy conservation.

Support Practices that Encourage Sustainable Transportation or Minimize Travel

  • Install sufficient bike racks to meet demand.
  • Designate shuttle/bus stops in safe and accessible areas close to the facility.
  • Provide sufficient parking spaces for carpools/vanpools.
  • Support teleconferencing and videoconferencing through proper operations and maintenance of communication systems.
  • Support telework (aka telecommuting) programs by providing hoteling spaces (flexible and well-equipped office spaces that teleworkers can use when they come into the office) and properly operating and maintained telework centers.

Relevant Codes, Laws, and Standards

Codes and Laws

Standards

Major Resources

WBDG

Building Types / Space Types

Applicable to most building types and space types.

Design Objectives

Aesthetics, Functional / Operational, Historic Preservation—Update Building Systems Appropriately, Productive, Productive—Assure Reliable Systems and Spaces, Productive—Design for the Changing Workplace, Productive—Promote Health and Well-Being, Productive—Provide Comfortable Environments, Secure / Safe—Ensure Occupant Safety and Health, Sustainable—Optimize Site Potential, Sustainable—Optimize Energy Use, Sustainable—Protect and Conserve Water, Sustainable—Optimize Building Space and Material Use, Sustainable—Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality

Products and Systems

Building Envelope Design Guide—Sustainability of the Building Envelope
Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers:

Project Management

Building Commissioning

Optimize Operational and Maintenance Practices

Train Building Occupants, Facilities Managers, and Maintenance Staff in Sustainability Principles and Methods

  • IFMA Certification Program for Facility Managers—Maintenance and operations management is one of eight competency areas evaluated in becoming a Certified Facility Manager. An ideas exchange among facility managers is available on an advertising-supported web page.

Purchase Resource-Efficient and Safer Cleaning Products and Maintenance Services

Use Automated Monitors and Controls for Energy, Water, Waste, Temperature, Moisture, and Ventilation Monitors and Controls

Reduce Waste through Source Reduction and Recycling

Support Practices that Encourage Sustainable Transportation or Minimize Travel

Publications

Training Courses