A discussion panel of energy thought leaders agreed that facilities management professionals will play a crucial role in the evolving energy debate but warned that knowledge and skill levels will need to increase if this is to happen.
This came out of the British Institute of Facilities Management's latest FM Leaders Forum discussion paper, 'Double = Jeopardy: FMs role in a looming energy crisis', which looked at some of the crucial areas of this evolving debate and how well FM was positioned to address some of the key challenges.
Areas covered included the threat of increasing energy bills, legislation and its role, the importance of behaviour change and the performance gap between design and operation. Whilst the group saw a central part for FM in all areas it was felt that there is some way to go before it is in a place to influence organisations at the very top level on energy management and resource security.
“With the threat of increasing energy prices there is a real swell of interest from organisations about how they should be managing their energy and securing their resource in the long term; this presents a great opportunity for FM professionals to make an important impact,” said Chris Moriarty, head of insights and corporate affairs at BIFM. “However, the attendees said that knowledge levels need to increase if FMs are going to be able to articulate the business case to senior management as well as understanding how they can work with colleagues around the business to help change behaviours. This will be crucial if we are to realise our aspirations around reduced energy consumption.”
As a result of the forum the group developed a plan to support facilities management's role. In summary, this includes: Invest in training and new technology in order to be able to present a strong business case and become a trusted intermediary; Develop in-depth understanding of a building's energy performance by acquiring operational energy data; Become involved as client partners in the design of buildings in order to manage energy usage better; Play a key role in developing energy, water and waste benchmarks; Promote an industry leader and figurehead who CEOs can rely on for guidance and vision; and Become energy ambassadors and raise energy awareness.
To read the full contents of the discussion and download a copy of the paper for free, BIFM members should visit www.bifm.org.uk/jeopardy, and non-members should go to www.bifm.org.uk/energycrisis.