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FMs have key role in making buildings green

23 April 2014 

Facilities managers have a key role to play in making buildings energy efficient – but they are not incentivised or paid enough to do so, according to a panel debate about sustainability.

 

At an event that took place to launch ‘Green Sky Thinking’ - a week-long programme of events in London for built environment and property professionals - Professor Paul Ruyssevelt, chair of energy & building performance at the UCL Energy Institute, said: “There are exceptions, but it is not a priority [for FMs to be utilised effectively] and one big reason why is that FM outsourcing results in fast tendering and turnover so there is a lack of continuity within buildings as there is more focus on costs rather than the need for effective energy reporting.”


He added: “So there is a more important role FMs can play, but the problems are more to do with priorities set by the client and the way FM services are contracted.” 

Ruyssevelt said it made sense to involve FM teams in the design process or refurbishment at an early stage. 

“I don’t know how new buildings can be commissioned without involving the people who are experts in the running of buildings,” he added. 

Nick Hilliard, sustainability manager at property group BNP Paribas Real Estate, said better decision-making tools were needed to decide whether buildings should be refurbished or knocked down and rebuilt. Often buildings that had the potential for refurb were demolished and rebuilt too quickly. 

“Let’s make refurb as sexy as rebuild,” he said. 

“To do so we need better access to finance and more certainty of the regulatory framework.” 

He agreed that if refurb became more popular it would make the role of the FM more important.