Fast approaching on 1st May 2018 is the annual Think FM event in London. Without doubt, if you are involved in Facilities Management, in any capacity, this is an event not to be missed. There'll be numerous sessions covering topical subjects within the Facilities Management field such as;
Labour intensive management - is there a solution?
Managing and maintaining commercial property around the world is still a very labour intensive endeavour. Despite many modern buildings having advanced controls for HVAC or lighting systems, they tend to work in isolation from each other and it still leaves many of the key assets of a building in the analogue world that can only be checked by someone with a clipboard. For many older buildings, even the HVAC and lighting is manually controlled and huge amounts of energy and cost from labour is being wasted given that the technologies are here today to link everything together.
Budgets within the public sector are a continuing challenge, there is no sign that changes to funding are going to improve within the foreseeable future, if anything further ‘efficiencies’ will continue to be sought. We all understand that the overall size of the cake has reduced, but what makes investment for the long term even harder is the way budgets are allocated and accounted for. This can drive unintended consequences and have the perverse outcome of creating inefficiencies.
Slightly relieved to be out and about this week showcasing various pieces of enLight® kit at an event which brought together lots of interesting and interested people all for the same reason to demonstrate their new ideas in the world of technology.
After my recent blog explaining about changes here at our offices in Norfolk we left last Monday morning to lots of clanging metal banging and crashing of various levels and some of our staff members pleading to come to the event with us so as not to endure the building works! “Its only for this week keep looking forward to the new office space” I said. (on reflection it would have been a good plan to set up a noise level sensor in the warehouse area to add a different angle on data feedback!)
As we have discussed here before, many, if not all, local authorities and municipalities are looking at reducing the cost of maintaining road and footpath lighting. Whichever option one looks at, it is going to require a visit by a two man crew to every lamp post at considerable expense and ideally, one does not want to have to do that again for at least 10 years. So before embarking on any lighting modifications, here are 7 things to consider that can ensure today's investment in money and time can bring the increase in value everyone is looking for:
In my last post, I proposed turning streetlights or public lighting from being a cost burden, purely a line in the highways budget, into a smart city (you can read town, village or campus here too) connectivity backbone that all departments in the local authority or municipality could benefit from. By investing a bit more money during the streetlight upgrade program - many public bodies are looking to invest in their lighting in order to save energy and maintenance costs - the new lighting can be augmented with a radio node to create a wireless network to which a whole host of sensors and controllers can be attached.
The Cost of Lighting
At enLight we are promoting the message that streetlights have so much more to offer to cities, towns or villages. Today, streetlights are viewed purely as a cost - a budget that has to be allocated to keep the lights powered during the night (or at least most of the time - see my previous post here) and to cover the ongoing maintenance costs for lights that have broken or been damaged. This budget is not insignificant and with continuing budget squeezes at local government level, many are looking to upgrade their lights to save money - a capital investment today that will reap benefits in lower operating costs in years to come.
The Local Authority choice: Lights off or change to LED?
Most local authorities, municipalities or councils today believe that they have to choose one of two options for lowering the total cost of providing public lighting on highways, car parks and footpaths; namely, either turn lights off at night when there are not many people out and about or replace all their lanterns with an LED version. Let's look at each option in turn and assess the total impact of that particular decision and whether there is a very cost effective 3rd option?