RCM Exchange

Planning New/Remodeled Facilities

The most cost-effective time to make changes to reduce energy, water, and other resource use is when a new facility or major remodel is being planned. Meet with the capital facilities division of your organization to discuss your role in this process.

While you may not be able to influence decisions about orienting the building to maximize natural light, you can influence decisions about on-site recycling and composting, and having separate meters for potable and irrigation water. You can also persuade the planners to include an energy management control system in the new building plan. 

New technologies, such as LED lighting, occupancy sensors, and gray water reuse systems, may have a place in your new facility. If vendors come to your facility to demonstrate their products, invite your in-house architect or engineer to sit in on any vendor presentations, and make sure to get several references to confirm the vendor's claims.

You may also be involved in the selection of the facility's energy systems. Costs for energy, maintenance, equipment replacement and inflation, as well as first cost, must all be considered.

In Washington state, life-cycle cost analyses must be performed on new construction or major remodels of publicly owned or leased facilities that are 25,000 square feet or more (see the Revised Code of Washington 39.35 Energy conservation in design of public facilities). For school facilities, the Superintendent of Public Instruction may refer to this life-cycle cost analysis as the “Energy Conservation Report.”