Are FM companies full of hot air?

Are FM companies leading energy revolution, or simply talking about it?

Fergus Appleton
Fergus Appleton

As facilities management providers, we all know that the cost of utilities constitutes between 40 to 60% of any building’s budget.

Therefore, it was with surprise that, in the recent FM Magazine ‘Energy Edition’, I found very little evidence of FM companies taking the lead, investing in their clients, and committing to reducing energy bills by a guaranteed minimum percentage through an energy performance contract.

The contributions offered general opinions about processes, sustainability, best practice and generic international accreditation standards, without solid case studies, evidence of results or actual implementation of these services.

I came away with the impression that the FM industry as a whole was not necessarily leading the development and improvement of energy conservation methods as aggressively as the rhetoric would suggest. Perhaps it’s a case of, ‘A little less conversation, a little more action?’

Everyone is aware that the region clocks up some of the highest energy consumption figures on the planet. With energy costs, and our clients’ utility bills, projected to rise, are FM companies in the MENA region delivering enough energy performance contracts that conserve energy and save their clients’ precious cash? It is our responsibility, as an industry, to not only educate clients, but also to ensure they are taking the necessary measures to prepare themselves for the future.

Over a year ago, Concordia took a bold proactive step and invested over AED2.2 million ($598,900) in energy saving initiatives within two high-grade commercial office towers where we deliver fully integrated FM services. The initiative was a natural extension tour FM services and the customer took zero risk.

Concordia configured a bespoke targeted solution, made the investment, and committed to guaranteed savings. It was a bold move that carried a calculated degree of risk, however we had the courage, conviction and commitment to carry it through.

The Concordia team had intimate knowledge of the building and committed countless hours monitoring and revising to provide the best solution for our client. The results were remarkable. Concordia delivered savings of over 26% — convert this into cash and our customer will be over $1 million richer at the end of the three year contract period.

As an industry, FM professionals need to be more inventive and courageous in conceptualising, proposing and delivering energy saving initiatives.

We need to be willing to act with conviction by taking calculated long-term risks on behalf of our customers to deliver sustainable long-term efficiencies and savings to the region. Fronting a large ‘at risk’ investment is a big decision and there is no hiding from the numbers — a utility bill is a totally impartial measure of success.

However, without risk there is no benefit to the client or the wider community in the region. I believe taking a well-calculated financial risk is worth it as long as FM companies have complete faith in their offering and are able to deliver.

FM is perfectly poised to lead energy saving initiatives. At Concordia, we have already started but we cannot do it alone. Everyone needs to have the courage to jump.

About the author
Fergus Appleton is the general manager of Concordia

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