Bob is a guy that nobody notices or thinks much about, until their office is too hot. Or too cold. Or there is air blowing down directly on their head. And most people that live or work in the building with Bob don’t understand what Bob does.
Bob likes HVAC Larry, and Refrigerant Tech Rodrigo, and he can stomach BAS Billy and even Manufacturer’s Rep Reggie, on occasion. Even though it seems that the parts he needs for the boiler his building just bought are no longer being supported.
But he definitely does not like young energy engineer Eddie McSavetheworld.
The problem is that Bob’s core job description runs counter to the goals of energy efficiency. His job is to receive as few complaints as possible. And the best way to do that is to run everything, all the time, in “hand,” at full capacity. Full sails, all day, every day, day and night, including holidays and weekends.
The truth is that Bob wants his building to be energy efficient. But his directives push him the other way. And there are other barriers too. Lack of attention, lack of support, lack of training, and lack of incentive all conspire against Bob’s transformation to the new Boiler Bob, Version 2.0.
Four Steps to Upgrading Boiler Bob
So how do we get Bob on board with energy efficiency? There are four key ingredients to a successful Boiler Bob upgrade:
1. Attention. Understanding Bob’s world, and gaining his confidence is the first step. It involves listening; most facility guys are reluctant to speak at first. They think you are there to show them what they’ve been doing wrong, or to tell them how to do their job. The fact is, if you can win their confidence, and listen, a brief often icy “breaking in” period becomes an avalanche of information.
Most people have not listened to Bob before. But providing some attention to his world gives him a chance to voice everything he’s been storing up. And he usually knows many of the opportunities to save energy – he’s just never had an audience that was ready to listen and act on them before.
2. Support. The problem with most energy efficiency projects is that Bob is left with new controls, new systems, and new strategies, but when something goes wrong, no one is there to help him figure out why. So his response, and rightfully so, is to override whatever is causing the problem.
Developing a support network for Bob is critical. This involves putting together a management structure that gives him clear direction as to what to act on, what to try first, and then where to turn to when what he tries doesn’t work. How does he document the problem, and who does he report this to? Does he need access to a third-party to help with specific issues? Does he need other tools such as a fault detection and diagnostics system, or an updated Systems or Operator’s Manual?
3. Training. Training of the facility staff and building operators may be one of the most important factors determining the operational performance and persistence of energy savings. Without proper understanding of new systems, the skills to operate the systems properly, and a plan regarding how to resolve or report issues, it will be impossible for a building to operate efficiently and optimally over time.
Bob should be involved with any commissioning and/or recommissioning efforts. From planning through implementation. This will provide critical on-the-job training and familiarity with his new systems, controls, and management structure.
4. Incentive. Relying on Bob’s inner need to do good might be enough to get him to change the way he thinks about his building and its operation. But then again, there’s nothing like cold, hard cash to change someone’s thinking! Or a cruise, an espresso machine, a riding lawn mower. Incentives based on specific performance goals can work wonders – we’ve seen this work first hand. Real incentives can provide the necessary motivation for Bob and his team to upgrade to new-age thinking, and feel recognized and appreciated for their efforts.
There is no greater energy conservation measure that can be performed in a building, and no greater impediment to a successful energy efficiency project, than Boiler Bob and his team. They represent the keys to any successful project. And have the power to crush energy savings with a single setpoint. Applying these key ingredients can transform even the most curmudgeonly Bob into a finely-tuned instrument of energy efficiency!
The Investor Confidence Project and the Project Development Specification describe specifically how to address the facility staff and building operators, and how their role is defined in the development of an energy efficiency project. From commissioning (operational performance verification) to operations, maintenance and monitoring, and what the management structure, training, and resources need to include.
To find out more, visit our website, or feel free to reach out to us directly (Matt Golden at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tracy Phillips at email@example.com)