Tag Archives: Facility management

Budding Success with Green Roof Incentives

The silver city townhomes in Milwaukee, WI, earned a $172,278 grant from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District toward its green roof project.

If you want your next roofing project to come up roses, you might consider growing some up there – and if you really want to gild the lily, plant some incentive funding into the plot.

“There is a lot of curiosity and apprehension about green roofs. Building owners have heard about them and only just begun investigating costs and support packages,” says Clayton Rugh, general manager and technical director of system supplier Xero Flor America. “Suppliers can help in the financial argument, but it’s important to go to your local utility to see what’s available.”

Where there was once little local, state, or federal funding for green roof projects, many incentives are sprouting up across the country.

“During negotiation, have a dialogue about what can be done for you in order to get the project approved. Municipalities recognize that these projects cost developers money, and in their quest to attract new development, they’re willing to play ball,” explains Dick Hayden, garden roof department manager at system supplier American Hydrotech. “Green roofs have real value, so utilities use incentives as part of the financing puzzle.”

Knowing what is available and what works will make your project a lush undertaking.

Below is a crash course on types of incentives available in different regions, according to the non-profit organization Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. If these aren’t advertised or available in your neck of the woods, do some digging or lobbying.

“Incentives come in various forms, but a lot of entities don’t advertise them,” Hayden says. “They want to promote the green component, but the dollars are based on stormwater management. Replacing sewer infrastructure can cost billions.”

Even if you can’t collect monetary motivation, lowering the amount of impervious space on your property can give you an added floor on your building or extra parking space in your lot. Consider the possibilities:

  • Chicago, IL: Green Roof Permit Program – In addition to monetary incentives for stormwater and reducing the urban heat island effect, another bonus is an expedited building permit program.
  • Milwaukee, WI: Regional Green Roof Incentive – Earn $5 per square foot of approved green roof space.
  • Minneapolis, MN: Regional Green Roof Initiative – A discount of up to 100% on stormwater utility fees rewards properties that manage their stormwater quality and quantity with strategies including green roofs.
  • Nashville, TN: Green Roof Credit – Earn a $10 rebate for each square foot of green roof space.
  • New York, NY: Green Roof Tax Abatement – Earn a $5.23 rebate per square foot of green roof space, capped at $200,000 per project.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Green Roof Tax Credit – Earn a credit of up to 25% of all costs incurred to construct a green roof, with a maximum of $100,000 per project.
  • Portland, OR: Floor Area Ratio Bonus – Earn extra space based on the percentage of green roof area: 10-30% earns 1 extra square foot of floor area, 30-60% earns 2, and 60%+ earns 3.
  • Syracuse, NY: Green Improvement Fund – Moneys are available for projects utilizing green infrastructure. Nearly $4 million has already been awarded to 37 projects.
  • Toronto, ON: Green Roof Bylaw/Procurement – Earn $7 per square foot of green roof space.
  • Washington, D.C.: Green Roof Rebate Program – There is base funding ranging from $7-10 per square foot of green roof area depending on the project’s sewage shed area.

The World Wide Fund for Nature remodeled its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The facility added a green roof with the primary goal of reducing the first flush and/or peak flow of water during major storm activity. The project also coincided with an aggressive renovation to earn LEED-EB 2009 Platinum.

Its 28,000-square-foot green roof treats and retains about 416,250 gallons of stormwater annually, meeting both municipal and LEED guidelines. As a result of the reduced stress on the city sewer infrastructure, the project earned tax abatement of almost $200,000.

The Silver City Townhomes in Milwaukee, WI, are five structures housing 20 rent-to-own three- and four-bedroom units. Each building has a green roof, with the area totaling 11,577 square feet. They were funded with a $172,278 grant from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District.

Sources like these can be earned for your project, even if funding doesn’t appear readily available. The onus is on you to pursue and advocate for them.

“Push for policy in your area. Lobby and get representatives on board with green roofs and infrastructure,” suggests Andy Creath, owner and founder of Green Roofs of Colorado, a green roof designer and installer. “Just get involved.”

Source: buildings.com

Getting Back On Energy Budget After a Rough Winter

Most of the country had a pretty rough winter, and that led to a lot of people going over their energy budget. What can facility managers do now that the weather’s improving to help make up for some of that spending?

Spring is an excellent time to take stock of a building’s annual utility expenses and map out an energy saving strategy, at an asset and portfolio level. A walk through energy audit, retro-commissioning, and project identification are steps which will help a facility manager understand how building systems interact and where the ripe targets for energy savings are. Reviewing the building’s sequence of operations, and making adjustments to schedules, temperature and flow rate set-points in HVAC equipment are easy opportunities. A comprehensive energy efficient lighting and plug load reduction projects are also cost effective ways to reduce energy waste in buildings.

Mild spring temperatures and longer daylight hours also offer good opportunities to make HVAC and lighting adjustments. Outside air economization and free cooling, as well as for variable frequency drives on HVAC equipment serve to reduce cooling energy, and this is the best time to use operable windows. Don’t forget to make sure that the heating systems are shut off and the appropriate controls are functioning so that steam or electricity is not wasted unnecessarily. Capturing natural daylight by raising shades and adjusting lighting controls and timers to take advantage of longer daylight hours is an easy energy saving strategy.

Source: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/energyefficiency/article/Getting-Back-On-Energy-Budget-After-a-Rough-Winter–14993?source=part

Answers provided by Wendy Fok, project director, High Performance Demonstration Project of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Center for Market Innovation.

Facility Managers Can Educate Tenants To Reduce Complaints

One effective strategy for minimizing the number of complaints is to educate building occupants about the situation that is generating the complaints.

Consider this story from Joan Woodard, president and CEO of Simons & Woodard Inc. Canada geese can be pests, so you’d think a story involving them would be about complaints around the noise, their waste, or how aggressive they can be. But Woodard has the opposite problem. Her tenants love their geese and ducks, almost too much. A series of five man-made lakes at one of her properties in northern California has become a very popular stopover for migrating birds, with a pair of geese and some ducks routinely using it as a nesting ground. In their concern and exuberance for their wilderness mascots, Woodard’s tenants have had rather unusual requests. The lakes have a bulkhead that’s about six inches above the water, and the tenants get distressed that the babies will not be able to clear the barrier. One tenant even went as far as standing in one of the lakes with his pant legs rolled up, attempting to scoop the ducklings onto dry land, which of course would not do — for the ducklings, himself, or the property management firm.

One strategy Woodard uses to try to stem the seasonal requests is to issue a newsletter to the tenants educating them on the importance of leaving the wildlife undisturbed. Using the newsletter, they distributed information about little ramps and small stone steps that had been constructed for the ducks after the wading incident, so they might navigate the lakes with ease. Of course, the birds don’t actually use the ramps or the steps. “The tenants were happy we took that extra step, but then they wanted management to instruct the ducks on how to use the ramp,” she says.

Though they declined that request, Woodard says they were happy to try to accommodate the requests around the geese and ducks. “From the moment they become tenants, we’re trying to make them feel this is their daytime home and that they’re part of a community,” she says.


2.  Facility Managers Should Tackle Complaints Head-On

For facility managers, complaints are a fact of daily life. Tackling them head-on is usually the best strategy, rather than ignoring them and hoping they go away.

A good example of why that’s true comes from Larry Virts, local president of BOMA Corpus Christi and property manager with REOC San Antonio. Sometimes Virts says he feels more like a high school principal. He inherited a tenant mix with glaring differences in work and life styles. In one corner, a call center making up about 25 percent of the building’s population, filled with very young employees who are loud, brash, and often not used to working in a professional setting — at least as evidenced by their behavior. In the other corner, everybody else.

And worse, the call center was clogging the elevators. The tight scheduling typical of a call center was causing this set of employees to enter and leave the facility in large groups. Where other tenants had been always been able to get on an elevator in 40 seconds, now they were waiting two, three, or more minutes — an eternity. The complaints rolled in. When Virts hired on, he resolved to improve the situation.

“The tenant had assumed that complaints made about them were because of their appearance and their loudness, their unrestrained youth,” Virts says. “I think they just assumed that it was a personality clash, never realizing they could make it better.”

After first cultivating a relationship with the call center’s management, Virts says he approached them in a calm manner to find a reasonable solution to the issue. They were very receptive and a compromise was found in staggering start times and break times to relieve long waits for the elevator. It has helped the situation, some, he says.

3.  Report Back To Management On How Approved Facility Projects Are Performing

Facility managers should report back to top management on how approved facility projects are performing.

Getting a “yes” on a facility funding proposal is one part salesmanship, one part public relations, and one part stick-to-it-iveness. Successful facility managers are the ones who have developed a system that works consistently, and successful facility management organizations are well-funded ones. So understanding all that goes into a successful facility funding proposal — from laying groundwork to campaigning to understanding the difference between a smooth, quick presentation and one that will get you laughed out of the boardroom — is a career must for any facility manager.

One common mistake facility managers make is failing to report back on an approved project, even if nobody asked for data. “We remind everyone when we have a successful project,” says Jim Cooke, national facilities operations manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA. “Give updates. That provides the personal touch.”

John Balzer, vice president, facility planning and development for Froedtert Hospital and Community Health, agrees: “Facility managers can make themselves more noticeable by sending quarterly reports on how their initiative is working. It’s a great way to build credibility. You’re saying, ‘Look, I stuck my neck out and I’ll report, even though you’re not asking, because I’m confident enough in this initiative.'”

Doing such voluntary reporting completes the credibility loop, which again, is one of the biggest factors in getting a “yes.” Your personal relationship with the financial folks making the decision on your proposals is just as important – perhaps more so – than the numbers themselves. As Jim Cooke, national facilities operations manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, puts it, “Your credibility and personal relationships are the keys.” The question to ask, he says, is this: “f I call them, will they give me the time of day?” If the answer is “yes,” you’ve got much better odds the answer will be “yes” on your proposal as well.

4.  Get Help From Finance On Proposals For Funding Facility Projects

Today’s tip from Building Operating Management: Get help from the finance department when preparing a proposal for funding facility projects.

For many facility managers, presenting a funding proposal is the bane of their professional existence. Folks with engineering or operations backgrounds often struggle not just with the soft skills, like public speaking, marketing and campaigning, but also the financial expertise required to construct a proposal in terms that will resonate with those holding the organization’s purse strings.

When it comes to actually building the meat and potatoes of the proposal, there’s no better idea than to get financial folks to help you with the proposal. That way, your numbers are vetted and in the appropriate form before upper management lays eyes on them.

Regarding the proposal itself, the exact format will depend on the organization, but again, experts suggest a few best practices. The most important thing: Keep it short and sweet. Provide two to three alternatives, e.g., the benefits of the proposal if it is accepted, the risks of doing nothing, and what would happen if the proposal is delayed for a year or two or if a less costly option is chosen.

The problem, solution and benefit to the company should be made clear in the first 90 seconds, says Alan Whitson, president, Corporate Realty, Design & Management Institute.

Use PowerPoint because that’s what executives are used to, says Stormy Friday, president of The Friday Group, but dress it up a little. Use photos, or “if you’re extraordinarily clever, create a simulation model or things that move and circulate. Anything’s better than just a flat presentation.”

The actual hard copy of the presentation must be equally short and sweet. “I’d strongly recommend, and this is not easy with people with engineering backgrounds, one page or less and using bullet points,” says John Balzer, vice president, facility planning and development for Froedtert Hospital and Community Health. “That’s the only way the CFO will look at it.”

The biggest mistake to make is to assume more data, pages and spiffy charts will help your cause. “Leaders have a nanosecond attention span,” says Friday, “So so you can’t overwhelm them with blocks of text or charts and graphs that are hard to decipher.”

Source: Facilities Net

5 Ways Going Green is Great for Buildings

A recent study of facility management executives found that 5 percent had certified a green building before 2012, but that 29 percent plan to certify one in 2013. That growth in the market for green buildings will ripple through the industry. Over the next ten years, buildings will become more grid-responsive, resilient, efficient, energy-positive and networked.

Grid Responsiveness
A survey indicted that 14 percent of U.S. building organizations currently participate in demand response programs. Building energy consumption can be continuously adjusted throughout the day to reduce demand at critical times.

To withstand natural disasters, there is an important role for distributed energy systems and smart building controls.

“The new approach would define policies and technical requirements for how to incorporate smart grid technology, microgrids, building controls and distributed generation, including CHP, with two-way flow networks into the grid. … This approach would allow building controls to provide a minimal level of service such as basic lights and refrigeration during emergencies,” the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding strategy noted.

Building efficiency improvements in lighting, HVAC and controls are the most popular improvements and more than two-thirds of organizations have addressed these in the past year.

There is a growing trend in building design to go net zero or energy positive. In fact, California has included net zero as an energy goal for 2030 for commercial buildings. The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Army have also set energy-positive goals.

Smart buildings provide data and information needed to measure, monitor and manage building performance.

View Full Article in: Rocky Mountain Institute

Using Smart Building Strategies To Meet Energy, Sustainability Goals

Executive summary: Many organizations are taking steps to make buildings more energy efficient and more sustainable. At the same time, many are implementing smart building measures. The results of a new survey of facility executives demonstrates that smart building measures are being used to improve energy and sustainability performance, and that those measures have in fact proven to boost performance in those areas. But a more strategic approach to smart buildings, combined with even wider use of smart building measures, represents an important opportunity for facility executives to drive further gains in energy efficiency and sustainability.

This white paper examines facility executives’ experiences with smart buildings and shows how smart building measures can enable other key organizational goals.

Topics addressed include:

  • Synergies between smart buildings, energy efficiency, and sustainability
  • Facility executives’ plans for smart building upgrades
  • Value of a broad-based team to develop smart building strategies
  • Role of people in smart building strategies
  • Integration as a key to a smart building strategy


Smart Building Strategies Can Help Reach Energy and Sustainability Targets

It’s a rare facility executive who doesn’t devote significant effort to improving energy efficiency or sustainability. These two issues are now priorities for many organizations. Increasingly, organizations are also seeing the benefits of implementing measures to make their buildings smarter. And as those smart building strategies have been implemented, experience has shown they are key enablers for meeting energy efficiency and sustainability goals.

The synergy among sustainability, energy efficiency, and smart building strategies suggests facility executives should address all three in combination, rather than each separately. For example, smart building strategies can help facility executives ensure good indoor environmental quality leading to occupant comfort, a key sustainability goal, while hitting energy efficiency targets. Indeed, smart building strategies should be seen as key ways to achieve energy efficiency and sustainability goals.

Today, however, the fact is many organizations have failed to take advantage of key smart building opportunities that can not only improve operational efficiency, but also reduce energy costs and buttress sustainability efforts. Many organizations have also failed to link smart building strategies with strategies for energy efficiency and sustainability. But the next few years should see a significant increase in the implementation of important smart building measures.

These are among the key findings of a survey of facility executives conducted by Siemens Industry, Inc., and Building Operating Management magazine, as well as discussions with facility executives and other experts in the field. That research points the way to the wider use of smart building technology to help achieve energy efficiency and sustainability objectives.

Smart Building Strategy Defined

Although there is no single, universally accepted definition of a smart building, widespread agreement exists about some of the key elements of the concept. A key part of the consensus is that smart building strategies improve the productivity of people and processes in buildings and lead to better decisions, based on actionable information, for improvements to the facility.

Technology is also critical. For example, smart buildings tap building automation systems (BAS), allowing facility executives to have the building’s core systems seamlessly integrated. And smart buildings often leverage advanced technology to make their properties as efficient and sustainable as possible.

A smart building strategy “works to ensure that a building can provide timely, integrated systems information to building owners, managers, and tenants so that they can make intelligent decisions regarding operations and maintenance,” explains Ronald J. Zimmer, president and CEO of the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA). This plan “evolves with changing user requirements and technology, ensuring continued and improved optimization,” Zimmer says.

Smart buildings are comfortable buildings for occupants. “Ideally, such a strategy leads to a building that uses both technology and process to create a facility that is safe, healthy, and comfortable and enables productivity and well-being for its occupants,” says Zimmer.

Tom Shircliff, co-founder of Intelligent Buildings, LLC, a real estate professional services company, points out that “strategy is about what is happening to you and what to do about it.” And what Shircliff sees happening involves material changes in building controls technology. Given that perspective, he says there should be three basic outcomes to a smart building strategy:

“1. The Hippocratic Oath: ‘First, do no harm’ when spending capital and operational budget money by avoiding proprietary solutions and disconnected building systems.

“2. Lower Cost Structure: Create a base strategy that lowers your overall and ongoing capital and operational cost structure. This aligns all planned projects and spending with a smart building strategy.

“3. Data-Driven Decisions: Move your organization to a data-driven decision making culture. Big data and the cloud have finally come to real estate, and there are millions of data points that can provide insights, risk reduction, and lower costs.”

Improving and Enabling

According to the Siemens/Building Operating Management survey, many organizations are taking steps to make their buildings smarter, more energy efficient, and more sustainable. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Which of the following improvement measures has your organization taken in the past three years? R=821

Lighting upgrades:83%

HVAC retrofits: 61%

Facility staff training: 52%

Water efficiency measures: 51%
Controls upgrades: 47%
Green cleaning: 45%
Integration for building systems: 39%
Automated monitoring and reporting: 37%
Retrocommissioning of building systems: 20%
Reflective roofing:18%
Renewable energy:17%
Automated optimization:15%
Automated fault detection & diagnostics: 14%
Dashboards: 12%
Continuous commissioning: 10%
Other: 3%

The top two items on the list are measures that often have a very rapid payback or are very low cost — not surprising, given the economic conditions of the past three years. But the survey indicates smart building elements have been under-deployed in comparison to how important facility executives say those elements are.

The survey asked whether a range of measures were important for achieving energy and sustainability goals. Sixty nine percent of respondents say “integration for building systems” is an important smart building strategy to meet energy and sustainability goals, yet only 39 percent of respondents report having implemented integration in the past three years. Similarly, 52 percent say “automated monitoring and reporting” is important, yet only 37 percent report having implemented it. A similar situation holds for “automated fault detection and diagnostics” (31 percent say it’s important but only 14 percent implemented it), “automated optimization” (30 percent vs. 15 percent), “continuous commissioning” (24 percent vs. 10 percent), and “dashboards” (21 percent vs. 12 percent).

One exception to this pattern: 54 percent of respondents call controls upgrades important and 47 percent say they performed controls upgrades in the past three years.

University Taps Smart Building, Water Strategies for LEED

Portland State University (PSU) earned LEED Gold certification for its Northwest Center for Engineering Science and Technology by tapping both smart building technologies and smart water strategies. The building features natural lighting, natural ventilation of its five-story atrium, a rainwater harvesting system that supplies water for toilets and urinals, and geothermal heating and cooling from underground springs.

The facility’s building automation system (BAS) controls geothermal water flow and the rainwater harvesting system’s water flow applications, as well as controlling the motorized operable windows and providing indoor air quality measurements. The BAS also is integrated with building systems for fan controls and shutdown operations for life safety.

Rainwater from the roof goes into a sediment tank to allow large particles to settle out. A sump pump transfers the untreated water from this tank into the storage tank. Water samples from the storage tank are pumped through a flow cell where the automated controller monitors and compares oxidation-reduction potential to a target setpoint, pumping in sodium hypochlorite as needed.

Two ultraviolet systems disinfect water as it is pumped to its usage points and as a sidestream treatment for the storage tank. During the rainwater system’s first eight weeks of operation, no city water was used for flushing toilets and urinals.

By combining smart energy and water efficiency technologies, PSU uses 45 percent less energy than Oregon code and nearly 40 percent less water than it did in the past, according to the university.

More here: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/

Let’s Connect. Collaborate. And Partner Together! Info@setpointsystems.com

Ignoring Occupant Complaints Can Be Tempting, But Often Leads To Further Problems

With all that goes into unpacking a complaint, facility managers might be tempted to just avoid addressing the issue altogether and hope it goes away. “Blatantly disregarded. Done,” said one survey respondent when asked for strategies in reducing frivolous complaints. Facility managers might be motivated by a variety of factors when choosing to ignore a complaint, says Tuveson. To be clear, ignoring complaints is not the norm in the industry, but it’s also not unheard of, especially if the complaint is deemed frivolous. Tuveson offers four reasons facility managers might “not respond in a way that’s in the best interest of their organization.”

First, the culture in the facility management organization might not be focused at all on customer service. Second, there might be no policy or procedure for addressing complaints. Instead of addressing the complaint, the FM might ignore it until someone significant enough in the parent organization starts complaining.

Third, acknowledging the complaint might be an embarrassment and the facility manager doesn’t want to personally look bad or make the team look bad. Lastly, the facility manager might worry there’s no budget or other resources to address complaints, and so avoids them.

“Most of those are perceptions,” Tuveson says. “It’s not uncommon to have a facility management or service organization saying no before they understand what (the issue is), because it looks like a Pandora’s box.”

But ignoring complaints is at best a short-term solution. “Ignoring the frivolous complaints does work in the short term, since the complaint comes off of today’s to-do list, but sometimes ignoring the problem won’t make it go away,” says Bob Cottrell, principal with Facilities Management Partners. “I found that often the best way to deal with it is not to deal with the frivolous complaint, instead deal with the frivolous complainer.” A nice chat, perhaps explaining why there is no solution, or that the solution is cost-prohibitive will go a long way, he says.

Schlenkermann says conversations with complainers often yield potential avenues for a resolution. “Any time that a user has a complaint, they usually come to the table with a suggestion on how to fix it,” he says, so these are modified and incorporated any time it makes sense. “Listening to their suggestions, incorporating their suggestions towards a resolution typically resolves a lot for us.”

Ignoring complaints can also inspire facility occupants to creative solutions. “If you ignore a complaint and it goes away, it’s probably because somebody fixed it and you won’t like their fix but you won’t know about it,” says Mazur-Stommen. “It’s like toddlers. If it’s too quiet, you should worry.

“Or they now hate you,” she says. “They just think about it every time they see you — there’s that guy that didn’t listen to me. Unaddressed complaints do not go away.”

And in the end, fielding complaints, frivolous or not, is just part of the job description. “We’re in a business where we’re providing service and our offices are the complaint department,” says Virts. “If you take it personally, if you’re not tuned up to handle people’s complaints and dissatisfactions, then you’re really in the wrong business.”

Let’s Connect. Collaborate. And Partner Together! Learn how to not only manage occupant complaints, but minimize or eliminate them! Info@setpointsystems.com

Via: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/

Successfully Managing Occupant Complaints Often Involves Determining Underlying Reasons For Complaints

It is much more palatable to think of complainers in a facility as simple cranks who are avoiding doing their real jobs, who get some sort of perverse joy out of filling out work orders. But there can be a lot of layers behind a complaint, especially one that looks frivolous on the surface. Successfully managing occupant complaints often requires digging deeper to find the underlying reasons.

Take this story, as told by Susan Mazur-Stommen, behavior and human dimensions program director, ACEEE, about a string of complaints that occurred at a new administrative building for a federal renewable energy laboratory. The facility was daylit and some of the people located near the windows started complaining about glare. But when they were offered cubicles away from the windows, the complaints disappeared.

“Their real issue was status,” Mazur-Stommen says, because in the new space they had lost their enclosed offices. But at some level they realized that HR was not going to be receptive to their perceived slight and instead tried to change their situation by complaining about glare, which is an ergonomics issue and must be treated seriously, she says.

When addressing complaints, it’s smart for facility managers to take a moment to try to peel back any additional layers, just so time and resources are being allocated properly, says Woodard. “In this business, sometimes we think we know the answer and can get the problem off our back quickly, but it turns out that wasn’t the problem,” she says. “There are times that you’re halfway done trying to solve it the way you would solve it, and you realize that’s not the problem at all. And now you’ve wasted all this energy and you have to start all over again.”

In understanding what is really going on, it’s also important to see who is involved and who is labeling the complaint as frivolous, says Mazur-Stommen. “Oftentimes, the building engineers are male and the complainants are female, and the situations get written into very gendered frames of reference,” she says.

Temperature wars are a place this comes to light. To paint it with a broad brush, men have set the standards for thermal comfort in commercial buildings, and cultural norms put men is a very standardized business uniform. “You have high summer and you have men wearing wool slacks, and undershirts, and socks, and closed-toed shoes,” Mazur-Stommen says. Meanwhile, women’s attire varies more to match the demands of the seasons. “To be specific, it’s cold in the building because we’re cooling men who are not dressed appropriately for the season. We’re spending a lot of money to let men wander around in wool slacks.”

When facility managers receive complaints they perceive to be frivolous, it would be ideal to take a step back and evaluate who is making the complaint and what else might be going on, as the individual might be trying to address feelings of lack of status, or low morale, or not being heard, by trying to control their environment. “It’s not the building engineer’s job to empower people,” Mazur-Stommen says, “But if you’re asking where these complaints are coming from, it’s a ‘kick the dog’ phenomenon.”

Frivolous is in the eyes of the beholder as well, she says. Ramps for ducklings might be the poster-child for a frivolous request, but only from a certain perspective. “Is it frivolous because it’s not about dollars and cents, and is instead about meaning and values and comfort?” Mazur-Stommen says. “Those are what makes us human. A building is more than just a building envelope and systems for heating and cooling. A building is a social structure, it is a community.”

Let’s Connect. Collaborate. And Partner Together! Learn how to not only manage occupant complaints, but minimize or eliminate them! Info@setpointsystems.com