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New Research Reveals Trends

HOUSTON - The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) released “Operations and Maintenance Benchmarks, Research Report #32,” a study outlining the facility trends affecting workplaces throughout North America. Among the new report’s findings are that the average space per person has risen nearly 40 square feet since 2007 and that companies are adjusting thermostats higher or lower by an average of one degree Fahrenheit, compared to data from three years ago, in an effort to minimize energy use and cut costs.

The study provides data from 1,422 facilities comprising more than 600 million square feet of commercial space, representing organizations from Fortune 500 companies to the U.S. government. It examines built environment trends in 34 industries and in various facility types. In total, the report provides benchmarking statistics covering space per person; sustainable, janitorial, and maintenance practices; utility consumption; and more.

The study highlights developments in built environment sustainability trends. Of those surveyed, only 11 percent report managing buildings with no green elements or certification, with 28 percent reporting one or more certified buildings and 61 percent saying their buildings contain green elements but are not certified. Organizations are also increasingly performing their building maintenance with fewer personnel.

In an effort to reduce utility consumption, the study reported that facility professionals are going to great lengths to modernize building equipment and implement controls such as sensors and building automation systems. Changing the operating hours of a building’s heating and cooling systems and adjusting thermostat settings are two prime examples of how facility managers have achieved energy savings with little expense involved. When compared to IFMA’s 2006 measurement, the average summer low thermostat setting has risen by one degree to 72°, while the average winter low setting has dropped a degree to 6°.

For more information, visit www.ifma.org.

Publication date: 06/22/2009

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