EXPERT TALKS is a new initiative from BUILD UP. In the form of face-to-face interviews, experts coming from all around Europe and covering the field of Energy Efficiency in buildings from different perspectives will share their views, experience and expertise with BUILD UP audience. The interview addresses relevant topics linked to the Topic of the Month.
The 7th edition of our Expert talk hosts Carsten Druhmann, Lecturer and Researcher at the Institute of Facility Management (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) and Head of Real Estate Management Competency Group. The questions addressed in this Expert Talk focus the role of facilities management and buildings operation and maintenance in assuring that the foreseen performance of a project is actually achieved and in contributing to energy efficiency, health, and sustainability.
Professor Druhmann shares his comprehensive definition of sustainable building operation and how it should be addressed. The operation and use phase of buildings have been gaining attention within a whole lifecycle approach. Beyond energy management, aspects of mobility, sustainable procurement, safety, comfort, and users´ satisfaction are also to be considered, he explains.
Building owners and users are becoming more and more involved in facility management and sustainability as they are facing increasing pressure from regulations and new standards, such as from the EU Green Deal, green bonds, etc. Moreover, he underlines that high-level sustainability of a building cannot be achieved without the integration of the user perspective, neither without appropriate commissioning and he shares examples of conflicting situations he has had to deal with. In particular, the essential need for timely commissioning and availability of data required for the operation planning are discussed.
Carsten also addresses the issue of performances gaps of different indicators of the buildings and how these gaps can be closed. He defines it as a “grey box” since there is not a shared and common definition and performance gaps can be measured in a completely different ways. One reason to focus on this question is because it can choherently relate and affect the user´s satisfaction.
Addressing Covid-19 conditions in the use of buildings, Carsten highlights how this emergency had a significant impact on facility management on the operational level. Schools and universities will have a considerable challenges ahead and he discusses opportunities to use the interaction of ventilation systems with mobile devices in this context. He also adds that on the mid- and longer-term, a paradigm shift should occur to establish different service contracts between owners and users and then operators.
He concludes suggesting that the building owners, together with the service providers and users should open up their minds. He also calls for some changes and the implementation of urban facility management. This would lead to opportunities to develop new business models linked to sustainable development goals, well-being, smart cities, etc. In these multi-dimensional optimisation challenges, continuously trained people besides R&D activities will need to act in order to respond to challenges in the building operation sector, to develop smart buildings and technology and eventually to reach a low carbon economy.