Home Publisher's Point of View Preventive Maintenance Ensures Energy-Efficient Operations

Preventive Maintenance Ensures Energy-Efficient Operations


Having represented two suppliers of preventive maintenance (PM) software for several years, I have learned a little bit about the importance of PM. That is why BP PLC’s recent announcement that it would have to shut down part of its Alaska North Slope oil operations to replace 16 miles of damaged pipes struck me as odd.

The eastern side of the Prudhoe Bay pipeline had not undergone a high-tech inspection, called “smart pigging,” since 1992, although the western side had been checked in 1998 and was scheduled for a test this summer. Is it just me, or is 14 years and eight years just a little too long between inspections? Especially for a company that had profits of $22.6 billion last year.

PM is critical to the success of any type of business operation—hotels included. Without it, equipment in every area of the property becomes less energy efficient, water leaks go unnoticed and breakdowns occur. Capital costs rise unnecessarily, maintenance staff become reactive rather than proactive, and guests are inconvenienced—probably never to return to your property.

Having spoken with many engineers and hotel operators over the past several years, I learned that it is not uncommon for PM records to be kept on paper. Over time, these records get filed away, dirty, and it is time consuming to retrieve specific data. The result is that important items impacting energy efficiency are not checked consistently. Fortunately, there are systems available that automate the PM process to ensure consistent PM but they are only as good as the individuals who manage them.

After wild spikes in energy costs in recent years, proper PM has become even more important. Yet, many properties still neglect to implement effective programs. In every industry trade publication recently, there has been one story after another about how well our industry is doing. Is that one reason PM often falls by the wayside? Companies get too fat and happy to care? Hopefully, that is not the case at your company or hotel.

Preparing for Winter

To avoid King Kong-size utility bills this winter, there is still time to implement an effective PM program. Here are just a few checklist items to include:

• Check weather stripping and seals around all doors and windows, especially entryway doors.
• Check HVAC controls for proper calibration. Regularly change filters and replace insulation if necessary.
• Check air handlers consistently. Improperly maintained, they can waste up to 32 percent of the energy they consume.
• Check all electrical systems for loose connections or poor motor conditions.*

There are many other areas that should be checked. By implementing an effective PM program this winter, you can be sure that your energy costs will be kept low, the life span of your valuable equipment will be extended, labor and repair costs will be minimized, work orders will be closed in time, and guests and staff will stay comfortably warm and content.

By being proactive, there is a good chance your hotel will never experience the public relations disaster BP just experienced. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Odds and Ends

Green Lodging News welcomes greenhotelier as a Green Product Directory partner. greenhotelier is a quarterly publication published in the United Kingdom by the Tourism Partnership, the tourism program of The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum. It is targeted toward those who care about a more environmentally and socially responsible hotel industry and its contribution to sustainable travel and tourism.

* For additional energy-saving tips, check out the Money-Saving Tips section of Green Lodging News.

As always, your comments are welcome. Please write to Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor of Green Lodging News, at greenlodgingnews@aol.com.