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Small Steps, Big Impact: The Role of Preventative Maintenance in CO2 Reduction

October 23, 2023 by Guest Author

A groundbreaking legislation signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom imposes a comprehensive requirement on major corporations in California to divulge a diverse set of emissions contributing to global warming. This law, the most extensive of its kind across the nation, mandates over 5,300 companies with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, operating within California, to disclose both their direct and indirect emissions. This encompasses emissions stemming from various sources, such as running facilities or retail outlets, as well as emissions generated by activities like employee work-related travel and the transportation of their goods.

Pauil Phillips, CTO, Eptura
Author: Paul Phillips, CTO, Eptura

In light of this revolutionary development, the imperative for businesses to address their environmental impact has never been more pronounced. While many business leaders are willing to acknowledge their responsibilities and the associated expenses in reducing CO2 emissions, they grapple with the challenge of determining the most cost-effective actions for maximal impact. Buildings alone account for 39% of global carbon emissions, and although businesses can reap long-term economic benefits from reducing their carbon footprints, they encounter formidable obstacles in the form of initial high costs for investments in renewable energy, carbon offsetting, technology, and limited budgets hindering their path to achieving net-zero emissions.

Leveraging Data Insights for Energy Conservation

The era of enhanced data access has ushered in a transformative phase for businesses, offering an unprecedented opportunity to harness the power of information for the dual purpose of operational excellence and environmental responsibility. With an ever-growing repository of data at their disposal, companies now possess the means to delve into the intricacies of their operations and proactively address areas of improvement. This data-driven evolution extends to various facets of their operations, starting with the ability to measure desk utilization and occupancy rates. By analyzing this information, businesses can pinpoint underutilized spaces and devise strategies for optimizing energy consumption, reducing costs, and minimizing their carbon footprint.

Report: Eptura's 2023 Workplace Index report explains evolving maintenance practices & associated CO2 targets and costs.

Moreover, data-driven insights extend beyond office spaces. Organizations can now implement proactive equipment monitoring and management strategies, ensuring that machinery operates at peak efficiency throughout its lifespan. By closely tracking wear and tear, companies can schedule maintenance before issues escalate, thus extending the longevity of their equipment. This not only minimizes resource-intensive replacement cycles but also conserves energy, aligning perfectly with sustainability objectives.

In tandem with these data-driven initiatives, Eptura's recent report underscores a critical shift in maintenance practices. While the prevalence of reactive work orders has been historically high, signaling a predominantly 'fix it when it's broken' approach, businesses now recognize the potential of preventative maintenance. By transitioning towards proactive maintenance strategies, they can address equipment issues before they lead to costly breakdowns. When combined with other sustainability efforts, such as energy conservation measures, these improvements hold the promise of a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.

Strategic Preventative Maintenance for Sustainability

An effective preventative maintenance strategy involves creating a comprehensive inventory of assets and how critical they are to day-to-day business operations. By having this comprehensive understanding of their assets, organizations can then leverage data analytics and predictive maintenance tools effectively. With this data-driven approach, they can develop maintenance schedules, allocate resources, and train their teams more effectively, optimizing their preventative maintenance efforts.

This not only enhances operational efficiency but also ensures that resources are directed where they are needed most, based on the criticality of assets identified in the initial assessment. Additionally, organizations can further enhance their maintenance strategy by establishing performance metrics, monitoring asset conditions, fostering strong supplier relationships, conducting regular audits, and considering environmental factors, all of which contribute to a culture of continuous improvement in their maintenance practices.

Prioritizing preventative maintenance not only yields operational benefits but also plays a significant role in reducing carbon emissions. By maximizing asset uptime through regular inspections and maintenance, organizations can enhance their energy efficiency, thus lowering their overall carbon footprint. This, in turn, results in reduced downtime and the prevention of unexpected equipment failures, which not only conserves energy but also minimizes resource consumption during repair processes—aligning seamlessly with sustainability goals. Furthermore, proactive maintenance, guided by manufacturer best practices, extends the lifespan of equipment, ultimately reducing the demand for manufacturing and disposal of new machinery, which is closely tied to higher carbon emissions. In essence, a strong emphasis on preventative maintenance represents a strategic step toward adopting a greener and more environmentally responsible operational model.

In the face of evolving environmental challenges and the pressing need to curb carbon emissions, California's groundbreaking legislation serves as a catalyst for change, setting the stage for businesses to embrace innovative approaches and assume a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable future. As we enter an era where data-driven insights, preventative maintenance, and strategic resource allocation hold the promise of reducing environmental impact while enhancing operational efficiency, companies stand at the forefront of a transformative journey toward a greener and more responsible operational model. By aligning their strategies with the imperative for sustainability, businesses can navigate the obstacles and seize the opportunities presented by these developments, ultimately contributing to a healthier planet and a more prosperous future for all.

Author Paul Phillips is chief technology officer at Eptura, a provider of worktech solutions for people, workplaces and assets.

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