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Five HVAC Measures Your Facility Manager Should Implement

Five HVAC Measures Your Facility Manager Should Implement

A popular topic of discussion among building managers and facilities professionals these days is indoor air quality, and for good reason. A well-maintained HVAC system is critical to keep tenants, employees and customers comfortable, healthy and safe. However, it is especially important now as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Understandably, people are cautious about returning to the office. The CDC suggests a layered approach to reduce exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Below we have outlined measures that should be implemented in regard to HVAC protocols and how RWS can help to increase the safety of your employees and tenants.

  1. Assess your building’s indoor air quality and occupant safety.
    We provide comprehensive audits on energy and air quality in order to create a better, customized HVAC program.
  2. Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and provide acceptable indoor air quality for the current occupancy level for each space.
    It is paramount to successfully ensure ventilation is operating properly in order to displace pollutants.
  3. Rebalance or adjust HVAC systems to increase total airflow to occupied spaces when possible.
    An increase in airflow to occupied spaces generates more clean air and disperses potential pollutants.
  4. Improve central air filtration.
    It is of utmost importance to make sure air filters are properly sized and within their recommended service life. Then air filtration should be increased to as high as possible without significantly reducing design airflow.
  5. Inspect and maintain exhaust ventilation systems in areas such as kitchens, cooking areas, etc. Operate these systems any time these spaces are occupied. Consider operating them even when the specific space is not occupied, to increase overall ventilation within the occupied building.
    We can help you create a customized program that continues to work for you even after you have left the office.

Our subject matter experts have years of experience in all the steps you need to take to ensure your  HVAC systems align with all the recommended guidelines. When you partner with RWS, your safety is a priority; and like any true partnership we want to collaborate with you to reach the standards that ensure the safety of yourself and the occupants of your building.

What’s the Benefit of Commodity Recycling?

What’s the Benefit of Commodity Recycling?

By A.J. Dilenno, Sr. Director of Procurement, RWS Facility Services

The economic disruptions of COVID-19 have caused many restaurants and retail businesses to look for ways to cut costs and find new revenue streams. But many businesses don’t realize that up to 40% of their trash—from post-consumer plastics, such as hangers and water bottles, to metals to fibers, such as corrugated containers, office paper, newspaper, and even food grease—can be diverted from landfill to generate income. In my recent article in SupplyChainBrain, I outlined four ways to transform recycled waste into commodities gold.

You can start by giving your trash a closer look with regular waste audits. In a waste audit, a qualified team goes through everything in the compactor, separating your waste into different categories: corrugated cardboard, post-industrial and post-consumer plastics, glass, and so forth. From there, how much is Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and how much is recyclable commodities is calculated. The team then identifies potential places to sell the commodities and puts together a waste management plan.

Next, we suggest you reverse-engineer your waste stream to maximize volume and value. Recyclable commodities are usually generated and identified in two places, at the store level and at distribution centers. Retracing waste from distribution centers’ back to individual stores is one way to drive additional revenue. At RWS, we provide the tools to audit waste at each individual store and identify what is going in the compactor. We then help determine if consolidating waste from each store will increase the overall volume of commodities sold to buyers, seeing that buyers pay more for commodities sold in bulk.

Finally, it is vital to make sure the price is right for your scrap commodities. Businesses that have longstanding relationships with waste management vendors aren’t always maximizing the profits of their recyclable commodities. Even the most well-meaning companies can be complacent in informing their customers of pricing changes. To generate the most income from your scrap commodities, we recommend researching pricing when contracts with your waste services vendors come up for renewal.

Commodity recycling can be confusing because there are so many moving parts, but it doesn’t have to be. When you partner with a professional like RWS, we make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. We help you conduct a waste audit and identify valuable commodities, prepare a waste management plan, get the best price for your commodities and even train your staff in proper waste recycling.

Contact us today so we can assist you in generating new streams of revenue by transforming your recycled waste into commodities gold.

How to Achieve a Well-Designed Recycling Program for Your Multifamily Properties

How to Achieve a Well-Designed Recycling Program for Your Multifamily Properties

By Danica Sierra, National Account Executive, RWS Facility Services

For most multifamily property managers, increasing rental revenue and drawing tenants typically take priority over developing properties’ waste programs. However, when you properly configure disposal and recycling areas and invest in the right compactor, all of the above is possible. In my recent article in Yield Pro, I discussed how to optimize waste disposal in multifamily facilities. Here are three things I highlighted that were important to implement when optimizing waste disposal in multifamily facilities.

  1. Arguably the most important way to optimize waste disposal is by creating a sustainable waste program for the property. As urban areas become more congested, so do their landfills. Landfills are reaching capacity and many states are mandating that property owners divert as much waste from landfills as possible. The best way to avoid pricey overage fees as well as fines for non-compliance with regulations is by managing a program where waste is disposed in the most cost-effective way possible. Studies show that complexes that offer recycling options enable a property to charge a higher premium in rental rates than those that do not. Not only does recycling allow you to decrease your monthly spend on waste by diverting waste from landfills, but it can also improve a property’s net operating income by appealing to today’s environmentally conscious renters.
  2. Another way to optimize waste disposal is to use the right equipment for your property based on space constraints so that sanitation trucks can easily access dumpsters and compactors. When you invest in the right compactor it not only enhances waste disposal but also saves space. It is important to note, compactors vary by size and function. Evaluating your needs before investing in expensive equipment ensures the compactor chosen is right for the space and intended use.RWS Waste Managed Services can help in the decisions with an onsite audit that assists in determining proper spacing and equipment to meet the requirements of each location.
  1. Finally, the most efficient and cost-effective way to optimize waste disposal and contain costs at your multifamily housing complex is to seek advice. Contracting with a third party for waste material management can maximize recycling benefits and let you focus on improving quality of life for your tenants.

RWS Waste Managed Services provides support through every step of the process, from a baseline analysis to onsite oversight to efficient removal of waste materials and accurate billing. We eliminate the hassle of managing multiple vendors, multiple invoices and the burden of waste management. As a true partner, we take ownership of the entire program, making it possible to significantly decrease spend and achieve sustainable collection and disposal of waste. We invite you to contact us today to see what we can do to help you get control of unexpected costs while maintaining a clean, aesthetically pleasing environment.

Fall is the Perfect Season to Give Your Facility Some TLC

Fall is the Perfect Season to Give Your Facility Some TLC

By Ben Leake, director of operations, Eastern Territory, RWS Facility Services

As the days grow shorter and temperatures start to dip, businesses are getting ready for winter. Two seasonal tasks no business should neglect are conducting a visual inspection of your facility and performing preventive maintenance. As a commercial building, preparing your facility for the winter can help prevent minor issues from becoming major problems so you can enter 2021 prepared.

This year, commercial facilities face some additional complications thanks to COVID-19. With foot traffic and walk-in business slowing or stopping altogether, areas that once received plenty of attention may be underutilized, causing maintenance issues to go undetected. Staffing shortages created by layoffs have only added to this predicament, as fewer personnel are available to conduct inspections and make repairs. All of this makes addressing minor issues and heading off expensive repairs more important than ever.

In a recent article for Buildings Magazine, I wrote about the proactive steps you can take to prepare your property for the change in seasons, not to mention the challenges of operating a business during a global pandemic. Foremost among these steps is completing a thorough walkthrough of your facility. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of first inspecting your facility from top to bottom. Checking your roofs and windows, pipes and electrical systems will save a lot of money in the long run. Performing timely maintenance can also prevent accidents and other liability issues that can lead to lawsuits and fines.

However, performing a visual inspection is just the beginning. Once you’ve completed a walkthrough of your business site, you will need to address any areas that require attention and weatherproof your facility. For most buildings, weather proofing will involve cleaning up any debris, repairing those leaky pipes, replacing the batteries in your alarm system, and outfitting your HVAC units with new filters. If your facility has a lot of landscaping, you’ll also want to prepare your plantings for changes in the weather and repair any cracks in your walkways.

If you’re experiencing staff shortages or find the task of prepping your buildings for fall and winter more than a little daunting, you can also call in a facility services provider to manage these tasks for you. RWS offers a wide range of maintenance and repair services to keep your facility in prime working order, including HVAC maintenance, power washing, curb and sidewalk repair, landscaping, and roof and gutter cleaning. To learn more about what RWS has to offer, give us a call at 877-358-3402 or visit our website at www.rwsfacilityservices.com.

Four Ways Parking Lot Maintenance and Repairs Deliver Great ROI

Four Ways Parking Lot Maintenance and Repairs Deliver Great ROI

When an emergency like COVID-19 hits, the natural tendency is to place the maintenance and repair of property parking lots on the back burner and focus on economic survival. While the tendency to prioritize short-term economics is understandable, investing in the preventive maintenance and repair of your parking lot offers benefits that can ensure the long-term viability of your business.

In our recent article in Retail & Restaurant Facility Business, we shared deeper insights about the importance of parking. In this post, we’ll look at four ways a well-maintained parking lot delivers lasting ROI.

1. A well-tended parking lot increases the visual appeal and value of your property.

When most people think of “curb appeal,” they envision landscaping and building renovations. However, parking lot maintenance and repair play an important role in contributing to the overall visual appeal of your property. A parking lot filled with faded line striping and potholes can deter someone from renting a unit or buying your property before they ever set foot in your facility. By contrast, a well-maintained parking lot enhances the visual appeal of your property and increase its value.

2. Preventive maintenance and repairs will save you money.

Over time, your parking lot takes a beating from traffic and natural elements like the sun, rain, snow, and ice. During freeze and thaw cycles, oxidation can cause cracks in asphalt and the wear and tear of vehicles can worsen any underlying issues. Investing in asphalt patching and repair, sealcoating, and preventive concrete maintenance can extend the life of your parking lot by 10 to 15 years. When you factor in the permitting, materials, and labor costs associated with installing a new parking lot, spending money to reseal your asphalt every two to three years is a bargain that can save you several thousand dollars over the life of your parking lot.

3. Proper maintenance helps you comply with accessibility regulations and local ordinances.

Over time, the paint on parking lines can fade, leading to poor visibility and non-compliance with municipal and federal regulations. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires businesses to make spaces that are open to the public accessible to persons with disabilities and that includes parking lots. Local ordinances lay out additional requirements for the width, markings, and placement of fire lanes. Restriping parking lines every 1-2 years and replacing signage will ensure that your parking lot remains compliant with the ADA and municipal requirements.

4. Having a well-maintained parking lot is a safety issue

Ensuring the safety of tenants and visitors is probably the most important reason for keeping your parking lot in good repair. According to a study by the Independent Insurance Brokers of America, 1 in 5 motor vehicle accidents occur in parking lots and 13% of parking lot events involve pedestrian fatalities. Making sure your parking lot has bright, newly painted lines will increase the visibility of parking spaces, speed bumps, loading zones, and other areas, while Installing speed bumps and signs can reduced distracted and reckless driving. Eliminating cracks and potholes will further reduce the potential for accidents and protect your business from personal injury lawsuits.

As a property owner or manager, you have a duty of care to provide a parking lot that is safe, accessible, and convenient. If you are looking for a service provider to maintain your parking lot, RWS offers comprehensive services, including asphalt patching and repair, sealcoating, concrete maintenance, installation of speed bumps, adding or improving accessibility markings, and seasonal contracts for snow plowing, salting, and shoveling. Whether you’re looking to repair a neglected parking lot or invest in preventive maintenance, our parking lot services deliver a return on investment that can drive the economic health of your business for years to come.

For more information about parking, sweeping, line striping and repair services from RWS, download a PDF here.

Give Your Building a Lift in Visual Appeal and Preserved Property Values with Power Washing

Give Your Building a Lift in Visual Appeal and Preserved Property Values with Power Washing

Over time, dirt, mildew, graffiti, even chewing gum can take the shine off commercial buildings, leaving them looking run-down and poorly maintained. What’s worse, corrosive agents like mildew can cause lasting damage and unsightly grime can really depress the value of your property. In a previous post, we discussed how proper maintenance of curbs, sidewalks, and gutters can increase the visual appeal of property at an affordable price point. Along with maintaining curbs, sidewalks and gutters, simply power washing your buildings can go a long way toward enhancing the visual appeal of your property and protecting your financial investment.

Many people use the terms power washing and pressure washing interchangeably, but there is an important difference between these two procedures. Whereas power washing uses heated water to get rid of all that dirt, mildew, and other grime, pressure washing uses cold water. Other than that, the equipment, water pressure and cleaning agents used in power washing and pressure washing are almost identical. However, the use of heated water gives power washing the edge when it comes to removing particularly stubborn grime and hard-to clean surfaces.

For property owners and facility managers who want to take on power washing themselves, many home supply stores offer equipment to rent or buy. However, there are some real benefits to hiring professionals, particularly for large-scale commercial properties. One of the biggest advantages is safety. Professionals are trained to use safe practices and have the right protective equipment to minimize injury and prevent property damage. Moreover, most power and pressure washing service providers carry insurance to cover injuries and property damage when accidents do happen.

Going with professionals can also make a big difference when it comes to complying with environmental regulations. The federal Clean Water Act makes it illegal to discharge industrial wastewater into storm drains or creeks, streams, and other natural water bodies and many states such as Ohio and California have their own regulations. EPA fines for violating the Clean Water Act can top $50,000 per violation, making non-compliance a very expensive proposition. Hiring a professional with knowledge of local, state, and federal environmental regulations can head off potential citations and costly penalties.

At RWS, our Power Washing National Service Program provides a cost-effective way to remove built-up dirt and keep your buildings sparkling clean and in good repair. An added benefit to working with a company like RWS is the cost savings you can realize by bundling maintenance and cleaning services. By using a single service provider to do power washing, maintain your curbs, sidewalks, and gutters, and manage your waste disposal, you can realize significant savings in maintenance costs.  We’ll even run a cost analysis to show the return on investment you can realize by using RWS for your interior and exterior facility needs.

If you’re looking for ways to extend the life of your buildings, boost property values, and impress prospective tenants and investors, power washing is an excellent option.

For more information about power washing services from RWS, download our PDF of services here.

More than Just Beauty – The Many Benefits of Landscaping

More than Just Beauty – The Many Benefits of Landscaping

When people think about the value of landscaping, curb appeal is often the first thing that comes to mind.

In a previous post, we talked about how visual impact can influence real estate purchasing and rental decisions. In addition to providing that curb appeal, landscaping can enhance the safety and sustainability of your property. However, to realize these benefits, it’s important to consider layout, the types of soil and plantings you are using, and to maintain your landscaping on a regular basis. In our recent article for Facility Executive magazine we shared more in depth insights about the essential benefits of landscaping. We share a few other important considerations below.

Beyond beauty you will find safety and sustainability

There’s no question that a well-designed landscape can beautify a commercial property. Flowers and shrubs add a pop of color and variety while concealing functional but unsightly elements like air conditioning units, electricity meters, and water pipes. Shade trees provide cool, sheltered places to sit and walk, and lighting can provide a focal point for eye-catching design elements.

Many of the features that enhance curb appeal also perform important safety functions. Lighting reduces accidents by increasing visibility at night and directing the flow of traffic. A good landscape design improves access to emergency vehicles by providing open, drivable spaces as well as proper drainage and run-off to prevent standing water, which can attract bugs and increase the potential for slips and falls. Certain kinds of plants—like rosebushes—placed in strategic locations can even deter crime.

Landscaping also enhances the sustainability of your property. Shade trees reduce the need for air conditioning and prevent soil erosion, while a little organic mulch extends the life of your plants by retaining moisture. Microbes in certain kinds of soil reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Decreased energy consumption isn’t just good for the environment; it also lowers operating costs and offsets the expense involved in launching green initiatives.

Good planning and maintenance are important

For all the virtues of landscaping, there are some challenges that managers of commercial properties need to keep in mind. Before you invest in plants and design features, evaluate site conditions like the availability of water and sunlight and any local ordinances or other restrictions. Choosing the right plants and design makes a big difference in terms of drainage, pest control, and affordability, so you need to get a realistic assessment of your property’s features.

Even the best landscaping design won’t stay that way for long unless you properly maintain your plants. Removing leaf litter and debris is essential to keeping plants healthy, promoting good drainage and run-off, and preventing accidents. Inspecting trees for tell-tale signs of insect damage can stop an infestation from spreading to other trees. Regular inspections will also tell you whether your plants are receiving adequate sun and water. In addition, ongoing maintenance allows you to switch things up throughout the year to coincide with the holidays and other seasonal changes.

When looking for a landscaping vendor, it’s important to select a company that understands the unique requirements of your region in terms of climate, local ordinances, and other factors. Engaging a vendor that offers a full complement of facility services offers additional benefits, like consolidated billing, that can streamline property maintenance.

Managing a commercial property involves a lot of moving pieces. Investing in the right landscaping and finding a service provider who can maintain your investment is one important step you can take to increase the beauty, safety and sustainability of your property.

Click here to download a PDF with more information on landscaping services from RWS.

Make Plumbing Maintenance and Repairs Part of Your Facility Management Strategy

Make Plumbing Maintenance and Repairs Part of Your Facility Management Strategy

All too often, people wait until an emergency to address their plumbing needs. However, adopting a more proactive approach to plumbing as part of a comprehensive facility management strategy can provide significant convenience and cost savings.

Anybody who has faced an overflowing toilet or the gurgling of water from hard-to-reach pipes knows the sinking feeling that accompanies a plumbing emergency. From standing water to bad smells, plumbing problems can inspire panic and visions of skyrocketing repair bills. For property owners and facility managers, getting on top of plumbing repairs can’t be an afterthought, because you are responsible for the well-being of every person who comes on your property.

When addressing plumbing problems, there are two lines of attack—snaking and hydro-jetting. Snakes are long metal tubes, also known as plumbing augers, with blades or a corkscrew auger attached to one end. Using a hand crank, the plumber inserts the snake into the blocked drain or toilet to remove clogs.

While snakes are often a good option for minor to moderate clogs, hydro-jetting offers a more powerful solution for more stubborn stoppages. Hydro-jetting uses special nozzles attached to machines that pressurize water. The nozzle directs a high-powered stream of water into the clogged area to remove the stoppage. Because hydro-jetting can cause further damage if you’re dealing with burst or cracked pipes, plumbers insert a small camera into the clogged area before applying the treatment. For this reason, while some snaking jobs can be done by laypeople, hydro-jetting is best left to professionals.

At best, clogged sinks and backed up toilets are messy inconveniences. At worst, black water contamination from damaged pipes and sewer mains pose a very real health hazard. Under the circumstances, the temptation to hire a plumber and call it a day is understandable. However, adopting a more proactive approach to plumbing as part of your comprehensive facility management strategy can provide significant convenience and cost savings in the long run. For example, a facility service company with qualified plumbing professionals can analyze your property and recommend the most advanced and cost-efficient solutions for a needed repair or preventive maintenance.

If you decide to engage a facility service provider, it’s important to find a company that can provide on demand service in case something goes wrong. The last thing you want is to leave a voice mail and wait for help to arrive. Service area is another important consideration. At the very least, you need a service provider with a local presence who can deploy a team to your facility as quickly as possible. For companies that operate multiple facilities in different regions, having a service provider with a national footprint can provide responsive service no matter where your facilities are located.

Another big advantage of engaging a facility service company is the ability to address multiple maintenance needs through a single provider. For example, RWS offers grease trap cleaning, power washing, junk removal, HVAC repair and maintenance, and much more in addition to plumbing services. This kind of one-stop shop offers convenience as well as reduced costs from bundling services.

Investing in ongoing plumbing maintenance and repairs as part of an overall facility management strategy makes sound business sense, providing convenience, peace of mind and savings that are tough to beat.

For more information about plumbing maintenance and repair services from RWS, download our PDF here.

 

Got Junk? Sustainable Waste Disposal Programs Can Solve Your Trash Woes

Got Junk? Sustainable Waste Disposal Programs Can Solve Your Trash Woes

If you are a property owner or facilities manager, sooner or later you’re going to have to deal with unwanted junk. Maybe you have a construction project winding up and need to get rid of debris or you’re landscaping your property and have a small mountain of yard waste sitting on your property. Perhaps you’re a landlord trying to unload an unwanted refrigerator or abandoned furniture.

If any of these scenarios ring a bell, you’ve got plenty of company. Each year, the US generates approximately 220 million tons of trash. That amounts to 2.1 kg of trash per person per day and that figure is expected to rise by 2025. Moreover, while most local sanitation companies can readily remove everyday trash, they may not take bulkier items or hazardous wastes.

All too often, facilities must fend for themselves when hauling and disposing of junk and without the right equipment, this can be a grueling task. What’s more, unless you have personnel trained in the proper procedures for lifting and transporting heavy items, your workers can seriously injure themselves or other people. The problem becomes even more acute when you’re dealing with items that contain hazardous wastes, which can lead to corrosive burns, breathing problems, and other health problems.

The patchwork of local, state, and federal regulations for waste disposal add another layer of complexity to junk removal. The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) lays out requirements for disposing of hazardous wastes, but gives states broad discretion for managing nonhazardous, industrial and municipal solid waste. On top of state and federal regulations, local ordinances dictate which items can be recycled or taken to the local landfill. Knowing where and how to get rid of junk can be confusing but failing to comply with environmental regulations can take a big bite out of your budget in the form of fines and other penalties.

Resolving operational challenges is only part of the problem. America’s trash problem is reaching critical mass, with the number of landfills projected to reach capacity in less than 18 years. Although recycling programs have taken up some of the slack, they only process 35% of overall waste. Waste that doesn’t get recycled or end up in landfills is often incinerated, which can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle junk removal by yourself. Many companies will haul unwanted items for a fee, but don’t always dispose of junk in an eco-friendly way. RWS offers a comprehensive junk removal program that includes experienced technicians to help you design, implement, and manage a recycling and waste program. Our U.S. based National Call Center is staffed 24/7/365 to manage thousands of service requests and deliver timely services at low national rates.

If junk removal is becoming a burden, consider hiring a professional to manage your waste disposal. The right service provider can help you negotiate the complex web of environmental regulations while disposing of your junk in an eco-friendly, sustainable way.

For more information about junk removal services from RWS, download our PDF on Sustainable Junk Removal here.

How and Why to Keep Your Grease Traps Clean

How and Why to Keep Your Grease Traps Clean

In the right context, grease can be the key ingredient to some truly delicious meals—think mouthwatering fried chicken and crispy bacon. However, for operators of large-scale and commercial kitchens, grease can wreak havoc if you’re not keeping your grease trap cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Left untended, those fats, oils and greases congeal into a semi-solid mass filled with food and other debris that can make cleaning your grease trap a real chore.

While you might be tempted to put off cleaning your grease trap, neglecting this task is risky. When grease accumulates, it can clog drainage pipes, obstruct the flow of wastewater and cause sewage to back up. Left untended, accumulated grease can pollute public waste systems and the septic tank attached to your business. In addition, grease can attract flies and vermin and draw the ire of neighboring residents and businesses. Before you know it, you may be dealing with complaints to local health agencies, inspections, and fines for violations of environmental laws.

Running afoul of municipal and state agencies for non-compliance can add up to fines ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand per violation depending on your jurisdiction. When you factor in bad press and negative word of mouth from repeated environmental and health violations, neglecting your grease trap is more trouble than it’s worth.

Investing in preventive maintenance makes sense from a financial perspective. The cost of repairing clogged drainage pipes and pumping septic tanks can add hundreds of dollars to your annual budget. Businesses have two choices when it comes to cleaning grease traps. You can either go the DIY route or hire a professional. While DIY options might seem like a less expensive alternative, it’s not always a viable solution. Establishments may not have the proper equipment to properly clean grease traps and dispose of the waste.

If you’ve been putting off cleaning your grease traps, consider bringing in a professional team to handle the dirty work. Keeping your traps running smoothly eliminates unnecessary costs and any risk with health regulations. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re in compliance is worth every penny.

For information on grease trap cleaning from RWS, download a PDF here.