For facilities managers, technology can help drive down the total cost of ownership by identifying underutilized capital and reallocating resources. But, more and more facilities managers are using software in new and innovative ways.

Some facilities are using technology to manage data related to environmental and sustainability goals while others aim to carry BIM (building information modeling) throughout the lifecycle of a structure for ongoing commissioning. Another technology capability managers can implement today is integration between facilities-management software and GIS (geographic information systems).

As an example, ARCHIBUS Inc., www.archibus.com, Boston, Mass., offers a suite of applications for facilities management. Its solution includes a number of environmental and risk-management applications to help achieve environmental-certification goals; environmental sustainability assessment to measure performance indicators and reduce carbon footprint; energy management; and even emergency preparedness.

The software integrates with BIM—carrying the information developed during design and construction through commissioning and lifecycle management. The technology can also link with GIS (geographical information systems) applications—allowing business decisions to be made using geospatial information such as proximity to transportation, utility infrastructure location, zoning restrictions, environmental and safety compliance, and proximity to potential markets.

Recently, the company released ARCHIBUS V.20.1, the latest version of its software with a new suite of applications within its environmental and risk-management domain, as well as improved BIM integration, commissioning, and space-transaction management, among other enhancements.

New applications that fall within environmental/risk mitigation include clean building and waste management, which will help companies identify and track hazardous materials, plus provide auditable processes for managing and reducing waste streams.

Other new applications include environmental health and safety, which tracks and manages workplace incidents and other safety-related processes to avoid fines and liability; plus material safety data sheets, which streamline the handling of data related to hazardous substances to minimize regulatory-compliance costs.

Facility staffs are increasingly looking to technology to manage the plethora of data that exists related to a building. Having software in place ensures critical information, such as environmental and BIM data, is maintained throughout the lifecycle of a building.