CLS Facility Services’ Blog
Welcome to the CLS Facilities Services’ Blog! Thank you for choosing us as a facility services resource.
This blog takes a look at many topics that concern facility managers across the country, such as: HVAC, electrical, energy management, lighting, plumbing and project management. We update this blog at least once per month, so we hope that you’ll visit often. If you have any questions that aren’t addressed directly on the blog, you can always call us at 800-548-3542 or use our contact form.
Posted by CLS Admin on May 01, 2017
In Part I of our three-part series on asset management, we explained what separates decent facilities asset management from great asset management—and how that affects your facility maintenance budget. As we said, any facility maintenance company should provide great service if they hope to compete for your business
Posted by CLS Admin on March 30, 2017
You’re probably hearing a lot about asset management these days. That’s all fine and well, but what does it mean to you as a facility manager—and more importantly, why does it matter?
Posted by CLS Admin on February 16, 2017
There are dozens and dozens of options to green a store or facility—from integrating solar technologies where appropriate, to installing energy management systems (EMS), cladding rooftops with specialty turf products, installing efficient plumbing systems, and much more.
Posted by CLS Admin on January 06, 2017
Well, here we are, perched at 2017’s doorstep. As we move past the busy holiday season, we at CLS Facility Services have but one simple question for facility managers like you:
Are your signs ready to rock in 2017?
Posted by CLS Admin on November 22, 2016
December is crunch time for retailers, and facility managers are pressed to ensure that all stores are functioning optimally in every way possible. You don’t have time to worry about whether a scheduled service call – or certainly an emergency call – is being handled properly, let alone handled at all.
Posted by CLS Admin on November 18, 2016
Don’t look now, but Black Friday is right around the corner. Any bricks-and-mortar retailer will tell you that on this busiest shopping day of the year, everything in and about the store must be perfect, from product displays, signage and lighting to the HVAC system that maintains a comfortable and welcoming environment.
From an HVAC standpoint, stores on Black Friday must be comfortable, and units must be ready to function optimally, even in times of peak shopper traffic. In terms of lighting and electrical, all lights must work—there should be no breaker issues and no lamp outages. Likewise, signage – inside and out – must be 100 percent functional.
For facility managers, you are indeed entering crunch time. And when crunch time hits this Friday (or Thursday evening, for some retailers), you need to have your team – we call it your extended network – in place, ready to respond quickly wherever and whenever issues arise.
Posted by CLS Admin on October 25, 2016
If we were to assemble a few dozen facility maintenance professionals in a room and ask those who expect larger operating budgets for 2017 to raise their hands, chances are pretty good we’d see few, if any, hands in the air.
If we then asked those same facility managers who among them will be tasked with slashing their facility management budgets for 2017 by five to 10 percent and still provide the same levels of service, we’d probably see lots of those hands being raised.
Posted by CLS Admin on October 25, 2016
In previous blogs, we at CLS Facility Services have provided strategies and tips for ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of HVAC, lighting and electrical, signage and EMS systems throughout each of your stores.
In this two-part “mini-series,” we want to touch on some strategies to cut your facility maintenance budget for 2017.
Posted by CLS Admin on October 04, 2016
In our previous blogs on LED (light emitting diode) retrofits, we heralded LEDs as today’s standard for lighting efficiency, and we identified the benefits of lighting retrofit projects for a variety of retail and commercial buildings. More expensive to purchase than traditional lamps LED lighting first cost can be recouped – many times over, thanks to their long lifespan and efficient use of energy.
Posted by CLS Admin on September 22, 2016
In Part I of our three-part series on LEDs (light emitting diodes), we heralded LEDs as today’s standard for lighting efficiency, and we identified the benefits of lighting retrofit projects for a variety of retail and commercial buildings. In Part II, we offered strategies for planning a lighting retrofit process, and then implementing it. Now, in Part III, we’d like to suggest some strategies for fitting the right kinds of lighting to particular interior and exterior commercial spaces.
Posted by CLS Admin on August 25, 2016
In our last blog on LEDs (light emitting diodes), we heralded LEDs as today’s standard for lighting efficiency, and we identified the benefits of lighting retrofit projects for a variety of retail and commercial buildings. If you’re interested in taking the next step, we’d like to offer strategies for planning a lighting retrofit process, and then implementing it.
Posted by CLS Admin on August 16, 2016
A lighting retrofit is a superb opportunity for your business to reap thousands of dollars in energy and maintenance savings, while also realizing the benefits that more well-lit stores and facilities provide. If you’ve been considering an LED lighting retrofit, or waiting for the right time to kick it off, we have one message for you: DON’T DELAY ANY LONGER!
Posted by CLS Admin on July 25, 2016
We hope you’ve found the first three installments in our series, “Selecting the Right Vendor to Service Your Stores” informative and helpful. For our fourth and final installment, we want to tie everything together by summarizing some of the key points we made in Parts I, II and III.
Posted by CLS Admin on July 07, 2016
We hope you’ve found the first two installments in our series, “Selecting the Right Vendor to Service Your Stores” informative and helpful. Now, we want to focus this installment on reporting and data management. This information process is often the deciding factor in determining how successful you as a facility manager are in running a smooth operation and staying within your budgetary parameters.
Posted by CLS Admin on June 28, 2016
In Part II of our blog series, we’ll share some strategies to use when testing the vendor you select to see whether they do the job right.
We say “testing” because the decision you make in selecting a vendor is a big one, no matter if you have 10 stores or 1,000.
Posted by CLS Admin on June 07, 2016
As a commercial facility manager, it’s up to you to determine which vendor is best qualified to handle your national maintenance and repair requirements.
Lots of companies provide maintenance and repair for HVAC, electrical, signage, plumbing and other building systems. When it comes to managing maintenance and repairs at multiple locations, choosing the right vendor is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make in your job. The right provider will save you time, headaches and of course, money. Choose the wrong vendor, and the costs can add up quickly.
To help aid your decision-making process, we’re presenting a three-part series, entitled Selecting the Right Vendor to Service Your Stores. In this installment, we’ll highlight some important criteria to consider as you devise and implement your selection process.
Posted by CLS Admin on March 22, 2016
Ah, spring. Let us once again behold the beauty of life renewed – the flowers in bloom, the birds chirping merrily, the trees with their crisp green leaves swaying gently in the breeze, and warm winds that point the way to long summer days. Spring brings all this…and of course, it also casts a spotlight on the many maintenance challenges that have built up inside and outside your retail stores over the long, dark, cold, fall weather months.
Posted by CLS Admin on February 23, 2016
Your sign resides in a sea of signs. It’s the first impression your business makes on visitors; it tells them who you are, showcases your logo and points them to your store. It invites them inside, and it sets the table for what everyone involved hopes is a pleasant and productive visit. In all likelihood, it’s one of the primary components of your business’ brand.
Posted by CLS Admin on January 27, 2016
As companies pursue new business partners for their facility maintenance needs, one common way to find the best partnership is to launch a ‘Request for Proposal’ (RFP). This process allows companies to evaluate multiple potential candidates for services, gather the information they need, and find the best potential fit.
Posted by CLS Admin on November 20, 2015
Consider a hypothetical scenario: Let’s say you have three dozen retail stores located throughout the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Each of those stores has signage, both inside the building and outside of it. Some signs are big, like the ones outside that announce your company name and logo. Some are small, like the exit signs throughout your interior spaces.
Posted by CLS Admin on October 20, 2015
In our previous blog post on commercial lighting retrofits, we identified benefits of lighting retrofit projects for a variety of retail and commercial buildings. In this post, we’d like to offer some strategies for planning a lighting retrofit process, and then implementing it successfully.
Posted by CLS Admin on September 08, 2015
Disaster can strike your business at any moment, be it a flood, thunderstorm, high winds or other weather-related events. When that moment arrives, electrical service to your business’ mission-critical systems could potentially be knocked out – for minutes, hours, even days or weeks.
If that occurs, will your business – and all the systems that support it – be equipped to continue operating in the short term, until permanent repairs can be made?
Posted by CLS Admin on August 19, 2015
In recent years, energy-efficient T-8 lighting technologies were prominently used for lighting retrofit projects inside and outside commercial buildings and facilities. Over relatively short periods of time, the energy savings from these T-8 lamps paid for themselves, and that, in turn, helped companies recoup retrofit project costs in relatively short order.
Posted by CLS Admin on July 01, 2015
At CLS Facility Services, clients and prospects often ask us questions about evolving efficiencies in the world of HVAC. Do newer units run more efficiently than their predecessors of just a few years ago? Are they more environmentally friendly? Could the cost of replacing my HVAC units be offset by the potential energy savings from new units?
Posted by CLS Admin on June 02, 2015
We hope that you found part one of our series on evaluating HVAC estimates helpful. In part two, we tackle a couple more common questions you may have.
Posted by CLS Admin on June 02, 2015
You probably know the drill by now. As the cooling season heats up, contractor estimates come across your desk seemingly every day. In each case, you want to make sure that you’re getting the right service at the right price – especially with dozens or even hundreds of locations under your management. What to do?
Posted by CLS Admin on March 19, 2015
As the old saying goes, ‘The devil lives in the details,’ and facility management is no exception. Indeed, details about every facet of facility management matter – a lot.
Posted by CLS Admin on March 10, 2015
If you manage facilities for a retail chain with stores located throughout the country, how are you hiring contractors to service HVAC and other critical building systems in each location? What’s your process?
Posted by CLS Admin on March 02, 2015
How do you quality control (QC) a service when an HVAC vendor performs a preventive maintenance (PM) program on a rooftop unit (RTU) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama – particularly when you can’t be on site to view that PM being performed? How do you know that you’re getting what you’re paying for?
Posted by CLS Admin on January 30, 2015
As a facility manager, you get service quotes every day – for windows, doors, plumbing, roofing, air conditioners and more. You name it, the quotes keep coming in; they never seem to stop. So if you oversee hundreds or even thousands of stores, how do you decide which quotes are critical, and which aren’t?
Posted by CLS Admin on January 30, 2015
In our last post, we talked about the challenges of designing and implementing a thorough HVAC preventive maintenance (PM) program, and we highlighted CLS Facility Services’ PM Logic® as a solution to this critical facility management challenge.
Posted by CLS Admin on January 30, 2015
Like any piece of equipment or machinery, HVAC equipment must be maintained and cared for. Certainly, that encompasses the basic tasks associated with most preventive maintenance (PM). But it also means accounting for the universe of variables that affect HVAC unit performance, then analyzing data, and making smart decisions based on your analysis. That may not seem overly challenging if you manage a dozen or so stores. But if you manage hundreds or even thousands of stores, small decisions add up to big expenditures.
Posted by CLS Admin on December 17, 2014
In our last post, we looked back at some of our reader’s favorite blog posts from the past year. Once you’ve had a chance to review those blogs, and you want to learn more, we’d like to recommend one of the e-books that we’ve developed over the past year.
Posted by CLS Admin on December 17, 2014
Now that 2014 is coming to a close, we wanted to take a few moments to look back on the year here at the CLS Facility Services Blog.
A Cloud-Based Energy Management System Adds Up to Lower Operating Costs, Greater Energy Savings and Better Unit Performance
Posted by CLS Admin on November 17, 2014
Until recently, low-cost EMS was too expensive for most retailers with stores under 20,000 square feet to purchase. But costs have dropped significantly. Now, it’s well within reach for nearly any retail location — for about the cost of a programmable thermostat.
Posted by CLS Admin on November 13, 2014
Cloud-based Energy Management Systems (EMS). We know you’ve heard about EMS—in fact, we’ve blogged about it before, and while it’s still not prevalent among small- to medium-sized retailers just yet, it will be—and sooner than you may think.
Posted by CLS Admin on October 09, 2014
In our last installment, we made the case for analyzing and assessing your preventive maintenance (PM) program as we head into the heating season. Now, we want to provide you with links to some general PM heating season checklists, as well as start-up strategies for various heating sources and other important information.
Posted by CLS Admin on October 09, 2014
Some people believe that cooling is the most critical function of an HVAC unit. After all, what’s more miserable than a hot store in August?
The answer: Not much. But a cold store in December is miserable, too. Frankly, customers are just as likely to avoid a cold store in December as they would the hot store in August.
Posted by CLS Admin on September 16, 2014
In our last installment, we made the case for doing reconnaissance on your HVAC strategy by evaluating your entire HVAC inventory, as well as your HVAC service provider. As part of that evaluation, we suggest you use some relevant numbers to develop a simple ratio — albeit one with deep implications. To do this, ask yourself, for every dollar you spend on Preventive Maintenance (PM) in a given year, how many dollars are you spending on HVAC repairs (excluding replacement costs)?
Posted by CLS Admin on September 11, 2014
Fall has arrived. For facility managers like you, the summertime HVAC wars are finally over. You’re battle-tested, probably bruised and weary, but certainly wiser for it all. Whatever wounds you may have incurred as temperatures soared and HVAC problems mounted, everyone – you, your facility and your tenants – survived. Your work is not yet over, though. Don’t just wave goodbye to summer and be done with it. Now – right now – is a valuable opportunity to do reconnaissance on your HVAC strategy.
Posted by CLS Admin on August 18, 2014
A sound preventive maintenance (PM) program can help to ensure that HVAC equipment runs smoothly and efficiently. That said, unit breakdowns do occur, and if cooling is needed until that time when your unit gets fixed or replaced, know that portable cooling (also known as temporary cooling) solutions are available to you.
Posted by CLS Admin on August 12, 2014
When most people think of August, they think…hot. From coast to coast, north and south, it’s critical to keep interior spaces cool during these dog days of summer. Not surprisingly, August’s heat can tax HVAC systems, sometimes to the point of causing malfunctions, component breakdowns or even system failures.
Posted by CLS Admin on July 14, 2014
In our previous post, we mentioned that the primary function of HVAC cloud EMS is measuring temperature deltas and sending alerts about potential issues. But it also measures run and cycle times which, in the end, actually creates a profile of the health of your unit. With HVAC cloud EMS, you can go online, zero in and see how many times a unit cycled, the health of the unit, its age, and the delta of the air temperature and the temp.
Posted by CLS Admin on July 11, 2014
In our last post, we highlighted HVAC cloud EMS as an indispensable tool for keeping repair and replacement costs in check, avoiding disastrous downtime in stores, and managing energy costs. Now, let’s look at what HVAC cloud EMS is comprised of, how it works, and how this saves you money and headaches.
Posted by CLS Admin on July 10, 2014
Just a few years ago, if we told you that, for the price of a programmable commercial thermostat, you could buy and install a cloud Energy Management System (EMS) for an HVAC unit, and save big-time on repair and energy costs by doing so, you probably wouldn’t believe us.
You’d be right, because just a few years ago, cloud EMS for HVAC was too pricey for most retailers with stores under 20,000 square feet to consider. But as technology has evolved, HVAC cloud EMS has evolved as well, and costs have dropped significantly.
Posted by CLS Admin on June 06, 2014
We’re concluding our 13 Questions series with the last three questions that you as a facilities manager should pose to a vendor that you’re considering for your national HVAC work.
Posted by CLS Admin on June 05, 2014
Next up, we’re covering questions 8-10 in our series on choosing a national HVAC service provider.
As we wrote in our previous blogs, these questions can help you get a better gauge on who is best qualified to handle HVAC maintenance and repair requirements at each of your locations.
Posted by CLS Admin on May 22, 2014
In this installment, we’re continuing with more of the 13 questions you should pose to a vendor that you’re considering for your national HVAC work. These questions can help you, as a commercial facility manager, understand who is best qualified to handle HVAC maintenance and repair requirements at each of your locations.
Posted by CLS Admin on May 07, 2014
The number 13 is traditionally viewed as unlucky. But in the world of HVAC, it can be a real benefit to you. That’s because 13 key questions can help you, as a commercial facility manager, understand which vendor is best qualified to handle your national HVAC maintenance and repair requirements.
Posted by CLS Admin on March 03, 2014
Trends in HVAC aren’t really much different than trends that affect the present and future performance of other building systems. The cost of petroleum and other energy sources has risen in recent years, and will likely continue to rise well into the future.
Posted by CLS Admin on February 28, 2014
In our last installment, we explained the value of a planned rooftop unit replacement program. If you agree with our rationale (and we hope you do), then the next step entails building a program for your unit or units. This blog includes some tips to consider as you think through and develop your program.
Posted by CLS Admin on February 26, 2014
No rooftop HVAC unit (RTU) lasts forever. Sooner or later, it will need to be replaced. When that day comes – and it will, you as a facility manager will find yourself in one of two situations: 1) prepared, which means you planned this replacement in advance, budgeted for it and maximized the equipment and labor savings associated with it; or 2) unprepared, which brings with it some unpleasant consequences.
Posted by CLS Admin on February 14, 2014
As we work our way through the unusually cold and snowy winter of 2013/2014 here in the Midwest, we’ve seen the thermometer plunge below zero several times for extended periods. If your unit malfunctions or fails during the cold winter months – and these brutal cold snaps in particular – you can’t afford to be without heat while parts are ordered, entire units are shipped, or technicians work through other appointments before getting to yours. You need heat now.
Posted by CLS Admin on January 14, 2014
Types of HVAC Filters
There are a wide variety of filters that have special applications. Here's some information to help you select the right filter for the right application.
Posted by CLS Admin on January 06, 2014
The word ‘filter’ shouldn’t leave much to the imagination. It’s truth in advertising. A filter…filters.
And that’s a good thing for everyone concerned. In the realm of HVAC, filters matter big-time. When they’re clean and working properly, they keep HVAC units running smoothly and efficiently, saving building owners and managers’ time and money. They also keep indoor environments clean from dust, mold, dirt and other contaminants.
Posted by CLS Admin on December 10, 2013
In concluding our blog series on lighting retrofits, we want to recap the many benefits of these projects, including some of the hidden benefits that are often overlooked. Though energy savings will always be the driving force behind lighting retrofit projects, additional benefits are numerous and substantial.
Posted by CLS Admin on December 02, 2013
At CLS Facility Services, we talk with building owners and managers every day. In the course of our conversations, we find that many owners and managers view lighting retrofits as primarily interior projects. Exterior retrofits, it turns out, are often overlooked.
Posted by CLS Admin on November 21, 2013
When it comes to interior lighting retrofits, the cost of waiting can quickly add up. With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quickly phasing out T12 ballasts and lamps, those
outdated technologies seem to cost companies more money each day.
Posted by CLS Admin on November 19, 2013
Return on Investment – ROI, as it’s commonly known. For many companies, financial analysts, and even homeowners, it’s the key metric used to gauge the merits of a potential investment.
ROI is a quantitative measure – it’s a bottom-line number that serves an important decision-making purpose. Here at CLS Facility Services, we use ROI all the time. But, many decisions, in business and in life, aren’t based on only one measure. Lighting retrofit projects are a prime example of this.
Posted by CLS Admin on November 14, 2013
Individual actions, when viewed individually and collectively, contribute to a greener world. And one of the things that can help everyone – businesses and homeowners alike – take steps toward a greener world is lighting retrofits.
Posted by CLS Admin on October 22, 2013
Several common terms in the realm of commercial lighting are used frequently. In this post, we’ll define these terms for you.
Posted by CLS Admin on October 15, 2013
We think there’s no better way to save on energy costs, and ensure the smooth, long-lasting operation of your HVAC equipment, than by maintaining a sound preventive maintenance (PM) program for your rooftop unit (RTU) or units.
Posted by CLS Admin on October 02, 2013
When the temperature outside drops, the heat is on – literally and figuratively. For building managers, colder weather signals the time to begin heating the buildings they manage.
Posted by CLS Admin on September 24, 2013
It may seem a little odd to begin a blog post titled “Preparing for the Heating Season” by talking about air conditioning. Yet commercial buildings place constant demands on the systems that run them, and air conditioning is no exception. Equally notable, you can learn a lot by evaluating the performance and condition of your air conditioning unit or units at the conclusion of the cooling season – and then use that knowledge to make smart decisions moving forward.
Posted by CLS Admin on September 18, 2013
In our first post about preparing for cooling system challenges, we stressed that the need for cooling never ceases. It’s imperative, then, that you prepare your HVAC system for cooling system challenges, no matter what time of year it is. As a starting point, we have recommended three fundamental steps: 1) performing an electrical inspection of the system; 2) cleaning the heat exchanger; and 3) cleaning the condensing and evaporating coil.
Now, we’re providing you with a basic checklist of steps that can anchor a more customized preventive maintenance (PM) program.
Posted by CLS Admin on September 03, 2013
The need for cooling never ceases, even in winter. We stressed this point in our introductory post about preparing for cooling system challenges, and we believe it bears repeating. Your HVAC equipment is vital to the smooth operation of your facility – and your tenants’ comfort and satisfaction. It is imperative, then, that you prepare your HVAC system for cooling system challenges, no matter what time of year it is.
As a starting point, we recommend three fundamental steps as part of any preventive maintenance (PM) cooling season program: 1) performing an electrical inspection of the system and 2) cleaning the condensing and evaporating coil.
Posted by CLS Admin on August 27, 2013
Different climates present different challenges on HVAC systems in facilities throughout the country. A rooftop unit (RTU) in Phoenix faces extreme desert heat than an RTU in, say, Maine does not. Yet the need for cooling never ceases. In particular, retail stores use their cooling systems more than they use their heating systems. Even with outside air temperatures between 45 and 55 Fahrenheit, many retail stores are staying in cooling mode.
A properly cleaned, maintained and balanced HVAC system is a necessity in today’s retail setting in order to ensure a pleasant shopping experience for increasingly sophisticated consumers.
Posted by CLS Admin on August 06, 2013
Building owners and managers lead very busy lives, so building systems like HVAC aren’t always top-of-mind. That said, stop and think for a moment about your HVAC equipment. Can you answer these basic questions:
- Do you have an up-to-date HVAC equipment list for your building(s)?
- Do you know the make, model, serial number and warranty information for your equipment assets?
- Are you currently paying for items that may still fall under warranty?
- Do you maintain a database to keep track of filter changes, coil cleanings, unit malfunctions, repair history and cost history of your HVAC maintenance?
- Do you really know whether your HVAC equipment operates at its optimal level of energy efficiency?
- And #1…are you being reactive to HVAC problems, or taking proactive measures to get the most out of your assets and reduce short-term and long-term expenses?
Posted by CLS Admin on July 25, 2013
If you’ve kept up with our HVAC blog posts so far, then you should have a good appreciation for the ways that Preventive Maintenance (PM) can help you reduce HVAC repair costs and increase unit lifespan. You’ll also have a better sense of what a baseline PM program entails. We even provided a more thorough checklist of specific PM components that can help to form the foundation of a solid PM plan.
The old axiom ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ applies to so many things in life, and HVAC PM is no exception. PM for one unit may not be well-suited for another unit, especially when you account for critical variables such as location and usage.
While we’ve provided some good general recommendations and specific checklist components, the right PM program for your HVAC unit is dependent on factors that are unique to your unit, and your facility. Consider:
Posted by CLS Admin on July 11, 2013
In our last installment of this blog, we explained the benefits of a comprehensive preventive maintenance (PM) program for your HVAC unit and outlined some basic steps to include in a typical program.
Now, we want to give you a more detailed PM checklist to include as part of this program. Note that this checklist is consistent with recommendations provided by several of today’s leading HVAC manufacturers.
Posted by CLS Admin on July 09, 2013
Three things we know for sure:
1) Building operating budgets are always tight;
2) Happy tenants don’t grow on trees;
3) Preventive maintenance for an HVAC unit or system can really help facility managers keep #s 1 and 2, well, manageable.
A rooftop HVAC unit is an expensive up-front purchase, and breakdown maintenance on it can cost you in a big way – according to some surveys, three times what a comprehensive maintenance program would otherwise cost to implement and maintain. Add to that disruption to tenants, and the value of a comprehensive Preventive Maintenance (PM) program becomes clear.
Posted by CLS Admin on July 01, 2013
A commercial building’s Rooftop HVAC Unit (RTU) may reside out of sight for most people. But dollar for dollar, these units take center stage when it comes to making or breaking a facility’s operating budget.
Posted by CLS Admin on June 10, 2013
For those who are new to the world of commercial HVAC maintenance, there are several terms that you are going to run into on a regular basis. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of these terms that describe various HVAC system types.