By Susan Buchanan

High school students choosing colleges these days are often considering a new angle: is a school green? With limited funds, sustainability programs for higher education facilities must be focused on ROI. By approaching projects realistically and incorporating sustainability into a holistic capital planning process, these institutions can achieve more in the long term. Such is true with sustainable facilities at Salem State University.

One of the top 50 universities in the U.S. “that will help your kids help the planet,” Salem State is committed to modifying its existing facilities (and planning new facilities) that are both sustainable and within budget. Simple approaches such as retrofitting existing light fixtures with high efficiency models, replacing old heating and cooling controls, and maintaining an efficient recycling system are just some of the ways in which the university has improved existing facilities.

The good news is that these initiatives are accessible to all higher education institutions willing to jump in with smart and realistic planning. By gathering detailed information about the costs and benefits of potential green investments, your school can receive additional funding, increase efficiency, and present itself as a responsible, green organization, which is very appealing to today’s savvy college applicant.

Facilities Management Journal (UK)

Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Time: 8:00 AM Pacific/11:00 aM Eastern
Length: Approximately 45 minutes
Location: Available Online Using WebEx

Fees: This webinar is complimentary

In today’s climate of increased management visibility and accountability, spending efficiency and effectiveness are becoming more important every day. For facilities and corporate real estate professionals, this means that obtaining detailed knowledge about your facilities – in terms of current condition and requirements as well as long-term needs – is essential.

There are many ways organizations can gather the data necessary to inform the facility planning and investment process. Each involves different levels of effort and yields different levels of detail.

During this complimentary webinar we’ll discuss the pros and cons of four approaches and how an organization can use a one or more of these methods to get accurate, actionable and cost-effective  facility condition data.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Four key approaches organizations use in the assessment process
  • What different levels of detail exist in the resulting data collected with these approaches
  • How to determine the right approach for your organization


Who Should Attend?

Individuals Responsible for 

  • Corporate Real Estate
  • Facilities Management
  • Operations Management

By Ray Dufresne

Earthquakes happen every day; this week, for example, an earthquake measuring 6.6 magnitude on the Richter scale hit off the coast of central-southern Chile. This is the same area that suffered so much destruction almost a year ago from a disastrous magnitude 8.8 earthquake.

Facility managers may be surprised to learn that in the event of an earthquake the non-structural components of a building (ceilings, windows, office equipment, heating, furniture, lights, etc.) pose a much greater risk than the structural components (beams, columns, braces and floors). Non-structural risk can jeopardize life and cause loss of property as well as essential functions like running water.

Because non-structural risk is often overlooked in seismic preparedness, facility managers have an opportunity to make an impact by integrating seismic data into their overall plans, minimizing risk of costly losses due to damaged property, unexpected repair costs and downtime. It’s important to identify and capture all seismic-related data in a facility portfolio, including deficiencies and their associated corrective actions.

From saving lives to minimizing the interruption of business to limiting reconstruction costs, seismic assessment is the first major step towards being prepared for an earthquake.

Do you know how the non-structural components of your buildings are holding up?

Date: Thursday, March 24, 2011
Time: 11:00 AM Pacific/2:00 PM Eastern
Length: 60 minutes
Location: Available Online Using WebEx

Fees: This webinar is complimentary

In today’s organizations, a large portion of the budget is dedicated to capital projects. Designed to mitigate risk and ensure business continuity, these projects often present many challenges including planning, approving, funding, and cost management to effectively manage the projects. Organizations need highly effective processes that leverage technology solutions; solutions that not only mitigate risk, but also provide automation for how capital projects are approved, funds are allocated and how capital is both managed and tracked. With a comprehensive and automated solution in use, organizations can:

  • Centralize multi-year financial project data
  • Automate project review and approvals
  • Control actual spend against planned budget
  • Configure report-driven review & analysis

In this webinar, we’ll  look at how corporations can more effectively manage  how capital projects are approved, funds are allocated and how capital is both managed and tracked.  You’ll learn how to ensure that capital is optimized and key decisions are made to maximize financial control of capital projects while mitigating risk.

 In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • Leverage technology to mitigate risk and ensure business continuity
  • Optimize capital spending plans with real-time visibility and control
  • Align capital spending plans with your organization’s strategy, need and capital availability
  • Consolidate information from numerous systems to provide the critical data needed to make early and informed decisions

Keith O’Leary, Director, VFA Product Marketing, VFA, Inc.
Kevin O’Brien, Business Director, VFA.spendManager, VFA Inc.

Aging News Alert

Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Time: 11:00 AM Pacific/2:00 PM Eastern
Length: 60 minutes

Fees: This webinar is complimentary

Location: Available Online Using WebEx

There are many aspects to effectively promoting the sustainability of an organization’s operations.  How do you determine which green initiatives will best support your objectives and how to integrate them into your capital plan?

In this webinar, you’ll learn approaches for evaluating sustainability opportunities in your existing building portfolio. We’ll describe a strategy for prioritizing sustainability and energy improvements in the context of overall capital needs, allowing you to focus “green” dollars where they will have the greatest impact. You’ll learn how organizations are creating more sustainable facilities as part of their ongoing capital planning process.

 In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Frameworks for evaluating sustainability in existing buildings – LEED, Guiding Principles for High Performance Sustainable Buildings, and beyond
  • The basics for establishing resource consumption baselines for improvement
  • Approaches to identifying and quantifying potential sustainability improvements
  • A method for prioritizing sustainability investments in the context of other capital priorities

Susan Buchanan, LEED AP – Project Director, VFA, Inc.

Date: Thursday, March 3, 2011

Time: 11:00 AM Pacific/2:00 PM Eastern

Length: 60 minutes

Fees: This webinar is complimentary

Location: Available Online Using WebEx

Does your current capital renewal program maximize your asset performance and deliver a healthier bottom line? Do you have a clear understanding of how much is needed to keep current facilities renewed? How do you justify these costs to senior management and get the funds you need?

In this webinar, we’ll break down the five fundamental steps that you can use to build an effective capital renewal program. We’ll look at how state and local governments are using capital renewal programs to justify capital funding and achieve higher ROI from their capital investments. 

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • The five fundamental stages to develop a capital renewal program
  • The tools available today to assist in developing multi-year plans
  • How to decrease O&M and capital replacement costs
  • Measure and maximize capital asset ROI


Fred Stetson, MFE, Senior Manager for Facility Operations (retired), California Administrative Office of the Courts
Tim Dunn, Senior VP of Consulting & Software Services, VFA, Inc.

By Susan Buchanan

Last week, the President introduced the Better Buildings Initiative, which is meant to improve energy efficiency in buildings across the country. Aiming to make buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade, the initiative will offer incentives to upgrade schools and other municipal buildings, universities, hospitals, offices, stores, and other commercial buildings.

Energy conservation initiatives focused on existing buildings have a huge potential to help create jobs, save money, and creating a better working environment. And, we know that everyone has a role to play in reducing energy consumption and promoting sustainability in their facilities. Ultimately, sustainable practices need to be integrated into both the facility management programs that companies implement on a day-to-day basis, and into their long-term capital planning process.

Because facility managers are on the front lines, it is up to you to raise the visibility and acceptance of these practices throughout your organizations. By evaluating sustainability opportunities – including those related to energy usage, environmental impact and indoor environmental quality – and building capital plans with sustainability as a priority, you can save valuable (and limited) funds and be a hero!

Boston. February 8, 2011— VFA, Inc., the leading provider of end-to-end solutions for facilities capital planning and spend management, today announced that Rick Mongeau has joined its team as Senior Vice President of Sales. In his new role, Mongeau will help to create and execute VFA’s corporate sales strategy, translating the company’s organizational vision into operational excellence and growth.

 “Rick Mongeau enjoys a demonstrable record of achievement in leading organizations to high-growth market leadership,” said Jerry Kokos, CEO of VFA. “In his new position, Rick will lead the execution of our sales strategy—reaching out to organizations in the corporate, education, government and healthcare sectors to assist them in strategically managing their facility capital assets.”

 Most recently, Mongeau was Vice President, North American Sales, at SumTotal Systems, Inc., where he helped grow revenue from $10M to $130M. He has also held similar positions at Xevo Corporation and Webspective Software. Mongeau also served in various capacities at Axent Technologies, Uniface Corporation, Ingres Corporation, Cortex Corporation, and Digital Equipment Corporation. He graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Merrimack College, and served in the U.S. Army Reserve.

 Said Mongeau: “Despite tough economic times, VFA continued to achieve profitable growth and to generate new customers. I am thrilled to be joining such a thriving company—and look forward to scaling the business across multiple sectors and geographies to support VFA’s mission.”

 To connect with VFA, please follow us on Twitter at @VFAINC; or visit our blog, Foundations, which is aimed at providing information to readers that serves as a foundation for intelligent capital spending and facilities capital planning and management.