Special Issue: Harnessing The Power Of Data

Data-driven facilities are embracing AI and other technologies to set up for future success.

7 Signs Your Facilities Data Isn’t Ready For ESG

A closer look at the three sides of sustainability.

By Betsy Francoeur


Governments, vendors, partners, employees, and end users all want a more sustainable future. They want action on multiple fronts—and they want proof, a clear record of what you’re doing and how it’s helping the environment.

“A significant number of building owners see the value of sustainability,” notes Matt Ophardt, Zero Carbon Solutions Program Manager at McKinstry. “The challenge is demonstrating that value to others. How can they document and advocate for the benefits of sustainability to their building, its occupants, and their constituents?”

“It all comes down to your data. Before you can identify where you should focus your ESG efforts, before you can start tracking your progress, and before you can provide dependable reporting on the results, you need a clear picture of where you stand right now—today,” states Josh Lowe, Chief Solutions Engineer at AkitaBox.

Know Your Baseline

If you don’t know what’s already happening in your facilities, you won’t be able to measure your efforts or prove your results. You need a starting point to which you can compare yourself. This is called establishing your baseline.

“It’s extremely important to have enough accurate data about your building to be able to communicate the reasons why you do and don’t do things around various sustainability goals,” says Ophardt.

7 Signs Your Facilities Data Isn’t Ready For ESG

  1. I don’t have accurate square footage numbers
  2. I don’t know when my assets were last touched
  3. I don’t have records of assets being decommissioned and new ones installed
  4. My floor plan is outdated and/or incorrect
  5. My data is spread across different places—spreadsheets, PDFs, paper, Word doc lists, separate systems
  6. I have a long-term team member who’s the only person who knows certain things about the facilities
  7. I manage different aspects of the facilities in different programs—work orders in one software, capital planning in a spreadsheet, inspections in another software or binder, etc.

If you found yourself nodding along while reading that list, it’s time to get your data ducks in a row.

The 2024 State of Corporate Sustainability Report found that issues with data quality are a major barrier to sustainability success— regardless of how far along an organization is in its sustainability journey. Companies across a variety of industries reported:

  • Data quality problems (gaps, incorrect data)
  • Challenges managing data in spreadsheets
  • Difficulty making the business case for reporting and data management solutions

What sorts of data will you need for your ESG efforts? It’ll depend on your organization’s specific goals and KPIs, but in general, you’ll want to collect as much baseline data as you can on all of the assets making up your major systems, including: HVAC; plumbing; electrical; flooring; roof; windows and doors; and exteriors.

For each asset, you’ll want to gather key information such as: manufacturer/make/model;install date; location; original cost; replacement cost; and relationships with any upstream or downstream assets.

Insanely Easy ESG Data Collection Is Possible

Shred those paper checklists, say goodbye to bulky spreadsheets, and leave your laptop at home. AkitaBox Capture is all you need to gather all sorts of facilities-related data.

  • Easy to learn and use: if you can type and take photos, you can use Capture
  • Customizable: add or subtract data fields so you only collect what you need
  • Fast: AI technology “reads” data from asset labels and adds it to the system, no typing required
  • Mobile app: use it on a tablet or smartphone (available for iOS and Android)

Plus, Capture is part of our comprehensive facilities management system (known as AkitaBox Pulse), so the data you collect can feed into your work orders, asset management, capital planning, and inspections. Check out This Is What The Future Of Data Collection Looks Like for more on Capture.

“Capture is improving our onsite data collection process as well as improving the integrity of the data we collect,” says Ophardt. “It’s helping us standardize how we collect data and process it later. We end up with more accurate, more stable data that makes it easier to begin analyzing once onsite collection is complete.”

Imagine all the ways a data collection tool this powerful can support your ESG and decarbonization goals. Use it for:

  • Energy usage audits
  • Energy efficiency audits
  • Water usage audits
  • Waste disposal audits
  • Greenhouse gas emissions measurements
  • Regulatory compliance tracking
  • Inspections to ensure all assets are performing optimally
  • And so much more

Ophardt offers one last piece of advice for anyone pursuing sustainability goals. “Don’t try to do it yourself. Finding experts who can help you get there is smart, because sustainability is complicated. Getting the right partners on your team is really important.”

AkitaBox Capture can be one of those partners. It helps you collect the data you need for creating the KPIs, tracking the progress, and showing the results of ESG goals. Visit our website to learn more.

Francoeur is AkitaBox’s Content Manager. She loves to write blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, emails, case studies, and magazine articles about all things facilities management. She also enjoys traveling, running 5ks, and cuddling with her dog.

AkitaBox, Building Lifecycle


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