Outsourcing Facility Management of Rental Car Center Bodes Energy Savings for Atlanta Int'l

Nicole Nelson
Published in: 

An emphasis on sustainability helped land Cofely Services a $21 million, five-year facility management contract as a strategic partner overseeing the Consolidated Rental Car Center at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). 

In addition to being one of the world's largest integrated facilities management firms, Cofely is also under the umbrella of GDF SUEZ Energy Services, which specializes in energy efficiency solutions for clients throughout North America.

Cofely was very aggressive with energy savings," explains Christopher Madura, the airport contract manager at ATL's Rental Car Center complex. "(They) stated that they would reduce our energy consumption by 5% per year of the contract, and I found that to be very compelling.

Project: Operation & Maintenance of Consolidated Rental Car Facility
Location: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int'l Airport 
Strategy: Outsourcing 
Contract Value: $21 million
Contract Terms: 5 yrs
Winning Bidder: Joint Venture of Cofely Services & MiJoy Industrial Services
Winning Proposition: Commitment to reduce energy consumption by 5%

Attention to sustainability at the Rental Car Center complements a variety of other "green" initiatives at ATL, including water conservation/reclamation, recycling and concerted efforts to reduce the airport's carbon footprint.

"The Department of Aviation here in Atlanta wants to be one of the greenest airports - not only in the United States, but also throughout the world," notes Madura. 

Since Cofely's contract began last January, personnel have been both mindful and aggressive auditing every aspect of the facility's electro-mechanical systems, he reports. In addition to technical responsibilities ranging from the ventilation system to lighting elements, the contract also includes services related to maintaining the building's aesthetics. Cofely partnered with locally owned MiJoy Industrial Services to provide the janitorial, landscaping and customer service aspects of the contract.

Pierre Loyer, vice president of business development for Cofely, addresses the interplay between the various contract elements: "We will endeavor to have a reduction in energy by about 5% every year. So there is an added challenge to not only supply good technical maintenance and good janitorial support ... but there's also a real focus on saving energy in order to make sure that the airport achieves [its] environmental objectives. This is a target that we wanted to aim for, and we are pretty confident that we're going to be able to achieve it."

Joint Effort

ATL is partnering with Cofely in a collaborative approach to reducing energy use at the Consolidated Rental Car Center. To date, the airport has replaced incandescent and fluorescent lighting with LED bulbs throughout the facility and installed dimmer switches to offset the modulation of the building's natural lighting. 

Switching to a dynamic strategy for escalator use is also under consideration. Traditionally, the facility's electric stairs have run 24/7, but Cofely advocates reducing the speed or halting some units altogether to help decrease energy consumption.

"We are looking at the possibility of turning escalators off at night, when it is not nearly as busy as in the daytime," Madura explains. Tests are being run to gather specific use rates of various escalators to help make the decisions. 

Proper and regular maintenance of elements such as motion-sensor faucets in restrooms have also been key in reducing costs and natural resources. "When our faucets are not maintained, they tend to run a lot; and that is not cost-efficient nor energy-efficient," Madura comments. "We use a lot of water, and we are currently utilizing faucets that do not run continuously."

Facilitating Focus

Aside from the anticipated energy and cost savings, ATL's facility management contract with Cofely allows airport personnel to maintain focus on other landside and airfield responsibilities, 
notes Madura. 

"From the beginning, we felt there was a strong need to have an outside vendor come in to manage the Rental Car Center and not divert our team from operations," he explains. 

Cofely, in fact, is the second contractor to take on this role. Meridian Management Company was the first. 

According to Cofely personnel, ATL is among a growing number of airports that are benefiting from public-private partnerships at a contractual level. "There are airports in North America that prefer to keep their services in-house, while many airports out there are farming out those services," Loyer remarks. 

In terms of contract structure, he advocates outsourcing rather than subcontracting, which is often awarded on a low-bid basis. "We really prefer outsourcing, which is more of a partnership agreement with the customer," Loyer elaborates.
"The customer is transferring the responsibility of criteria and service levels; and that is where we excel because we typically are better equipped and we have more experience than the customer to understand how to deliver the services in order to achieve the results."

He further emphasizes the mutual benefits of outsourcing operations and maintenance: "We are a partner with the customer in trying to find ways of saving money. In that sense, it's providing more opportunities for us to become a strategic partner as opposed to a subcontractor. The customer is obviously getting a financial benefit when we achieve those savings and getting a more dedicated partner in us when those type of arrangements are done." 

Eye on the Prize

Loyer reports that cost reductions at ATL have been outstanding during the beginning stages of Cofely's contract. The joint venture has been fully staffed since the end of January.

"We are invested in making operational changes and better managing the equipment that's already installed," he comments, noting that changes necessary to achieve savings should begin by the end of this year. "In our opinion, there are multiple opportunities for savings that typically do not require significant investment in get-go money. It just requires better management of the actual existing system."



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