3 Considerations for Sustainability in Maintenance
The impact of the sustainability advantages derived from building with recycled materials and installing energy-reducing systems are lost when the facility is maintained with ecologically damaging processes and chemicals. Sustainability in a LEED-certified, or any facility, is an ongoing process and maintenance plans should be devised to retain this discipline in such a high-performance building.
1. Culture of Sustainability
A culture of sustainability must emanate from the highest levels. Each product, process, and procedure should be evaluated for compliance to sustainability guidelines that focus on reducing or eliminating wasteful and environmentally harmful impacts.
Once a building is completed and commissioned, facilities maintenance becomes the focal point for measuring environmental impacts and keeping the facility in its original condition. Strategies for conserving, reusing, recycling, energy usage, cleaning and painting chemicals, plus regular maintenance of HVAC systems are all the responsibility of the facility or maintenance supervisor. The purchase of replacement equipment and building materials are an important part of this job.
Budgetary considerations are a fundamental consideration in any case. In recent years, however, materials producers have recognized the importance of sustainability and have created products that are far less damaging to the ecology than ever before. Their mission was to create products from sustainable materials that are not more expensive than the originals and will not be harmful to the environment.
2. Proper Staffing
Success in maintaining sustainability can be achieved only if all hands are working toward the same goals with the same commitment. Hiring people who understand the general principles of sustainability and will commit to the process of upholding them is an important first step. A highly visible mission statement with a consistent and strong presence to support sustainability should be the underpinnings of a well-designed training program to indoctrinate new staff members.
3. Work-Order Management
Achieving positive feedback and environmentally positive results for each project is the ultimate objective of a sustainable building’s maintenance management and staff. Utilizing a detailed work-order system allows the Maintenance Manager to monitor costs, assess employee performance, and develop a sustainability grading system. An effective work order system provides information for effective asset history and data management.
A work-order system also can demonstrate compliance to the sustainability mission for each area of asset management with a cumulative review of every job. And the manager can assess works loads for each discipline and measure total costs and savings from maintaining the building in a sustainable fashion.
Do you work in maintenance and have experiences with sustainability purchasing? Share your thoughts below!