In recent years, facility managers have become focused on constructing and maintaining buildings and complexes that are energy efficient, sustainable and produced from ecologically positive materials.
Of the many possible definitions of sustainability, this one seems the best: “A state in which the demands placed on the environment are met without reducing its capacity to allow all people to live well, now and in the future.”
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.
Worldwide, infrastructure is constantly expanding to support our growing population. Cities are constantly paving new roads and resurfacing old roads to accommodate increased vehicle traffic.
Facilities managers faced with shrinking operating budgets can look to innovative capital improvement options to minimize their heating, lighting, and water usage costs over time. While some more drastic projects such as solar power installations, state-of-the-art windows and insulation, and maximum efficiency HVAC systems are more suitable for new construction projects, there are also low-cost options that can significantly improve efficiency of existing structures. The improvements discussed below offer the potential for significant progress toward an organization’s sustainability initiatives while markedly reducing operating costs.
Facilities and maintenance managers are faced with finding ways to do more with less. Cost reduction is a never-ending goal. In addition to these fundamentals objectives, many are challenged to adopt sustainable practices like reducing water usage, creating an efficient energy plan, eliminating harmful chemicals, reducing waste and developing practical recycling programs.
Motor vehicle traffic and its accompanying pollution have been a major environmental concern for decades. With approximately 1.2 billion vehicles in operation today and more on the way, Earth’s atmosphere continues to absorb massive amounts of harmful emissions from a billion internal combustion engines on a daily basis.
“Going Green” requires a resolute mindset and strong commitment. Facilities managers around the country are employing creative options to conserve energy, enhance water management and employ products made from recycled material and are themselves recyclable. Each measure contributes to a cleaner, more sustainable environment while reducing the total cost of operations.