“Sustainability is the mother lode of organizational and technical innovations that yield bottom-line and top-line returns.” –Harvard Business Review
Properties known to have substantial sustainability programs in place and that proactively engage tenants towards these initiatives, increase productivity, as well as job satisfaction, and lowers absenteeism, all while helping the earth and the bottom line. Employers seeking these benefits will seek out and stay in buildings that deliver such attributes.
“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” -Great Law of the Haudenosaunee
As concern for the impact of large commercial properties on the environment grows, property management and tenants alike are placing more importance on building sustainability and seeking ways to make a long-term environmental, as well as financial, impact.
In 7 steps, property management can initiate sustainability programs in their buildings for Earth Day, and beyond.
1. Communicate: Engage, Educate and Empower Tenants in Property Sustainability Practices – Offer Green Tips
- Optimize the energy settings on computers and other electronic devices and make sure to shut them down at the end of the day.
- Unplug printers, scanners and copiers that are only used occasionally.
- Turn off all lights and any audio/visual equipment that is not being used.
- Keep things digital and minimize the use of materials whenever possible, do not use unnecessary amounts of paper.
- Implement the use of recycled materials such as recycled paper whenever possible.
- Bringing lunch and using reusable containers not only save unnecessary waste but costs too. If you order take-out, join co-workers in large orders to minimize waste of small individual packaging.
- Bring in mugs/glasses/utensils to reduce the use of paper/plastic goods
2. Encourage Alternate Modes of Transportation
- Start a bike-to-work program, and create a space for bike storage, like wall-mounted bike racks at no cost to tenants.
- Install areas for charging electric vehicles.
3. Monitor Energy Consumption
- Benchmark energy consumption by integrating energy management software systems to help do your routine audits and make effective changes.
4. Make Tenants Aware of What You’re Already Doing (they probably don’t know)
- Share performance information (energy consumption, water usage, recyclable diversion rates, etc.) and set improvement goals.
- Tell tenants about retrofits, new equipment and policies or procedures they are likely unaware of.
- A day in the life of the engineering team – help tenants understand what happens from property start up to property shut down.
5. Employ Water Conservation Practices
- Install low-flow flush technology in toilets, and hands-free fixtures at sinks in all property bathrooms.
6. Create a Higher Standard of Indoor Air Quality
- Use high-efficiency HVAC filters – and change them often. Use low-VOC paints, sealants and adhesives for building improvements.
- Install occupancy sensors and photo sensors that monitor daylight. Occupancy sensors also work for HVAC controls.
7. Provide a Process and System for Recycling
- Provide a list of recyclable items vs. non-recyclable items.
- Offer a bi-annual electronic recycling event at the property – collect old printers, computers and electronics for recycling.