Green buildings and the FM role in the environment
If you’re in facilities management you’ll be well aware of going green – the process of making systems and buildings environmentally sustainable and low impact. Think about your building. How many hours are the lights on? How much energy is required to keep assets running? And how can FM create sustainability in older buildings?
In fact ‘going green’ impacts at every level, far beyond saving the environment. The business impacts of sustainable facilities management are significant. So how can you start greening buildings in your portfolio?
What are green buildings?
Green buildings are defined as one that reduces negative impacts on the climate and our environment and achieves neutral or even positive impacts instead. Greening buildings can occur at every level, from design and construction to building operation.
While 41% of US office buildings have Energy Star and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation, only 2.7% of office buildings in the UK are certified green. With ambitious targets for carbon net-zero approaching fast, facilities management has a critical role to play in creating sustainable buildings.
Benefits of sustainable buildings
First and foremost, a green building can drastically reduce your energy bills and operational costs. Even a small gesture like switching to low-energy LED lighting can save money and improve your building’s sustainability rating. In turn that can improve the net asset value of your building.
But it doesn’t stop there. Sustainable buildings have better air quality which improves the health and wellbeing of their occupants. In turn, that means fewer sick days and improved productivity. But those benefits don’t end with company employees – your FM operational team will also benefit. And operators who are sharp and focused will reduce risk and improve overall operational efficiency.
In the post-lockdown world, you need every advantage you can get in attracting workers back to the office. Workers are looking for a healthier, more hygienic and safer work environment. That’s something your sustainable building can deliver.
Easy steps to sustainability
The good news for facilities managers is that there are some simple steps you can take towards sustainability that reduce operational costs, increase asset value and improve the work experience. The four easy moves will put you ahead of the game:
1. Stay on top of preventative maintenance
The chances are you’re already scheduling proactive maintenance to extend the lifespan of equipment and optimise asset performance. If you want to prevent older machines from turning into energy vampires, this should be top of your to-do list.
2. Start tackling deferred maintenance
Some jobs are easy to put off, but the longer you leave them, the bigger the toll on the performance and condition of your building and its assets and the more inefficient they become. Gather risk and current condition data and start building your capital budgets to lower risk and improve quality.
3. Track energy usage with historical data
Use historical data to establish a baseline for energy usage and changes over time. Analysing the data will help you make efficiency savings and improvements.
4. Upgrade assets and buildings for energy efficiency
As things age, they become less efficient. Look at energy efficiency projects to generate RoI numbers that justify those improvements.