All You Need to Know About Going Green: Pt.1

Interested in going green?  Not quite sure where to begin?  You’ve come to the right place! Today we’d like to share with you some key information and successful tips on going green with our very own Mario Sanchez-Palacios, a LEED Accredited Professional (AP).

It is no secret that going green is becoming more of a priority for everyone.  There are great environmental benefits as well as impacts on a company’s bottom line.  So why aren’t more companies taking that first step to go green?

Going green can be costly.  But it doesn’t have to be!  With a great IWMS, like ARCHIBUS and a hand to guide you, going green really can be simple.

What is LEED?

The United States Green Business Council developed LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, to help change the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated.  LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. It is the most widely recognized and used green building program across the globe, certifying 1.5 million square feet of building space each day. Over 130 buildings satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for their project.

A LEED AP is an accreditation that demonstrates that an individual understands the complicated LEED green building principles and concepts.  A LEED AP is capable of managing a LEED project and helping projects acquire the appropriate number of points to gain either certified, silver, gold, or platinum building levels.

Where to Begin

There are a few types of Rating Systems that apply to Corporate Real Estate:

  1. Building Design + Construction (BD+C)
  2. Interior Deisgn + Construction (ID+C)
  3. Building Operations + Maintenance (O+M)

Each rating system is made up of a combination of credit categories.  The number of points a project earns, determines the level of LEED certification (Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum).

Since not all companies are ready to build, rebuild, do a complete interior fit-out, or do major renovation, the LEED Rating System easiest to start with is Building Operations + Maintenance.  O+M “Applies to existing buildings that are undergoing improvement work or little to no construction; includes Existing Buildings, Schools, Retail, Hospitality, Data Centers, and Warehouse & Distribution Centers.”  1

A few of the applicable credits categories with their corresponding credits for O+M include:

  • Location & Transportation
    • Alternative Transportation
  • Sustainable Sites
    • Rainwater Management
    •  Light Pollution Reduction
    • Heat Island Reduction
  • Water Efficiency
    • Outdoor Water Use Reduction
    • Indoor Water Use Reduction
    • Water Metering
  • Energy & Atmosphere
    • Energy Metering
    •  Refrigerant Management
  •  Materials and Resources
    • Waste Management
    • Purchasing
  •  Indoor Environmental Quality
    • Green Cleaning
    • Indoor Air Quality Management
    • Interior Lighting
  • Innovation
    • LEED AP
  • Regional Priority
    • Specific Credits based on location

A company can earn points for many, many things like: How close the building is to public transportation (BART, Subway, Bus, etc.)?; Does your building have bicycle parking?; Do your windows have reflective blinds?; Is your building eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR rating?; Are 50% of the products and materials your company uses (pens, paper, etc.) or 75% of furniture made from recycled material, bio-based materials, wood, etc.?;  Do you maintain your HVAC systems?; Do you use green cleaning products, materials, and equipment?;  Do you recycle?; Do employees have the ability to control the lighting in their work space? Survey employees/building occupants on their typical transportation patterns once every 5 years; Shade 50% of paved areas; use pavers instead of cement; Install a vegetated roof; Perform waste reduction and recycling program; and many more!

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ARCHIBUS NEWS: Top Strategies for a Greener Corporation

Are you interested in saving money, conserving energy, and reducing your water consumption and carbon footprint? Then you’re likely interested in “going green”, and ARCHIBUS can help.

This post is a summary of Top Strategies for a Greener Corporation, an article put out by Forbes, Kolmer, and Miller:

Environmental sustainability or “going green”, is one of the most important initiatives in the workplace today.  These increasingly common goals of reducing energy use and energy consumption can be accomplished in a variety of ways, all with which an effective IWMS system can help. Commercial building energy use accounts for 18% of all CO2 emissions.  These emissions can be reduced easily by better utilizing office space, which is what IWMS systems do.  Not taking advantage of your IWMS system results in wasted HVAC and lighting costs as well as over expenditures in operating costs (e.g., utilities, taxes, janitorial or maintenance, and physical assets).  By using simple vendor-neutral conservation strategies, your company’s carbon footprint and unnecessary expenses can be drastically decreased and potentially avoided altogether. The article outlines six different ways to accomplish your company’s sustainability goals:

1. Stop Wasting Space

Sounds easy, right?  Well, it is!  “The faster [companies] implement better space management the faster [they] gain the added environmental and economic benefit of lowering energy use and operating expenses” (2014, p.2).  If a company utilizes its space planning and management software by conducting space audits on a routine basis, operations are easily consolidated as vacant space is eliminated.

2. Alarm Your FM Department

Through the integration of a company’s BAS HVAC alarms to its building ops software, the location of problems can be identified on building drawings.  This integration will also “automate issuance of work orders when energy management systems detect performance failures of heat traps and other system components” (2014, p.2).

3. Manage Data Center Heat

Maintaining a balance between power and cooling is the greatest challenge for data centers.  Operational costs may eat up over 50% of some tech budgets on top of whatever it may cost to construct additional space to house these data centers.  To ensure company efforts are not being wasted, implement a “data center management software [that] provides easy graphical visualizations and automatic updates to sever rack inventories” or implement hot/cold aisles in data centers (2014, p.2).

4. Don’t Get Caught in an HVACcuum

Most offices and data centers are not in use 24/7. Too many offices receive round-the-clock HVAC support. Using IWMS software and building drawings, your company can reconfigure space and consolidate HVAC intensive data centers and other operations to reduce after-hour electricity consumption.

5. Telecommuting is Key

Embrace the power of telecommuting! Telecommuting is perhaps one of the greatest ways for a company to go green.  The article describes one company generating 29,000 fewer tons of CO2 emissions and savings of US$63 million in one fiscal year by cutting 6,660 office seats” (2014, p.3).  Furthermore, telecommuting reduces transportation-generated greenhouse gas emissions by reducing commuter traffic.

6. Use KPIs

Key Performance Indicators are the benchmarks against which progress is measured for sustainability initiatives, cost reduction goals, business process improvements and other activities.  “A well thought-out environmental sustainability strategy can deliver up to 10% — and possibly as much as 20% — savings and operational costs” (2014, p.5). As Forbes, Kolmer, and Miller describe, the role IWMS systems play in “going green” are key and the benefits of having a quality functioning system is clear.

Did you know that ARCHIBUS was recently ranked as one of the World’s Largest Software Companies by Software Magazine? That’s just one of the reasons why ARCHIBUS is the number one solution for real estate, infrastructure, and facilities management in the world.

What is your company doing to reduce their carbon footprint?  Need help achieving your sustainability goals?  Reach out to us here at RSC.  We’d love to help you create a greener tomorrow!

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