night? Can the number of printers be reduced?”
6 Follow Through with Preventive Maintenance
Changes to these areas are best rolled out with the input
of department managers. Don’t make assumptions about
what workers do or do not need – work together to find
the best solution for all involved.
Maintenance is more than fixing repairs – it can be a
strategy to keep systems running efficiently for as long
as possible. Fewer equipment replacements over the
building’s life will conserve resources and prevent excess
materials from ending up in the landfill. Preventive maintenance will also help you stay ahead of costly fixes while
CREATE A PLAN FOR PEST MANAGEMENT
Are you handling bug and rodent invasions in a sustainable manner? Integrated pest management (IPM) is a hallmark of
sustainable buildings yet is easy to
This green approach uses methods that discourage pests from
making your building their home
and non-toxic or no-kill solutions as
a first line of defense. The goal is to
eliminate unnecessary chemical exposure and respect animals rather
than view them as a nuisance.
It’s crucial to convey your expectations to your pest provider and
include them in your contract, says
Barry Abramson, principal of Servidyne. No matter who oversees pest
management, you should inventory
your records on an annual basis to
confirm that only approved products were used. If you let IPM lapse,
you may wind up with a problem
that’s escalated beyond non-toxic
Is your glass facade inadvertently
causing bird deaths? There are sustainable retrofits that help feath-
ered friends distinguish your building from the sky. Turn to page 38
to learn more in Bird-Friendly Building or Avian Abattoir?
keeping efficiencies in check.
“Too many building owners run their facilities like
some people handle car maintenance – they only respond
to something if the light goes on. If you do that, you’re
only responding to system failures rather than preventing
them,” Taylor cautions.
When it’s time to replace equipment, make sure you
have purchasing policies that require you to update to a
more efficient model, he recommends.
7 Get on the Phone with Your Vendors
Your service providers may be an untapped area for
sustainability – when was the last time you had a conversation with them about your green O&M? These external
partners can help take your sustainable practices to the
next level. Janitorial, pest control, recycling, waste management, landscaping, and even laundry services all offer
opportunities to improve your environmental impact, says
“Review the current scope of all vendors. You may be
New Day, New Opportunity
surprised that specifications in your contract have been
forgotten,” Sowards recommends. “Ensuring existing
requirements are honored allows you to upgrade your
sustainability program without spending a dollar because
those mandates are already in place.”
There could also be additional services you didn’t know
were available that can expand your sustainable efforts,
she adds. If you work with a recycling vendor, for example,
ask what else they offer. You may be able to add compost-
ing, battery recycling, or light bulb disposal for a reason-
If green-minded O&M is new to your facility, it’s best to
start with small goals and progress to larger initiatives. Get
a few successes under your belt that will serve as a strong
foundation – don’t feel like you have to overhaul your
operations in a single day.
“The green work that went into the building design is
already setting you up for success – the catch is that you
have to propel that work moving forward,” notes Sowards.
For owners with certified buildings, such as Living
Building Challenge or LEED for Existing Buildings, there’s
more accountability or incentives to prove operational
practices are sustainable, notes Taylor. Your organization will also have a tangible road map for environmental
targets rather than specifying them haphazardly.
“I would encourage more people to go through the
certification process,” Taylor says. “You can chose any
certification as long as it holds your team accountable
for meeting green goals. It’s one thing to say you’re doing
something, it’s another thing to prove it.” B
Jennie Morton firstname.lastname@example.org is senior
editor of BUILDINGS.