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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : Nov/Dec 2007 : Facilities Management

Facilities Management

Green Tools for Facility Managers
Huge savings exist in owning and operating high performance green buildings.

by Andrea sanchez

Research and studies show that green buildings can return millions of dollars each year to the bottom line. They are more efficient in lowering operating costs; protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; utilizing energy, water and other resources; and reducing the overall impact to the environment. In an effort to reduce their ecological footprints, facility managers offer a strong business case when speaking about the importance of incorporating energy efficient and sustainable design to their buildings. As every day passes, one comes to realize that going green is smart business and is easy if you have the right tools at your disposal.

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA), in collaboration with the Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments (ALLIANCE), offers diverse educational opportunities to members and nonmembers striving to learn about sustainable building practices. IFMA is committed to raising awareness in sustainability, high performance buildings, energy efficiency and the triple bottom line by providing education, resources, tools and products for facility managers. Its ecological initiatives include sustainability partnerships, the IFMA Green Zone Web site, green products (such as Green Compass and SEEC), i-Sessions, green research reports and communications, the World Workplace Conference & Expo and IFMA Foundation projects.

IFMA Green Zone
The IFMA Green Zone provides the tools and resources necessary to gain the knowledge needed to manage and operate high performance green buildings. It provides many cutting-edge solutions to keep you up-to-date on sustainability issues, including green building topics and software to help you green your facility.

• Green Compass
Green Compass, a Web-based software application originally developed by Johnson Controls to streamline LEED certification, offers facility managers a single tool to address the entire process of greening a building. As part of its integrated process, the tool is embedded with dozens of building management features that benefit the facility manager, even if certification is not necessarily the end goal.

• Sustainable Energy Education and Communication (SEEC)

In an ideal world, everyone would understand why sustainability is not only the right approach to business, but why it is the only logical approach to long-term success. Through the SEEC educational program, facility managers can get the tools necessary to communicate this message to their leadership. Developed by Johnson Controls, in conjunction with the National Energy Foundation, the SEEC program applies the “Environmental Education Materials: Guidelines for Excellence” developed by the North American Association of Environmental Education.

• Research and Communications
Commissioned by the ALLIANCE, IFMA performed a high performance green building research project that included tracking facility manager’s awareness of sustainable concepts as one of the primary objectives.

In spring 2007, a survey of 1,250 executives (coined the Energy Efficiency Indicator) examined, for the first time, how companies are responding to rising energy costs, what sort of payback they expect from investments in energy efficiency and more. Johnson Controls, along with IFMA, plans to commission this survey annually.

There are also a variety of articles available that are written by experts in the green building industry. In addition, IFMA’s Facility Management Journal has a yearly issue devoted to sustainability. A recurring green section is in production for all future issues of the journal.

i-Sessions
IFMA’s new i-Sessions offer the opportunity to access facility management knowledge in short online sessions that fit into a facility manager’s schedule and budget. Participants enjoy the convenience of participating from any location with Internet and telephone access. Forty percent of the i-Session programs cover topics in sustainability. IFMA also offers a free “Intro to Sustainability” i-Session twice a month.

World Workplace Conference and Expo

World Workplace features several opportunities to learn from the experts and network with those who have implemented sustainability standards and practices in real workforce environments. The ALLIANCE is among the partnering associations for the event. In October 2007, the U.S. Green Building Council sponsored the keynote speaker (sustainability expert Andrew Savitz) who discussed topics from his book Sustainability and the Triple Bottom Line. Among the educational sessions, there were several offerings in the sustainability track. New in 2007, IFMA showcased a “green pavilion” designated as the IFMA Green Zone. This featured environmentally friendly, energy-efficient products, green solutions and technology.

IFMA also worked toward offsetting 100 percent of the emissions associated with the conference via Cleaner and Greener certification through Leonardo Academy. Some of the green strategies implemented at World Workplace focused on energy efficiency, waste minimization, environmental purchases and air quality.

IFMA Foundation Projects
The foundation and the Leonardo Academy released a 2006 research report, Deliver the Green, providing a fresh look at the LEED Green Building Rating System for Existing Buildings (EB) and facility management professionals’ roles in sustainability. Its next report in production introduces the concept of peak oil, exploring its possible consequences to the practice of facility management. It will outline medium and long-term actions that can be taken by facility management professionals in response to the challenges.

There is a proven connection between buildings and their impact on the environment — how it relates to reducing cost and making facilities healthy for the people who work there. It’s only a matter of time before green practices become standard practices … don’t be left behind.
IFMA is the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for professional facility managers, supporting more than 18,500 members in 60 countries. The association’s members are represented in 125 chapters and 15 councils worldwide. Formed in 1980, IFMA certifies facility managers, conducts research, provides educational programs, recognizes facility management degree and certificate programs and produces World Workplace, the world’s largest facility management conference and exposition. More information on IFMA’s sustainability initiatives can be found at www.ifma.org, www.ifmagreenzone.org, www.worldworkplace.org and www.ifmafoundation.org.

Andrea Sanchez is communications manager and editor of the Facility Management Journal at the International Facility Manage-ment Association.She can be reached at andrea.sanchez@ifma.org or 713-623-4362.


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