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
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
• 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
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.
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
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
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,
Andrea Sanchez is communications manager and editor of the Facility Management
Journal at the International Facility Manage-ment Association.She can
be reached at email@example.com