Eco-friendly practices are good for business. According to Nielson, two-thirds of consumers would pay more for sustainable brands.
When looking to reduce your environmental footprint, your physical facility is a great place to start. The LEED Operations and Management certification, a popular sustainability standard, advocates for:
- Water and energy efficiency.
- Effective purchasing and disposal of building materials.
- On-site ecosystem services.
- Alternate transportation.
- Connection with community amenities.
- Indoor air quality and optimal lighting.
- Occupant comfort and satisfaction.
Start your green journey with these tips:
Assess Site and Benchmark Performance
Assess your facility and whether it effectively promotes sustainability and healthy living. Pool together company leaders, and ask questions, such as:
- Does our site protect the local habitats surrounding it?
- How much water do we use, and are there opportunities to reduce consumption?
- How much energy do we use, and are there opportunities to reduce consumption?
- Are alternate energy sources a viable option?
- Are building materials purchased and disposed of in a sustainable fashion?
- Do our vendors implement green business practices?
- Does our custodial staff use green cleaning equipment?
- Does the office layout promote employee health—clean air, window views, etc.?
For items that can be measured (e.g. water/energy use), benchmark your organization’s current consumption. This will help determine the effectiveness of new practices put in place later.
Create a Green Building Plan
Next, map out your improvement plan tied to measureable goals. Each goal should be tied to a quantifiable metric and deadline for completion.
Remember, that even small changes can have a large impact. For example, smart lights—that can be controlled remotely, via pre-set schedules or through motion detectors—ensure energy isn’t wasted lighting an empty room. Likewise, smart thermostats can reduce energy use related to HVAC systems. Consider both big ideas and incremental improvements.
Certification programs, such as the LEED Operations and Management certification mentioned previously, are a great place to look for building improvement ideas. If obtained, these certifications also provide third-party validation of your sustainability commitment.
Measure and Evolve
Compare progress against initial benchmarks and improvement goals. Once initial goals are hit, build upon success and challenge your company to push further.
As new technologies and green building practices roll out, evaluate the impact they could have on your company’s sustainability efforts.
How does your business reduce its ecological footprint? Share with us below.
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