Maximizing Building Performance Through Environmental Strategies - PEOPLE
Maximizing Building Performance Through Environmental Strategies - PEOPLE
Support of environmental initiatives begins with awareness, education, and recognition. This year, Earth Day became an opportunity for many of the professionals involved in Deutsche Bank’s U.S. Facilities Management operations to listen, learn, question, and discuss recycling, waste management, environmental standards, and sustainability practices among themselves and with some of New York City’s most knowledgeable green practitioners.
Paul A. Magda, RPA, FMA, SMA, CFM, America’s head of facilities management for Deutsche Bank, recalls: “Our goal was to educate the people involved in our portfolio – facilities/property management staff, landlords in our leased properties, cleaning companies, etc. – to share with them an appreciation for sustainability. We’re interested in sustainability as an organizational goal, and we’re advancing recycling programs and other environmental strategies throughout the buildings we occupy.”
As a speaker and organizer of the event, environmental consultant Richard Fuller, president of Great Forest Inc., New York City, brought a real-world perspective to the gathering. “Since 1989, our work for large corporations and landlords on sustainable issues is to help them find environmental programs that, first, do good for their own organizations and, second, are cost effective. We found that we could not be in business if we didn’t have the economic incentive – proving return to the bottom line for clients – in front of us all the time.” Great Forest (www.greatforest.com) provides its services internationally and for the facilities activities in more than 200 million square feet of space in New York City and surrounding areas.
“The purpose of this particular presentation was to get people to sense that sustainability has a very broad reach in its conceptual structure – to see how recycling or energy-efficiency programs fit in a more global perspective,” says Fuller, noting that the Earth Day attendees were able to “find the connection. Much of it is already in place in general building operations. It’s just a matter of having that linkage that can make all the difference.”
Key building operation practices, according to Fuller, that embrace the issues of sustainability – many of which “are already in place in well-run buildings” – include:
Waste management and recycling – reducing the amount of materials that go in the wastestream. Think in terms of “avoided costs.”
Energy use and energy management – managing energy efficiency and reducing the amount of energy use as much as possible.
Purchasing practices – examining purchasing decisions to maximize the sustainability index, i.e., materials with recycled content, buying locally, etc. Also, looking at items that might have a toxic nature, such as cleaning materials, chemicals, and inks.
Water efficiency – minimizing the amount of water use/wastage through recirculating/recycling.
With Fuller’s Australian heritage and Magda’s awareness of Deutsche Bank’s European roots and green practices, the two are proponents of bringing ISO 14001 – the voluntary environmental initiative in which companies establish processes and targets for green compliance and work toward continuous company improvement – to more prominence in the United States. “We’ve achieved [ISO 14001] in our European operations, so being a global financial institution we’re looking to standardize as much as practical,” says Magda. “We’re going to continue to move in that vein and maybe ultimately set a high goal of achieving ISO 14001 for our operations here in the United States one day.”
Federal Mandate, City Initiative
Citizens of Houston are well aware of the city’s non-compliance with federal ozone standards. For the professionals providing operations and daily maintenance to the approximately 5.26 million square feet of owned and leased City of Houston facilities, energy consumption and the reduction of NOx emissions is a BIG priority. “We have to report to state agencies the efforts we are taking to reduce energy [consumption] by five percent every year, for the next five years,” explains Tanwir Badar, deputy assistant director, Energy & Environmental Division, Building Services Department, City of Houston.
The aggressive goals put in place by the State of Texas’ environmental agency, the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Committee, are aimed at bringing the city into compliance by 2007. The environmentally friendly (and energy-efficient) initiatives the city’s Building Services Department has undertaken seek to lessen the impact of over 200 city buildings on the environment. Compliance with federal mandates isn’t the only motivation for greening city buildings. “We’re telling our people that when a firm like Gerald Hines’ goes green, then it just makes sense. If commercial developers decide that green is the way to go, then obviously they’re looking at the bottom dollar – and if they can do that, then obviously the city can do that,” explains Eugene M. Inouye, assistant director, Selections and Standards Section, Design & Construction Division, Building Services Department, City of Houston.
After discovering the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) LEED rating system, Inouye is convinced of its usefulness in city buildings. “Nothing really got my attention until LEED came into being. I started attending some of these seminars and immediately saw the value to the city,” he says. “We’ve just recently begun mandating to our project managers that we’re going green. That has only been in effect for a couple of months, so not all of our projects are going green initially, but we have asked that all specifications incorporate those requirements.”
For two years now, the Building Services Department has been using cool roof technologies. “We are shooting for somewhere around 50- to 70-percent reflectance so that the heat is not absorbed into the building, having a cooler effect,” Badar explains.
New buildings will also have higher R-value insulation installed. Retrofitting lamps with more efficient technology is another of the city’s energy reduction strategies. Paired with occupancy sensors tied into building HVAC, the savings really add up.
According to Badar, “There are continuous improvements being done in the building environment in order to save energy. When you save energy, you get an environmentally green building.”
Delivering on Green
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has made a serious commitment to its green building program, established five years ago. According to James Binkley, architect, United States Postal Service, Arlington, VA, the USPS constructs demonstration buildings, tests these structures, and evaluates these buildings to discover which green practices are cost effective and beneficial. “We fold the best results into our ongoing design program,” says Binkley.
The USPS has experimented with many green practices, from using plants to filter storm water
to using biodegradable materials in construction. In addition to tracking costs and savings, the USPS also measures employee and customer response. Overseeing 40,000 facilities, Binkley’s team is continually modernizing and building facilities, and sustainability is an important part of that process. He encourages facilities managers and building owners to consider green design in their own facilities.
“If there was one thing I would say to building owners, it is that green design can be cost effective. It is a chance to create healthy workplaces and contribute to the environment,” says Binkley.