Originally published in Interiors & Sources

04/23/2014

7 Sustainability Strategies for Commercial Buildings

 
Sustainability strategies for commercial buildings include recycling programs.

The office building industry accounts for nearly 20% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International.

A key part to curbing emissions is working with local and city officials, tenants, and other groups to help make entire communities more sustainable. BOMA International shares the following strategies for greening your facility and community.

  1. Get Connected. Local utility companies often offer demand response and other energy efficiency incentive programs for both residential and commercial buildings. Reach out to local utility companies to find out what incentives and programs are offered in your city and how your building can benefit.
  2. Make a Presentation. Does your building implement great energy management strategies? Contact your local chamber of commerce and offer to share your leadership insight with the business community in your city.
  3. Benchmark Energy Performance. Measuring performance is the first step toward improving performance. Benchmark your building’s energy and water consumption through EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool and encourage the rest of the buildings in your company’s portfolio and throughout the city to do the same. Make it a team competition to be the city with the most benchmarked buildings.
  4. Support Incentive-Based Energy Legislation. In cities and states across the country there is incentive-based energy legislation that make it more affordable for building owners to implement energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades. Find out if this type of legislation has passed in your city/state, and be sure to support it if it has. If it doesn’t exist, lobby your elected officials to create legislation to incentivize energy efficiency.
  5. Host a Recycling Event. Host a community recycling day where tenants and community residents can drop off hard to recycle items such as batteries and LED light bulbs. Don’t stop at your building; make it a citywide campaign.
  6. Teach Your Tenants Well. Your building management team is well versed in the latest energy management strategies. Terrific. But what about your tenants? Institute a Tenant Energy Awareness Program – use your company newsletter and/or building announcements to keep tenants informed about energy management goals and offer training, education, and tips on low and no-cost energy efficiency strategies.
  7. “Green” the Commute. Fewer cars equals greener cities. Get your city on the road to green by offering bicycle storage facilities in your building.
 

 
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