5 Effective Practices for Sustainable Facility Management

Facility Management, Integrated Facilities Management

5 Effective Practices for Sustainable Facility Management

5 Effective Practices for Sustainable Facility Management

A whopping 850 acres of green cover across different spaces is managed by Enviro India. This area happens to be double the size of the Aravalli Biodiversity Park. It’s incredibly important to preserve such green areas since most areas with buildings tend to be very unsustainable. You’d be surprised to know that buildings actually contribute to almost 30% of greenhouse emissions globally.

Most industries today are looking for ways to make their operations more sustainable. This change is no longer driven by sustainability being a “trending topic” but by an urgent need to slow down the pace of the global climate crisis, which is at its peak currently. It is a real threat for all countries alike, irrespective of where in the world they may be located.

How can facility managers step in and make their operations greener? It is essential that their decisions are mindful of the organization’s capabilities while also creating a positive impact on the environment. Here are some of the ways they can drive this change:

1. Adopt a Holistic Approach

There are numerous facets to an integrated facility management company– their administration, investments, operations and services are all interconnected. Each of these facets commits to sustainability in their own way, but often are unable to carry out their operations in a unified manner, as a company. What’s important here is building a holistic sustainability plan which follows a common direction.

At an operational level, this should mean smooth coordination across the different teams mentioned before. These functions shouldn’t override the efforts of the other team, and should ideally pace themselves out to work in a coherent way. This can take place at a micro-level, such as installing waste sorting bins around buildings, adjusting cleaning services and planning changes by communicating with anyone responsible for them. It can also be implemented at a macro-level, by drafting detailed plans with each of the departments.

2. Testing Things Out Before Implementation

Going green is a massive change and requires a great deal of preparation to actually commit to. An organized way to see if certain measures will work for a building or in favour of a business is to test them out beforehand. This can start with conducting sustainability analytics, which can provide a good overview of the facility’s current sustainability status. Once facility managers have this information, it’s a lot easier to work alongside the administration to craft strategies for future rollouts.

Additionally, it is always a good idea to conduct an audit and gain insight into where certain facilities may be wasting energy. An audit gives you access to all sorts of useful data- usage based on occupancy, seasonal rises in energy use or inefficient equipment. This data can help you make more accurate decisions, which may ultimately end up being greener for your company too.

Finally, it helps to run smaller pilot projects and conduct study visits to test out alternative facility management solutions. Since resources and budgets in any company are limited, not all plans can be implemented each year. Pilots can help give facility managers a realistic picture of what sustainable measures can be implemented within a particular year and which ones can be set aside for the future.

3. Keeping All Stakeholders in the Loop

A company-wide commitment to sustainability comes with keeping everyone who could be potentially impacted in the loop. Different employees are involved with these changes in different capacities. For instance, managers usually draw out a general direction of the efforts. Sustainability coordinators set out an overall plan of changes and are also responsible for checking in on the progress from time to time.

While not directly involved in implementing these changes, employees and residents are also kept in the loop. This is done to provide them with a sense of reassurance about the fact that sustainability measures are forthcoming. More externally, companies also communicate their newly implemented set of efforts to the press, their clients and their collaborators. Sustainability in this sense does not come under the purview of any one department but is a collective effort across the organization.

4. Upgrade to Greener Options

It’s very easy to equate a sustainable lifestyle with curbing new purchases entirely, but this can actually be more harmful in the long run. In terms of facility management, it is actually the case that many assets in old buildings are not the most carbon-friendly due to the period of time in which they were constructed. Therefore, these assets tend to consume more energy and are largely inefficient.

In such cases, purchasing new machinery and equipment is, ironically, the more sustainable way forward. There are many ways this can be done – using modern insulation to preserve energy, switching to renewable energy sources like geothermal or solar for your facility, installing new roofing which works for heat-trapping, and replacing boilers, windows and HVAC units. This will ensure that the integrated facility management services offered by companies are safe and efficient. 

5. Supplementing Facility Management with Eco-friendly Practices

A number of companies in the facility management space are adopting innovative ways to integrate eco-friendly practices into their daily work. This can range from vermicomposting and installing solar panels, to rainwater harvesting and operating sewage treatment plants.

Enviro India is furthering this by carrying out vermicomposting drives across housing societies and commercial complexes. This process is completely natural and leaves the soil nutrient-rich and organically healthier to grow newer plants, while also helping residents bond with one another. Further, by planting oxygen-rich trees like Banyan, Ashoka and Neem, they are also ensuring better quality air for the people inhabiting these spaces. Moreover, solar energy is the power source of the future, and it can be leveraged to our advantage in a country like India, which receives plenty of sunlight.

In the largely disruptive film of global warming, sustainability is perhaps the most crucial final act one could hope to execute. At a time when businesses are pitching to millennial customers, it is important to remember that globally, almost 73% of the millennial consumer group is willing to spend more on a product if the brand associated with it is sustainably oriented. We must also not forget that onboarding greener company policies can help your business save money in the long run. A sustainable future therefore, is our only future.

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