Our last blog discussed outsourcing and its influence on how facilities are developed and managed. Managing for sustainability is another important trend of managing facilities in the 21st century. Many factors have coalesced to make sustainability critical for your success. They include the high and rising cost of energy, improvements in HVAC and lighting technologies and the recognition that sustainable practices can now be routinely and inexpensively measured. ROI calculations demonstrate huge savings by upgrading lighting and HVAC systems. The C-suite can embrace these capital replacement projects because payback periods can be easily estimated and some are as short as three or four years especially if your property portfolio is over a decade old.
Sustainability programs follow a common cycle beginning with paper recycling, the use of recycled products, lighting upgrades, HVAC system replacements, new building LEED recognition, building Energy Star ratings and finally some transformational process on how you work or manufacture products. This process improvement can be as routine as adding solar panel to the roof or changing manufacturing methods to recycle water and reduce waste.
In service industries the reduction in workspace can save significant dollars. Companies have learned to share space especially in sales. Home based work offers the employee better work life balance and the ability of the CEO to reduce the footprint of its office space.
The key to an effective sustainability program is support by the C-Suite and employees. Using a metric driven scorecard can demonstrate the impact of your process improvements especially in the dollars saved. Assigning an accountable department to manage a sustainability program is critical for success. Programs need to adapt to changes in technology and become part of the company culture. Please share your experience and by all means find a partner to help you develop the program.