Organisations are challenged to satisfy sustainability objectives with severely constrained budgets. Their overall success hinges on intelligently evaluating and prioritising sustainability investments to realize the foremost significant impact, all within the context of their general business objectives. With the proper framework in situ, organisations can evaluate the sustainability of their existing facilities, decide to reduce their environmental impact, increase their energy efficiency and price savings, and promote a healthier built environment.
Whether an organisation already features a sophisticated sustainability program or is newly engaged during this effort, it’s essential to gauge and prioritise green options while remaining aligned with the general business goals. This ensures consistent, dedicated resources, which will bolster the organisation’s bottom line.
Organisations that are early within the process of integrating green programs into their capital plans may prefer to focus initially on relatively low-cost initiatives. These can deliver short-term paybacks by reducing energy and natural resources consumption, prioritising cost savings and other desired benefits. As they achieve results, they’ll evaluate greening opportunities that will provide short- and long-term environmental, social and economic benefits. For instance, such assessments could also be conducted to support significant building renovations, large-scale master planning programs or the acquisition of a long-term property holding.
By combining this information with detailed data about overall requirements across a building portfolio, organisations can maximise operational efficiency while promoting a sustainable built environment. Finding this data and making these decisions are often a task for several organisations. The subsequent are a couple of simple steps to require when considering facility and sustainability upgrades.
Establish a sustainability framework and business objectives
The initiative in identifying the most straightforward investment strategy for sustainability is an objective evaluation of an organisation’s current state of sustainability and options for change—including estimated costs and potential benefits. There are several questions an organisation should ask itself when establishing a sustainability framework.
First, what are the organisation’s strategic, land and green objectives? Is there a balance between the two? Basically, where does the corporate want to be in sustainability while staying within the company plan? It’s essential to recollect sustainability isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” process. Organisations will have different approaches to sustainability. When choosing corporate or sustainability initiatives, confine in mind that reaching the very best level of green or energy performance is most cost-effective when timed to coincide with new construction, renovation or significant infrastructure renewal.
Also, the savings are most vital when improvements are made as on the brink of the top of use as possible. For instance, lighting systems and water-efficient restroom fixtures are quick, money-saving improvements.
Define and track key performance metrics
Once an organisation’s objectives are decided, it’s time to work out the start line, what sorts of assets and equipment are already in situ, where can sustainability be improved quickly and where the original work is required. There are many factors to think about when determining the start line of the sustainability plan. Climate can affect sustainability drastically; warmer climates will consider cooling systems while colder climates will specialise in heating. Other aspects of climate like annual rainfall and cloudiness can also determine what sustainable technology is best for that specific facility.
The location of a facility—rural, suburban or urban—will play a task in deciding sustainable technology needs; urban buildings typically contain more equipment and assets during a smaller space than rural buildings, which are less densely occupied. Other factors to consider are type and use of facilities, age and existing condition, corporate mission, community initiatives and partnerships, and mandates.
Financial metrics obviously will have an impression on how an organisation evaluates its sustainability initiatives. If there are green alternatives, corporations should consider several financial metrics while assessing each option. Remember that many sustainable choices include a payback over time resulting from reduced energy and operation costs. While financial metrics are essential, it’s also necessary to possess metrics that outline and measure current and future sustainability.
Identify green opportunities
After performance metrics are established, the organisation can identify green opportunities while also watching overall facility condition. For example, many collaborative green options within existing buildings include green roofs, high-efficiency lighting controls and sensors, water-conserving bathroom fixtures, organic landscape maintenance, materials with recycled content or bio-based materials, and centralised, automated building management. This part of the method involves capturing data and identifying the green options, not deciding which options align with the organisation’s capital planning objectives.
Once the opportunities are identified, the subsequent step is to gauge them within the context of the general capital plan. When considering options, it’s crucial to think about initial cost differences between the traditional and sustainable alternatives and, therefore, the savings over time; for several resource-saving options, the initial investment may have a rapid payback period.
Evaluating sustainability initiatives
Conclusively, sustainable practices got to be integrated into daily facility management and, therefore, the long-term facility capital planning process. By combining green initiatives with detailed data about overall requirements across an existing building portfolio, organisations can view a facility’s holistic view and maximise both facility condition and sustainability.
As a result, from government research centres to hospitals to educational institutions, organisations reduce their carbon footprint, meet government mandates, and make defensible budgets. Furthermore, by integrating sustainability programs into their existing capital plans, organisations can evaluate which green initiatives will provide the best short-term and long-term results.
This article was first published on Business Daily