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In Focus: Green Facility Practices Save Significant Dollars in Daily Operations

With the impact of the current economic climate on commercial real estate, it's becoming essential for businesses to focus on developing energy-efficient strategies in the utilization of natural resources. Although many property managers seem reluctant to "go green," green practices can help save significant dollars in daily operations.

2012 Directory
It Starts With an Audit
Your facilities management team must dig deep into the layers of a building to achieve maximum savings by performing a complete energy audit and then developing a comprehensive, long-term energy-management strategy. This assures that the property will be prepared to respond to the changing market and facility operating cost challenges. Minor programming changes can result in big savings.

Myth: You Have to Spend Green to Go Green
If the budget is tight, don't abandon sustainable management approaches, and do enforce passive conservation. Simple activities like turning off lights when not in use, staging nighttime lighting by floor, lowering window shades, printing double-sided, and recycling can impact the bottom line. Other low-cost efforts to "green" an existing building include landscaping (e.g., low-maintenance native plant species that can reduce irrigation costs and monthly landscaping fees); automatic, motion-sensor lighting; green vendor partners; environmentally safe cleaning and paper products; green, integrated pest-control services; and sustainable and recycled materials (e.g., paint and carpet with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions).

The ROI Factor
Providing a detailed cost-benefit model can ease any apprehension over up-front costs by helping to better anticipate how quickly an investment can be recouped. Businesses can net significant savings by installing eco-friendly, energy-efficient "lamping," like light-emitting diodes (LEDs), or compact fluorescents (CFLs), indoors and out.

Preventative maintenance can generate a positive return on investment as well. By implementing frequent maintenance programs, controlled and scheduled electronically, to ensure maximized functionality, facilities conserve energy and extend equipment life cycles.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

In order to better respond to the present and future energy market, facilities managers must also keep up with industry trends. By using the most effective tools when performing energy audits, assessment accuracy increases, leading to savings. Additionally, with buildings contributing roughly half the carbon emissions in the environment, new building codes are constantly emerging, making it necessary to keep tabs on what regulators and legislators are thinking.

Lenders and insurers have come to see green buildings as better for their bottom line, realizing that owners are more responsible, place higher value on maintenance, and are less likely to default as a result of lower operating costs of buildings.

Setting a Standard
Avoid letting economic concerns stall environmentally friendly upgrades to buildings by understanding trends, accessing the latest green technology, and providing comprehensive energy-management strategies, offering sustainable solutions and significant cost savings.

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