A hot topic among property owners and managers is “going green.” But what does that phrase really mean? Is Kermit the Frog’s song: It’s not easy being green about saving the planet? I’ve always wondered. How can you achieve the goal of practicing energy-efficient standards to protect and improve the environment? And can you “go green” without breaking the bank?
As a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), we at RJWestmore are committed to sustainability. So we would like to offer a few explanations and suggestions for property managers and building owners to help sort through all of the hype.
- What does that phrase “going green” really mean? Is it anything like “seeing red?”
The folks at Earth Care say “going green” means using various alternatives to help save energy and the environment. This is a very broad definition because the practice of energy conservation and environmental protection is evolving. At first, just the invention of a few crazy hippies in the 1970s, the environmental movement is now big business. I have a few hippie K9 friends who rebel against conventions like dog collars and eating out of bowls. I’m more of a traditionalist myself…as long as someone is willing to fill the bowl, I’m in.
Consider a recent story in The New York Times, which compared government subsidies to the gold rush, since developers of large-scale clean-energy projects are encouraged to cash in on stimulus spending by adopting green practices. The article discussed a ranch in San Louis Obispo wherein one million solar panels will provide enough power for 100,000 homes, at a cost of $1.6 billion. But subsidies are not limited to large corporations. Even homeowners can benefit from tax incentives like rebates for solar window installation and energy efficient appliances. I wonder if I should have solar panels installed in the doghouse.
- How can you achieve the goal of practicing energy-efficient standards to protect and improve the environment?
What would it take for the Average Joe to convert his own business and/or property to a facility that is energy efficient? Start small. Wherever you are on your sustainability journey, many options are available for improving performance. You needn’t hire a contractor to rip out all of your walls, ceilings and floors and replace the roof, lighting and parking structure all at once. Instead, find a sustainability consultant and ask what you can conservatively do to reduce your property’s carbon footprint. And while you’re at it, find out how to reduce your puppy’s paw prints. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.
- Is it possible to “go green” without breaking the bank?
The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And so it goes with going green. Simple things like starting a recycling program or switching from plastic plates in the cafeteria to eco-friendly products will effectively help save the planet. Many such actions and products are so simple and affordable; you’ll wonder why you didn’t use them all along.
One of the best ways to get going in the right direction is to join existing groups that promote earth-friendly construction. The US Green Building Council is one such organization, which is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. The council’s community of leaders is working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation through programs such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which is redefining the way people think about the places where we live, work and learn. The only lead-generation I need is the scent of bacon and I’ll be on the trail.
An internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED is a system which provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green-building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. What’s more, the LEED system is set up to evaluate new construction, existing buildings including operations and maintenance, commercial interiors, cores and shells, doghouses, schools, retail, healthcare, homes and neighborhood development. If you own or manage a facility that would benefit from a LEED-rating evaluation, contact the USGBC today.
When disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information.