Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Communicate to Educate: Make Sure the Men, Women & Children in Your Buildings Are Included in Sustainability Efforts

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Communicate to Educate: Make Sure the Men, Women & Children in Your Buildings Are Included in Sustainability Efforts

Article excerpt

THROUGHOUT THE LAST SEVERAL ISSUES OF JPM, WE'VE DISCUSSED THERMOSTATS, LIGHTING SYSTEMS AND PLUG LOADS IN RELATION TO REDUCING ENERGY USE AND COSTS. NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE BIGGEST USERS OF ENERGY IN BUILDINGS: PEOPLE.

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At any given moment, energy, water and resources are being wasted: Lights are on when people go to lunch or space heaters are used while the building air conditioning is running, to name a few. Avoid undermining your sustainability efforts by raising tenants' awareness so that their day-to-day activities complement your green efforts (even if they are independently paying for energy).

This is not costly or time-consuming. There are simple ways to promote sustainability while respecting occupants' rights and needs. Ideally, you should provide information that can be applied both in the workplace and at home. As their environmental consciousness is raised, tenant employees may share these practices with family and friends.

In your buildings, let tenants know you are proactive about sustainability by discussing your current initiatives and long-term goals. If you have ENERGY STAR or LEED certifications, display and promote them. Also speak to financial motivations, explaining how energy and water efficiency, and lower waste production, can reduce costs. Reference the ENERGY STAR Web site (www.energystar.gov), which has calculators to determine the financial savings associated with energy-efficient office equipment. Finally, foster the belief that softening one's impact on the environment is just the right thing to do.

Once tenants are on board, coordinate with tenant representatives, office managers and enthusiastic individuals to create a plan. Find and develop champions--suggest that tenants designate a different employee each week or month to be the office "Energy Czar" who will ensure that equipment and lights are turned off at night. …

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