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92% Of Organizations Working To Make Facilities More Sustainable

Ninety-two percent of respondents to The Global Facility Management Association’s recently released Green Practices Study (PDF) say that they are working to make their facilities more sustainable. In addition, 67% say their customers are “forcing them” make sustainable changes. Forty-six percent say the government is forcing the change.

Other findings:

  • 89% say Facility management is driving sustainable initiatives within their organizations.
  • For 73%, financial challenges are the leading hurdle in making sustainable changes.
  • Recycling, at 90%, and energy efficiency, at 80%, are the leading sustainability initiatives that have already been implemented.
  • The leading sustainable practice related to energy use that has been implemented is “adjusted HVAC operating hours” at 74% and “retrofitted or upgraded lighting at 72%.

challenge to Key findings from the study show that:

  • There is no standard definition of sustainability. Several associations use other organizations’ definitions including those derived by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Study Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ORSE) and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). Others have drafted their own or are in the process of creating a definition. When defining sustainability in the built environment, the associations that shared a definition embraced a holistic view of the facility and the stewardship of those who manage and occupy it. ·
  • Education is a broad area, and it is one of the three main areas in which member associations are making their biggest impact. Sustainability is embedded into competencies that are taught and practiced in seminars, conferences, webinars and roundtable discussions.
  • The amount of research pertaining to sustainability is growing. Some survey data, published reports and dissertations exist, but the challenge is bringing this information forward as an accessible tool. Another broad area in which most associations have advanced their knowledge in sustainability is through magazines, books and reports.
  • Other practical tools include awards programs which recognize member companies that embrace innovative sustainable practice and best practice compilations. · Knowledge portals containing a repository of sustainable information are a goal for two of the organizations, the British Institute of Facilities Management and the International Facility Management Association.

For a detailed overview of the Sustainability Study and its results, please visit http://www.globalfm.org/documents/GlobalFMSustainabilityStudy.pDf The following speakers each spoke, first individually and then during a panel discussion, about how global and national trends are affecting the sustainability movement within the built environment: · Tim Cole, director of environmental initiatives and product development, Forbo Flooring · Bob Dehne, AIA, architectural services manager, Owens Corning · Steve McGuire, environmental marketing manager, Philips Lighting · Rob Zimmerman, senior staff engineer, Kohler Co.

For the speakers’ full presentations, please visit http://www.globalfm.org/documents/ASBEGLOBALFMPPT101408.pdf

All speakers stressed that including a sustainable component in the overall corporate strategy would in the long run benefit companies financially, environmentally and socially. They emphasized that it is vital to realize the urgency of the situation and that it is of key importance that different organizations involved in the built environment continue to work together to find a solution.

During the workshop the question was raised about what role Global FM would play in regard to sustainability.

“As the Global FM survey shows, all our members are dealing with sustainability on a local level, and from our panellists, it’s become apparent that they are dealing with it locally as well,” Gladwin said. “It is, however, important that sustainability in the built environment be elevated to and dealt with on a global level — and this is were Global FM will take ownership and play a key role in the future!”

About Global FM Global FM is an international not-for-profit organization based in Brussels, Belgium. It represents a worldwide community of organizations that provide leadership in facility management. For more information, visit www.globalfm.org.

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