10 ways owners can make the office a greener place to work.

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Posted by:
Chuck Kelly
Senior Vice President
United States

Thursday, April 22nd is Earth Day. In celebration of Earth week, are you looking to make a difference? If you are an owner of a building, your role in sustainability is bigger than ever and your savings will be too.  Do you know the impact buildings have on the environment? Globally, buildings contribute 30%-40% of greenhouse gas emissions and generate 30%-40% of solid waste.  Although everyone associated with buildings, from constructing them to running them to occupying them, has a responsibility to help reduce this impact, owners have a special opportunity to impact what happens in a building.  In commemoration of Earth Day’s fortieth birthday this year, here are 10 ways owners can make the office a greener place to work.

1. Include reasonable sustainability provisions in standard lease agreements, and try to accommodate tenants with their own green criteria.
2. Require your management staff to follow sustainable procedures as much as possible, and to report on what they are doing.
3. Ask your property manager and other service providers what steps their organization is taking to be sustainable, including what they ask their own vendors, to ensure the sustainability of your supply chain.
4. Keep current on public policy mandates regarding green buildings, including tax credits and other incentives as well as building codes and other requirements.
5. Be knowledgeable of costs and financing alternatives relating to energy and sustainability improvements, and weigh these factors against potential financial benefits.
6. Conduct a complete commissioning of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems once every three years to ensure they operate as they were designed to do.
7. Install bike racks to encourage emission-free commuting.
8. Institute a building-wide recycling program, and if possible, establish an area for sorting recyclables before they leave the building.
9. Budget for tenant sub-metering, subject to applicable laws and lease agreements.
10. Invest in roofing materials that reduce heat absorption by using highly reflective materials or vegetation.

If every owner took these steps, our buildings would be more sustainable and therefore our tenants and employees would be more sustainable – a win-win-win.

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