evolve insights: Green Operations and Corporate Culture
Buildings are the most ubiquitous form covering modern landscapes. Their pervasiveness presents a paradox—our built environment is both crucial to and a symbol of modernity—but also a major contributor to degradation that threatens future prosperity. Simultaneously, our buildings define and separate us as human, but require significant yet finite environmental resources. Buildings in the United States are responsible for consuming 70% of all electricity generated, and cover 50,000 square miles of land, an area equivalent to the state of Ohio.
Over the past twenty years we’ve observed a rapid market transformation toward more efficient design and construction of new buildings (think LEED for New Construction). However, we’ve not until recently, seen a collective focus and growing market within our nation’s existing buildings. This is changing. As people realize existing buildings represent not only the largest market but also the greatest opportunity for improvement, especially in the millions of structures built from the 1950’s through 1980’s, old buildings have been given new attention.
Consider further that buildings use 84% of their life-cycle energy during operations and maintenance and an efficiently designed project that costs $1 million is likely to spend at least $3-5 million in energy over the next 25-50 years.
Imagine the cost implications for older buildings not designed with those efficiencies in mind. What might those cost saving opportunities look like?
We work with clients to explore those opportunities while moving organizations toward greater operational and organizational sustainability as part of our Buildings in Operation services. Cost savings, improved environmental performance, and engaged employees are complimentary strategies that create a learning organizational culture.
Our Buildings in Operations work has ranged from Energy Star benchmarking using EPA’s Portfolio Manager to management and achievement of LEED for Operations and Maintenance. We’ve helped clients to realize close to $900,000 in annual cost savings and an average payback of 2.6 years on their investments. We’ve helped them achieve energy reductions of 25,500,000 kBtu and reduced annual CO2 emissions on average by 29%. Just as importantly, we’ve seen cultural shifts in people toward green practices within our client organizations. To get started: take our Existing Building Entry Point Assessment and obtain a free Green Operations Feasibility and Next Steps Report.