CARBON FOOTPRINT CALCULATORS
Need help determining your annual greenhouse emissions? These free tools
will help simplify the math – all you need are your utility bills in hand.
Greenhouse Gas Protocol ghgprotocol.org/calculation-tools
UC Berkeley (for small businesses) coolclimate.berkeley.edu/business-calculator
EPA (Applicability Tool) epa.gov/ghgreporting
Nature Conservancy nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator
institutional knowledge is incredibly easy to lose if practices and procedures are left undocumented.
“Have as much information as possible about your standard operating procedures written down,” Sowards says.
“You need to set up your green policies like a playbook,”
adds Taylor. “Anyone should be able to walk into an FM
position and flip open to a detailed section on operations.”
4 Engage Occupants
One of the challenges with sustainability is getting
your employees on board. For better or worse, many areas
of green operations are influenced by occupants. For
example, the success of your waste management program
largely rests on individuals separating their trash and
using the appropriate recycling bins. Automation, such as
lighting sensors in offices or flushometers in restrooms,
can only take your green efforts so far.
“Sustainability often involves change management,
which is challenging no matter the context,” Sowards
explains. “We know people like things easy – they don’t
want to think too hard about something. They also don’t
want to be forced or pushed into acting a certain way. Ask
yourself, how am I encouraging and motivating people to
If you don’t have one already, form a green team. Large
organizations may have a director of sustainability and key
FM members lead the charge, whereas others may tap vol-
unteers who don’t mind twisting the arms of colleagues to
make sustainability part of the work or educational culture.
Another way to engage occupants is to conduct satisfaction surveys, reminds Taylor. Prepare yourself for a few bristly comments, but take concerns seriously and make a real
effort to address them. Workers will notice if they fill out a
questionnaire but don’t see any follow-through, he adds.
Green O&M is also a key strategy to bolster occupant
health. Numerous studies show that a healthy building can
greatly improve worker satisfaction and well-being. From
better test scores for students to more productivity from
employees, a green building contributes to
your bottom line.
“I think the next evolution in green
thinking will focus on how healthy a
building is for occupants,” Sowards
observes. “Look at the impact your facility has on workers every day. Are they
breathing fresh air? Are there ways for
them to view or walk out and enjoy the
outdoors easily? Are they being exposed
to chemicals that might negatively impact them?”
5 Reduce Carbon Emissions
You may think energy efficiency and
sustainability are separate objectives, but
these two areas have a common factor:
your carbon footprint.
“Remember that energy performance
tool or program to save time. If you want to improve waste
reduction, for example, you may consider a program like
the EPA’s Waste Wise (see page 20 for more details). Or
if you need to work on water conservation, the ENERGY
STAR Portfolio Manager can verify improvements by
analyzing your utility bill data.
Whichever tool you use, review the data on a routine basis. Continually look for indications that your progress isn’t
advancing as expected. Just like energy efficiency, sustainability can flourish with constant involvement.
“Check your baseline,” recommends Thomas Taylor, co-
3 Document or Die
founder and principal of Vertegy, a sustainability consult-
ing firm. “If it’s not what it’s supposed to be, find the root
cause and make changes. It’s as simple as that.”
Not only should data be actionable, but at the end of
your goal period, you should be able to document all of
the headway you’ve made. This is particularly important
if you need to justify any investments to make your green
initiatives a reality.
As buildings become more complex to manage, it’s
imperative that you receive the right training on your systems and document all of your operational procedures.
For major renovations or new construction, there can
be a communication gap between the design firm and your
FM team that results in lost information when the project
“You need to fully understand the intention and strate-
gies for operating the building,” stresses Barry Abramson,
principal and LEED AP O+M with Servidyne, an energy
and sustainability consulting firm. “The system design can
enable optimum performance for energy efficiency, but
if the operators haven’t had training or there isn’t a plan
for dealing with unexpected problems, then controls are
going to get defeated.”
Churn in your own FM department can be another
source of inefficiency. From retirements to replacements,