Facilities Need a Sustainable Energy Buildings Plan
A building can’t be green if it isn’t energy efficient and no building should define itself as “green” unless it consumes less energy and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than average. How can you be sure that a building is energy efficient? Many new buildings today are designed and built to be green—but most have not—so it’s time for a plan.
The idea of sustainable energy is not just about doing something that is environmentally or people-friendly. It’s about that, but it’s also about making facilities last, perform at a level that meets the needs of the organization, managed in a manner that is consistent with the mission, vision, and values of the organization, and most of all, lowering energy usage.
What is a Sustainable Energy Buildings Plan (SEBP)
A Sustainable Energy Buildings Plan (SEBP) optimizes Energy Storage Systems (ESS) and efficient energy management in support of the primary purpose of the organization. A SEBP has the potential to manage energy resources in a manner consistent with all that is green, zero-net-energy and high-performance.
Energy saving performance characteristics include; energy efficiency, low reliance on natural resources, low-carbon, and a healthier indoor environment. The term "high-performance" fits well into the facility manager's lexicon because it basically describes an outcome that facility and property managers have been seeking since long before buildings were termed "green." Their goal has always been to optimize performance while saving energy.
Starting a Sustainable Energy Buildings Plan (SEBP)
The challenge with successfully incorporating energy saving practices is often found within the organizational culture. Change is not easily accepted and "business as usual" seems to be the motto when new ideas or methods are introduced. However, in any organization, at any point in time, change is necessary and will more than likely require a gradual, result-driven integration. Today, sustainable energy management is not the sole responsibility of one department; it must become a part of the organizational culture. At all levels within an organization, there are lessons to be shared with regard to the synergy between sustainability and energy management.
In order to develop a successful SEBP, the following needs to happen:
Identify the impact of existing facilities on people, the environment, and the finances of the organization, known as the Triple Bottom Line (TBL).
Understand Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Return on Investment (ROI), and Life-Cycle Costing (LCC).
Determine if your organization’s mission statement includes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which is the commitment to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large.
Align the facility and property management strategies with the organization’s commitment to the TBL and CSR efforts.
Create a strategy for delivering sustainable energy management.
Secure senior management buy-in and/or a policy champion to make it happen.
Create a process for measuring and monitoring energy, resources, use and savings.
Develop a change management strategy and communications plan to engage your workforce in sustainable energy management.
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